Complaint / review text:
In three years my subscription doubled in price ($104.31 in 2012 and $206.88 in 2015). During this time the music and comedy offerings that I'm interested in have not expanded. It seems to me, though, that the number of advertising minutes per hour has increased significantly. Almost as bad, the ads are repetitive.in one evening commute I would hear the same sponsor messages over and over. Since Sirius is paid in advance, not in arrears for service used, I decided not to renew my service by paying my spring 2015 invoice. It was then that I started getting notices of late fees. I thought this was an honest mistake until I called Sirius to inquire about the notices. Nope. They will bill you and claim that you agreed to an automatically renewing service. While I don't doubt that Sirius NOW has automatically renewing accounts, I doubt that I ever agreed to such terms.
They never had a credit card on file for me (I always paid by check), I never logged in to my account online, and I never gave them a phone number or an email to contact me. (I "signed up" for service when I bought my car.) So, without this interaction with Sirius, the only way I could have been notified of their terms of service is if they were included in an invoice from spring 2014 or earlier. I challenged Sirius to show me when and where I had agreed to an automatically renewing account, and not one of the four customer service representatives I spoke with could tell me what I had signed or what action I had taken to indicate consent to such an agreement. It took 56 minutes of talking to Sirius customer service on the phone to get them to reverse the late charges on my account.
It was relatively easy to get the $200 charge for the next year removed. Relatively, I should not have made a call in the first place, let alone argue my case. However, removing the late fees was next to impossible. I am slow to anger. My daily work is with a vulnerable population, so I know and exercise patience. I also believe in treating service industry workers with respect: much of the time they are not responsible for the problems they are tasked with solving. That said, I was yelling and exasperated almost to tears after about 20 minutes on the phone with Sirius. I twice had to ask to speak to a supervisor. Even when I reached the fourth customer service rep/supervisor, he had to put me on hold to get final authorization to undo the late charges. I was just so incensed with Sirius that allowing them to have use of any of my money was not a tolerable compromise to me.
A significant reason why I was so angry with Sirius was because of the way that customer service representatives are trained to answer questions. The non-answers they provide and way they blame shift to the customer is appalling. God help anyone who has a credit card on file with Sirius and/or a "debt" greater than a few dollars. What Sirius really needs to understand is that there are near substitutes for their service. The newer cars that come with SiriusXM receivers also interface well with smart phones, for the most part.
My iTunes library does not cost me a subscription fee, nor do any of the dozens of podcasts that I enjoy. Even if one turns to audiobooks instead, it would be difficult to spend in excess of $200 a year for them. Whatever the less expensive alternative one seeks, the need to have negative interactions with customer service will certainly be less. As well, switching away from Sirius brings instant relief from bombardment with Optima Tax Relief and Adam and Eve ads.