DETROIT, MICHIGAN -- I pay annually for XM service. This past October (09) was when my latest annual subscription was up. Due to the economy, I decided not to renew. I wrote "cancel" on the renewal form, mailed it in, and thought everything was finished. Boy am I surprised now to get a COLLECTIONS notice!!! This is for the past three months apparently as they have continued charging me! I called and thought I could explain the situation and get it resolved. No way. These folks didn't even want to listen. They kept repeating their standard talking points concerning having to "call in" to cancel. Apparently, no written or other form of communication is allowed to cancel. You have to call or else they continue your service until they realize you aren't paying. Then they cancel the service and send you a bill and a collections notice for the remaining amount due. What a total rip off! I had planned on renewing my subscription at some point as the economy turns around, but YOU CAN FORGET THAT NOW XM!!!
I am now a walking advertisement "against" XM or SIRIUS radio service. I figure I can at least affect a few folks regarding their service. Dear XM: Is this really worth $51.39 to you? Wow.
So, you've decided XM and you just don't get along anymore, eh? Time to move on. Perhaps you've received a notice in the mail from XM, letting you know that your contract is about to end. Perhaps your account is set to auto-renew. Time to cancel it before they charge your credit card.
So you log onto the XM website, and go into Online Account Management. You should be able to just un-check a box or something, and that should take care of it, right? You click on the Radio(s) and Subscriptions tab, and a little message appears: "We are in the process of updating your account. Certain features will be inaccessible for the next 10 minutes. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause." Sounds reasonable. They must be doing some system maintenance.
You'll find, though, that this message appears not only ten minutes later, but ten hours later. The fact is, you're not going to be able to access that check box and cancel your account. So you try to use the venerable online contact form. It's not easy to find, but there is one.
You fill it out, stating clearly "Here is my account number, my radio id, my name, my address, my phone number. Please cancel my account right now."
If you walk away now, thinking you've accomplished your task, you're making a big mistake. XM has an unstated policy that cancellations must be done OVER the PHONE. Letters? Nope, not good enough. Email? It's ignored. And as you found out, the online account management doesn't work.
So you call 1-800-967-2346. A computer answers and insists that you speak your responses. You state "Account Management" as prompted, and then provide your zip code. The computer already knows your phone number, using caller id. It tells you it is accessing your account. It gives you a list of choices, one of which is "Cancel". You say "Cancel" and the computer says please hold, while it goes off to find a human being to talk to you. At this point, you may find yourself on hold for a very long time. There will be no intermittent message, such as, "Thank you for holding, we'll be right with you". You'll possibly think they have hung up, prompting you to do the same. You may give up at this point. Don't. There is a way to cancel, I promise. Just hang in there.
Or, instead of being put on hold, a person answers, asks you to identify yourself (the computer hasn't shared this information with him, sadly), and asks what he/she can do for you. You say, Cancel my account. A few seconds later, the line goes dead. (This happened to me twice. Coincidence? You decide.)
So finally it dawns on you that your account has been flagged, somewhere in the bowels of the XM customer service system. A little flag has been set to alert XM that you are trying to cancel your account. It's possible that the flag was set as your contract termination date approached. Any attempt you make to contact XM will be thwarted, due to this flag. They know what you're trying to do, and they're not going to make it easy.
All right, you say, so how DO I cancel XM radio?? Try this: call the 800 number. AS SOON AS THE COMPUTER BEGINS TO TALK, hit the zero key on your phone. The computer goes off to find a human being. At this point, XM does not know who you are. (They could, since they do have your phone number, but you haven't "logged in" by giving it your zip code, so you are anonymous at this point.) You get a customer service rep. His/her job is to figure out just what you're up to. Once you tell him/her you're trying to cancel, he/she connects you with someone in a faraway land, who seems to be having dinner with manner noisy people at the table. It's very hard to hear her, but hang in there. You're almost done.
When she asks why you're canceling, say you don't listen to XM much, so it's not worth paying for. She will try to sell you on various discounted plans. Say, "No, I want to cancel." She will say, okay, we will let you have XM for free for three months, but you'll have to call us back to cancel in three months. You say, "No, I want to cancel right now."
Just keep repeating the "I want to cancel" mantra, and eventually they will cancel your account.
Are you done? Not yet! This is where we separate the men from the boys. You will need to make sure they turn your access off. VERY important. If you are still receiving XM's signal, even if you don't want it, they have the right to claim you are using the service and they can bill you for it. But they can't do that, I hear you say. I told them to cancel the account! Oh really? Did you get that in writing? Of course not - they forced you to communicate via phone. They ignored your emails. They don't accept letters.
So what do you do now? Call them back and hope that they finally cancel, is all. I've kind of misled you. There really is no sure-fire way to cancel XM radio. Once you've signed up, you are at their mercy, until THEY decide to let YOU go.
I received a teaser offer in the mail to rejoin XM at the "incredible rate" of 5 months for $20. Not a bad offer, so I stupidly got on the phone for the 45 minutes it took to re-initiate service (it took this long to cancel, so not sure why I thought it would be any better on start-up). The representative, "Brynn Williams" informed me of a new $3.50 "royalty fee" on top of the $20. I wasn't happy about the "new fees" but went ahead anyway. What appears on my CC a few weeks later was for $35+ to which I just logged a dispute with my credit card company for the difference between what appeared on my card and what I was quoted by the XM representative I thought the matter was closed.
XM sends me an invoice, and several invoices thereafter, for this difference of $14-and some odd dollars! Not wanting to have another 45 minute conversation, I sent them a note from their "customer care" portal and following is the thread of ridiculous conversations that got me nowhere near solving the problem and now they have terminated my service BEFORE the 5 months that I had originally paid for has even lapsed!!
How do you get decent service from this company without spending 45 minutes on the phone??
Me on 5/20 (via their “Customer Care Portal”):
I received an offer in the mail to start my subscription again. It was $19.99 or $20 for 5 months (which breaks down to $4 per month). At the end of the call, I was informed of a $3.50 "one-time royalty" fee. However, the credit card charge appearing on my statement is much more than this $25-some charge should have been. In tracking down the invoice online, it shows up I'm being charged instead $4.99/mo for SIX months and $4-some in royalty fees! Why is what is being charged and the total being given with your Call Center reps so different? Do I really need to monitor my invoices and billing with XM this closely?
XM on 5/24:
Thank you for contacting XM. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate your account using the information that you provided in your email. If you could please email us again including any of the following: your account number, your Radio ID (found on Channel 0), or your address and phone number, we would be happy to assist you. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 1-800-XM RADIO (800-967-2346). Thank you, Ricdale G. Aumentado
Me on 5/25: Address and Phone XXX-XXX-XXXX
XM on 5/29:
Dear Mr. Tran, Thank you for contacting XM. We do apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 1-800-XM RADIO (800-967-2346). Thank you, Brad SIRIUS XM Radio Inc
Me on 6/2:
I'm sorry - did someone actually address/investigate my issue in the below response? I originally opened this communication nearly 14 days ago and you sure met your "requirement" of responding (initially in 24 hours). Do I need to resubmit the question via your 'portal' to get a reasonable response in a reasonable time frame? I'll ask the questions again: I received an offer in the mail to re-start my subscription.. It was $20 for 5 months of service ($4/mo). At the end of the call, I was informed of a $3.50 "one-time royalty" fee. However, the credit card charge appearing on my statement is much more than this $25-some charge should have been. In tracking down the invoice online, it shows up I'm instead being charged $4.99/mo for 6 months and $4-some in royalty fees! Why am I being charged such different terms than what I accepted and signed up for? And now I'm being invoiced for "the difference" with an immediate demand lest my service be 'disrupted'?? If so, please just cancel my service once and for all and refund the entire sum I've paid you to date - I refuse to spend another 30 minutes on the phone with one of your Call Center representatives to start, cancel, or otherwise communicate about this low-value service you provide. I'm fed up with XM.
XM on 6/7:
Dear Mr. Tran,
Thank you for contacting XM.
We have checked our records in response to your inquiry and it shows that your special offer was $4.99 per month for 6 months. You currently have $16.51 to settle in order to keep your service.
If your do however wish to cancel your service, we do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused but to verify that it is the account holder requesting the deactivation of the radio we require that you contact our Listener Care Center at 1-800-967-2346. Again, we are sorry to hear that you would like to cancel your service but we certainly look forward in serving you again in the future.
If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 1-800-XM RADIO (800-967-2346). Thank you, Phil
Me on 6/12:
The marketing I received was 5 months for $20 - so I don't know what Brynn Williams (my call center Rep) actually signed me up for. This is a small amount and is more an annoyance and questionable business practices than anything else.
All marketing I've received from XM states this same offer - is this some kind of bait and switch practice? Should I fax you your own marketing materials? This is the worst customer service I've seen in a long time.
XM on 6/16 (Get ready for a doozy of smoke up you-know-where and still no resolution):
Dear Mr. Tran, Thank you for contacting XM. Please accept our sincere apology for the previous encounter over the phone and we hope that this incident will not permanently affect our partnership. Our objective is to provide excellent service to all our subscribers and our Listener Care Representatives are adequately trained to assist customers with the issues. We are saddened to hear that you were not pleased with the service you received, but we can assure you that our representatives will convey the Company's guidelines in a polite and friendly manner. Please keep in mind that your concern is a priority and we value you as a customer. We guarantee you that our team does not take pleasure in embarrassing or distressing a customer. All of our customers are appreciated and each subscriber plays an active role in the growth of XM. This issue will be forwarded to the relevant department and your concerns will be investigated. This will, hopefully, further enhance the service which we provide. We have checked our records and it shows that XM Radio ID QHC2D08K is currently subscribed to 6 Months at $4.99 per Month. Please be advised that you still have a remaining balance of $16.51. We are committed to providing you with the best in customer care. You can always manage your account 24/7 by visiting our website at www.xmradio.com. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 800-967-2346. Thank you, Maya
Me on 8/4:
Dear Maya, Phil, Ricardo, Whoever answers this email and doesn't help next:
The original offer was for 5 months for $20. I can scan the offer for you to see if you would like to see it with your own eyes. XM has now terminated my service before even giving me the 5 months that I have already paid for.
I've posted this saga here http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=84289 and will post it in other consumer forums so that others like me aren't lured into this ridiculous mess.
Reviewers Note: They actually responded to this email (below) and it appears to be the first time my issue has actually be reviewed. Looks promising but I am skeptical...will update this review with the outcome.
XM on 8/5:
Dear Mr. Tran, Thank you for contacting XM. We apologize for the inconvenience caused. We are glad to assist you. In response to your email, we reviewed your account and record indicates that the last payment we received from you was last April 30, 2010 in the amount of $23.05. We made an adjustment on your account and to compensate the inconvenience caused , we already waived the balance on your account in the amount of $42.47. Your service will continue until January 29, 2011 and rest assured that you have a zero balance on your account. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 1-800-XM RADIO (800-967-2346). Thank you, Aldrin
To Whom It May Concern:
The intent of this letter is to express my anger and concerns involving XM Radio's engagement in improper selling practices and unethical business practices. I have repeatedly tried to resolve this issue with XM since April 2007 as you will see in my documentation included within this letter.
While attending the Live Your Best Life 2006 event in Boston, I visited the XM radio booth and purchased a radio and boom box from XM. At that time I paid to activate the XM service and was told that my credit card would be placed on file for renewal. Initially I used the service. However, over a period of time I realized that my limited use of the service did not warrant the price it cost. So in April 2007, I e-mailed XM radio to request that my service not be renewed. I received an e-mail response from XM stating I had to call them to cancel--a letter does not suffice. So, on April 30, 2007, I placed a call to XM Radio's customer service and requested that my credit card be taken off file and that my membership not be renewed at the end of the service period. The representative with whom I spoke informed me that my service had just been renewed on April 16, 2007. Additionally, I was informed that I would NOT receive a reimbursement of the payment which had just been made to XM for this service. So I again asked the representative to take my credit card off file because I would not be renewing my account when the 3 months was concluded.
My subscription to XM radio expired on July 16, 2007. I know this date only because it has been repeated to me on the numerous calls I've made to customer service. Since I had not been using the XM radio, I did not realize that the service was being continued and I did NOT receive an invoice for the additional service until mid-August. I discarded the first invoice I received because I did not intend to renew and had made that known to XM Radio during my call on April 30, 2007.
In October 2007 I received a bill from XM Radio for the amount of $28.52. Again, I discarded this notice because I mistakenly thought it was a bill to renew. On October 14, 2007 I received notification from CCA that my account had been placed in collections. Immediately, I called CCA and tried to explain that I had not renewed my service. They steadfastly refused to listen to my explanation and told me that I would need to call XM Radio. I called customer service at XM Radio to try to resolve this issue. I was told that the $28.52 was a prorated bill for the service I had received since July 16, 2007 when my subscription had expired and September 14, 2007 when my service had finally been cancelled by XM Radio. While speaking with the representative, he acknowledged that there were notes in the account that I had called nearly a year earlier on the date in my notes, but there were nothing on the account that I requested it be closed. I insisted this was a clerical error on their part, but was told that was not possible.
Notices and calls from CCA continued to provide harassment on behalf of XM Radio. On October 24, 2007 I received another call from CCA and was told very nastily that I DID owe the money and they were authorized to collect it for XM Radio. Immediately following this call, I once again called XM Radio customer service on October 24, 2007. I was connected with a representative named Eric. After repeated attempts to resolve this bill, Eric told me that I owed this bill because I had not called in to suspend my service on July 16, 2007. Therefore they had continued to provide the service and I was responsible for payment.
It is astounding that a business, ANY business, would engage in such unethical business practices that basically try to make a consumer pay for services that they did not request or for which payment was not remitted to renew. To continue to provide a service for two months of what would have been a three month subscription when they have not received payment and have been informed of my wishes to not renew in April 2007 AND expect me to take responsibility for the pro-rated payment is ridiculous. So when Eric, the customer representative, told me on October 24, 2007 that I owed this amount and there was nothing he could do additionally, I asked to speak to his supervisor. Eric then told me that his supervisor was busy. I said I would wait and he put me on hold. After being on hold for 10 minutes or so, I am greeted by another representative named Ian who is not a supervisor but who informs me that my call must have been "re-routed" to her by accident. At that point I am supposed to go through all of the information once again. Pitiful!!!!
Ian tells me that she will submit this report and I will be contacted within 2-3 days. I never received any correspondence as follow-up. On November 6, 2007 I was contacted once again by CCA and spoke to a representative named Kelly. This process is just repeated over again with additional harassment to try to make me submit the payment. After that phone call with CCA, I called XM Radio once again. This time I spoke with a representative named Sue. Finally, after reiterating this story for the hundredth time, I am put on hold and when Sue comes back on the phone she tells me that she has discussed this with her supervisor and a credit for $28.52 has been applied to my account. I express my thanks to Sue and commend her for being the first decent person to handle one of my calls at XM Radio. Finally, I believe the issue has been resolved.
So imagine my surprise when I receive another call from CCA on November 14, 2007 from a representative named Helen Summers. I tried to tell Helen that I was not in collections because I'd spoken with XM on November 6th and Sue had applied a credit to my account. Helen proceeded to tell me I was wrong and came perilously close to calling me an outright liar. I expressed to her that this is ridiculous and most definitely harassment. I asked her to do a three-way phone call to XM and she adamantly refused. So I immediately call XM Radio after being insulted and harassed by Helen. My call is answered by a representative named Angel. Angel tells me that I do indeed owe $28.52 and that it has not been taken care of by Sue. I asked to speak to her supervisor. Guess what? I was put on hold and suddenly for the second time, my call was mysteriously re-routed to Evelyn who had to hear my entire story once again.
Evelyn told me that she researched the records and my report showed that an amount of $28.52 had been credited to my account but that it would not go on the past due amount of $28.52. It would only go towards new service because the representative who issued the credit shouldn't have issued it. Needless to say, I am completely dumbfounded by this news. How can an amount be credited to an account that is not active and which has a balance of $28.52 and not have a balance of zero? Evelyn says that she doesn't understand all of it either and that she will open a new report for me for which I should receive an answer within the week.
Yesterday, November 16, 2007, I received a call which was recorded on my home answering machine from Jamie. Jamie's message says that my report had been reviewed. He acknowledged that there were notes in the account that I had called in April 2007 and numerous times since, but there were nothing on the account that I requested it be closed. Therefore I was responsible for the $28.52 and he proceeded to thank me for using XM Radio and expressed sentiments that he hoped I would have a great day.
So, this letter serves as documentation of the events that have occurred and as a written notice that I have gone above and beyond the call of duty as a consumer to resolve this issue. I am furious that XM Radio has continuously refused to accept blame for this situation and deny that I have provided sufficient information. The amount of $28.52 is a small amount and I imagine that most people would have given up and paid it by now. However, I can assure the company that while I am perfectly capable of paying the amount, I will not. It is a matter of principle. I do not owe the money. Ethical business practices do not include creating false charges and then harassing customers who refuse to pay these bogus charges.
You have until November 21, 2007 to respond and resolve this issue. By resolution I expect a written letter stating that my account has been cleared. Also, I expect an apology to be included within this letter for the deplorable practices and harassment of XM as a company. This is a huge disappointment in a company that had been one of the sponsors for the Oprah event and who hosts the Gayle King talk show. I feel confident that Oprah would not be pleased with your shady deals. In the meantime, copies of this letter will be forwarded to the agencies initially listed in this letter.
Beware music lovers of XM Radio. Don't Get sucked in because it's almost impossible to get out or cancel your agreement. First of all it's great that they let you try it out when you buy or lease a new vehicle. But if you continue the service with them be sure to read the fine print in the owners package of information. It states that the service will automatically continue unless you call them to say you want to cancel.
What I'm saying is that you get a bill in the mail to renew your plan. You don't want to renew the plan so you toss the renewal application in the trash and everything is OK, right? WRONG. You have to call them or they will continue to charge your credit card. Now in the case where you have changed card companies closing one account and opening a new account they can't automatically charge you. However, they turn it over to their collections people and start to hound you.
If you ask them why they would charge you if you didn't renew your service they will tell you that they don't want to interrupt other customers service who forget and are paying late. They say this keeps XM from having to charge those late customers a reactivation fee in case there account is canceled. So in other words you are subsidizing the late paying customers by tossing that renewal in the recycle bin.
But wait, there's more. I drove a leased vehicle that had to be returned to the lease company by the end of December 2010. But last summer they sent me a special deal... 5 months for $20.00. I got sucked in and took the deal. But having prior knowledge of this company, I called in November and told the customer service representative that I no longer wanted to continue the service. Also I would be turning the vehicle in at the end of December anyway so why would I keep the service.
The representative told me there was no problem and that I didn't need to call them anyway because the special promotions was not subject to automatic renewals. OK fine, but I called and was sure I would not be charged. WRONG! In November, they started charging me which I didn't realize till after Xmas. Recently I have called my card company to protest the charges and also XM to cancel again (calling customer service can also be interesting, don't expect it to be quick and easy).
It's a shame that this is the only choice for music and news lovers. Remember that the two satellite companies merged, you don't have a choice. If you get sucked in because of a weak moment it's like making a deal with the devil. I can't see how these people can avoid a class action suit some day as they are desperately ripping people off to stay alive instead of providing great service and growing the business. I don't usually bother to write something like this, but I think I thought it might help someone else before they get into trouble. Good Luck!
I have been a loyal and very satisfied customer of XM for several years. In July of 2009, I crashed my car, ruining my XM receiver. On August 10th, I called XM to cancel the account. After being transferred several times to several different representatives, I began talking to a woman about why I was cancelling. She explained that XM would be willing to supply me with a new radio and install it for just $10. However, I was looking forward to replacing my radio with an MP3 player so I hesitated to except the deal. She told me that I was already paid until Sept. 21 and that she would go ahead and refund the remaining amount but she wouldn't actually cancel my account for 30 days, in case I changed my mind. Sweet, I thought...foolish me. She never explained that I would have to call back if I choice not to except the deal...so I didn't.
On Sept. 23, I saw my quarterly charge (for Oct. Nov and Dec.) on my credit card statement so I immediately called XM...put on hold...The first representative I talked to couldn't help me so she transferred me to someone else...on hold for a long time...he told me he could help me and put me on hold...when he came back, he said that my account was cancelled as of today meaning I had PAID for the service from Sept 10 (30 days after the offer of 30 Free Days) to Sept 23...even though I didn't even have an actual working radio and was already told that I was refunded that money! I asked to talk to a manager....put on hold...She was able to pull up the notes from the phone call conversation that I had with one of her reps in Aug. Apparently they don't record every conversation and apparently they don't write down everything you say and everything that they say. She didn't write down that she had offered me a free month so not only was I paying for the 10 days in September that I shouldn't have been, I was paying for the 30 days of "Free Service." She wouldn't refund my credit card, she would just credit my account for the $20. My account? What account, I just cancelled my account?
This is ridiculous and not a very nice way to run your business. They need to have a little more scrutiny over what their representatives say and/or represent to their customers and how the reps record it. I'm not mad about the $20 (well actually yes I am), I'm also mad that I was lied to and that a month later, the manager wouldn't acknowledge that one of her employees made a mistake and thus compensate me for her mistake. I just think it is a horrible way to treat a past/possible future customer.
I'm a manager, as well, and when it comes to dealing with uphappy customers who are going to stop recommending my company - the customer is ALWAYS right...especially when it is over $20. I just wanted to give everyone a fair warning that you can't believe everything they say to you on the phone. It was a pretty unethical thing, or maybe just a simple mistake on the reps part, to do. This is ridiculous and not a very nice way to run your business. They need to have a little more scrutiny over what their representatives say and/or represent to their customers and how the reps record it. I'm not mad about the $20 (well actually yes I am), I'm also mad that I was lied to and that a month later, the manager wouldn't acknowledge that one of her employees made a mistake and thus compensate me for her mistake. I just think it is a horrible way to treat a past/possible future customer.
I sent the following letter to XM Radio, requesting removal of a charge they applied that I did not authorize. Not only did I send it to the email address XM says to send to on their website (email@example.com), but I looked up who the senior management was at XM/Sirius (CEO, COO, Sales/Mktg SVP, etc.) and found that the logic XM/Sirius uses in their email system is first letter of first name followed by entire last name and sent the letter to both @xmradio.com and @siriusradio.com for each name. The @xmradio.com emails were returned unsent, but the @siriusradio.com went through! This morning I received a call from XM Corporate indicating they got my email and completely removed the charge from my account and sent an email confirmation to me as proof (upon my request. I figured I'd post this to help the MANY people I see are having similar issues and feel there's no possible solution. The execs you can send emails to include: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Here's the letter I sent:
To Whom It May Concern:
Three years ago I signed up (over the phone) for a 3-year subscription for both of my cars (radio ID's: XXXXX and XXXXX), paying in advance. My 3 year commitment expired and I was debating on whether to renew, but had not decided yet. Today I received 2 invoices for $34.05, indicating a past due amount. I called your customer service to understand what the charge was for and was told that because I did not call to cancel my 3-year subscription, it automatically renewed and was shut off because of non-payment. I was told that it was my responsibility to go to your website to understand the terms and conditions, which indicate I needed to call to cancel.
I am disputing the charge and would like it removed from my account and not sent to collection, in that I never signed, nor agreed to, an automatic renewal. I signed for a 3-year plan and expected that at the end of my commitment, I would not have service if I did not renew, no different than a magazine subscription.
I asked to get escalated to a supervisor (Will -employee #47809), who told me that he was the furthest I could escalate to and that I should've gone on your website to be familiar with a term and condition that required me to physically call to cancel my subscription. When I asked told him how people would be expected to do that if they did not have internet or a working computer, he told me I/they would need to go to the library to access your website. When I asked for a call back from his manager, he told me it was unlikely I'd get a call.
I am outraged that this has happened and planned to re-subscribe in due time, but have serious doubt about it now, learning that this is how you treat a customer who had faith to sign and pay for 3 years in advance. I would greatly appreciate it if you would acknowledge removal of this charge, in that I do not want to have to deal with collection disputes and other time-consuming/costly effort to defend myself. After Googling to see if there was anyone who had this same problem, and how they got it resolved, I was appalled to find this is a BIG issue and not uncommon. Please prove them wrong and waive this charge.
I hope this has been helpful to you! Good luck!
For everyone that is having problems canceling service, email Joe Zarella, Executive VP
I know this is lengthy, but if you think it takes you a long time to read it, imagine how much time I have invested in it and it still isn't resolved!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
XM routinely ignores cancellation requests and then bullies people into paying $27.50 they don't owe just to get them to leave the consumer alone.
If XM is doing this to 500 people a day and half of them pay just to make it go away, that is $6,875 a day, $48,125 a week, $208,542 a month and $2,502,500 a year.
I think the actual number is much higher.
Here is the email I sent to Joe Zarella.
Subject: customer complaint
Size: 4 KB
In November of 2006 I purchased a new car. It came with a trial of XM Satellite
radio. At some point last summer, I was called by an XM Satellite rep trying to
get me to renew or upgrade, I don't recall which. But I DO recall specifically
requesting the service be canceled. I spoke to my SO and asked him if he ever
used it. He did not. They offered to give us another one for his truck to keep
the service. I declined. We again stated we just wanted to cancel the service.
They acknowledged that we were canceling the service and the call ended.
Several weeks ago I began receiving automated calls. Twice I tried to return
the call and was unable to get through. Finally, when I did get through and ask
what company I had reached, they demanded my name. They told me I had reached a
collection company and that XM Satellite had turned a bill for $27.50 over to
them for collections. The bill, they stated, was generated for services from
September to December of 2007.
I explained to "Jack Powell at ext 160" that I had canceled the service and did
not owe any money. He gave me another number to call (800-967-2346).
I called that number and spoke to Anthony. He stated that he would create a
"collection dispute" and someone would be contacting me within 2-5 business
As you can see, I started keeping notes since I had learned that your employees
are not good at doing what they say they will do.
I then received a message (on my voice mail) from someone whose name I could not
understand, stating that they had "reviewed my account and that my contract
clearly stated that I had to call XM to cancel".
I called the 800 * again and spoke to "Chris". Chris was very attentive and
after I explained the situation to him, he stated that my account would be
credited the $27.50. He gave me a reference # of (deleted). He told me it
could take up to 4-6 weeks for the collections department to stop calling.
A few days later I received a voice mail from "Trena" (I think that is what she
said her name was). She stated that she had reviewed the account and it would
NOT be adjusted. That my contract clearly stated I had to make the call to XM.
Have you ever listened to these calls? If not, I have saved them and would love
for you to hear them.
I called again and insisted on speaking to a supervisor who could settle this
dispute. After repeatedly being put on hold (which I strongly suspect is in an
effort to get the caller to give up and hang up) I was put through to "Ryan".
After speaking with Ryan he stated that the account had "escalated" and he was
transferring me to another department. The call was then cut off (BIG
When I called back I spoke to "Camilla". She told me Ryan's notes stated that
he told me he would investigate further and someone would call me back. Well,
that is blatantly not true.
I insisted on speaking to a manager. Again, after being placed on hold multiple
times, I was put through to "Martin". Martin continually said that the contract
stated that I HAD TO CALL XM. I asked him if that meant that when a
representative of XM called me and during that conversation agreed to cancel the
service that I should believe that XM would not at that point cancel the
service. He repeatedly went back to "your contract clearly states". I asked if
this was a signed contract as I am unaware of a "contract". He refused to
answer. I asked him to record the call.
I have forwarded this information to the FCC.
For your own edification, you may wish to Google "XM Satellite complaints". I
was horrified to see that this is routine business for your company.
I would like to resolve this matter with no more effort on my part. If you or a
representative who is able to resolve this matter would like to contact me next
Tuesday or Wednesday you may reach me at (DELETED).
WELL, WE'LL SEE IF THEY RESPOND.
On 8/10/2008 I called XM Radio to deactivate a Skyfi2 radio that was stolen the
night before. I figured I would also cancel my account as I didn't want to spend
the hundred bucks or so I thought it would cost for another one. I was told the
radio would be deactivated right away but when I said to cancel the account I was
put on hold then offered a XM EZ radio for $9.99 plus shipping which had to paid
up front with a credit card. I agreed provided that it did not require any additional
wiring to what was already in the car. (my XM antenna and a feed to the cigarette
lighter for power)
The Skyfi2 broadcasts directly to an open FM frequency as is. This worked for me
for the last couple of years. I heard from different people about different units needing more setup.
I was assured after another hold that I would be "good to go with what's in the
vehicle" when I received the radio.
8/11- I get an email that the order was shipped. The total was $21.91. (11.92 for
8/19 The XM EZ was delivered. In the box there was a packing slip that
mentioned a SURE CONNECT included with the radio. I figured it was sent in error
as the instructions in the manual didn't mention it. I plugged the antenna in and attached the power cord and plugged it into the cigarette lighter. I tuned it to the same frequency I had been using for the Skyfi2 that I knew was OK and it didn't work. (I was told it would already be activated) It wasn't. I called SHOP XM to activate the radio.
While sitting in my car and on the phone with XM, I could see it
activate and get the stations but it wasn't broadcasting to the radio. After being put on hold a number of times, while she kept checking who knows what, the
rare someone who actually knew something about the equipment must have told
her that the XM EZ (you guessed it!) needed to have the SURE CONNECT
I told her at now the 1 hour 8 minute mark, that this was useless to me
and unacceptable and I wanted to return it, get my money back and CANCEL my
account. She was already painfully aware that I was told before I accepted this
model, I wouldn't need a SURE CONNECT . ( I guess whoever packed the box must
have had one in their car!) After another attempt at putting me on hold, I said no I wanted to CANCEL my account and send back the radio. After some muffled background conversation, she said she could transfer me to someone who would issue me an RMA number (for excepted returns UPS) but also to offer me a better deal.
The new woman she transferred me to (how come you never get cut off when
they are trying to sell you something else!) gave me an option of getting an XM
Skyfi3 THAT WOULD NOT NEED ANY ADDITIONAL WIRING. (sound familiar?) I
asked her twice to make absolutely sure this model did not require a SURE
CONNECT as I didn't want to waste any more time on this. ( my wife heard me as I
was now in the house)
She assured me that I only needed to connect the antenna already there and plug
in the power to the lighter and then activate it. She told me the radio would be
$49.99 plus an activation fee of $14.99 which would be credited back to me and
$20.97 for 3 months of XM in advance which would be credited back also "for
what you have gone through and your patience". She said this had to be paid up
front with a credit card after I agree to XM radio for 12 months, and early
cancellation fee. At this time I asked one final time about the SURE CONNECT
because as I've said I didn't want to go through this again. The elapsed phone time at this point was somewhere past 2 hours.
At this point I agreed, asked for all this to be documented in an email to me. She said my RMA# for the return of XM EZ (remember that? Seems like years passed!) will be emailed and when they get it into the warehouse I will be credited with that also.
Later that night I received an email detailing the charges with another shipping
charge, now only $9.60 (I guess I earned a preferred rate) but this has tax
included of $6.02. Go figure. The total is 101.57. The email has no mention of any agreement or a verification that the Skyfi3 doesn't require a SURE CONNECT.
There is a second email with the RMA# and instructions for returning the XM EZ.
The Skyfi3 was shipped the next day and I received it on 8/28. At this point I
figured they weren't bad people just incompetent and ignorant about what they
are selling people.
On 8/29 I installed it and called XM to activate it and was told I would get a signal in 10 or 20 minutes. I went out in the car and was running errands all evening. While out I noticed it was activated but when I tuned to the frequency I use for XM it wasn't coming through the car's radio. When I got home I stayed in the car while I called XM and was continuously told to try another frequency. In my haste to install the radio I didn't inspect ALL of the contents in the box. While I was on one of my 10 minute "holds", I noticed (now your catching on!) a SURE CONNECT!!!!!
I asked the girl to please find out if this was needed. She had no idea what a SURE CONNECT was.
I said to transfer me to the area that handles returns. I am done, I want to return this and CANCEL my account. (there is that word again that triggers all sorts of weird behavior) Now I was being stalled so she could find a number that I could call. I soon found out why. When my watch struck 11PM EST she had no problem transferring me to that department. The message was that they close at 11pm.
8/30 The next day first thing, I call SHOP XM and go through everything again
with a new representative who kept saying she couldn't let me return a radio unless it was defective. I said the person who sent it to me was defective not the radio. She offered me another Skyfi3 to replace the one I had. When I got off the floor and stopped laughing, I explained to her for the seventh time that I was sent this in error. It was not what I agreed to. She asked me if there was anything ELSE I can help you with?
I said what do you mean ELSE? I haven't been helped yet in the last 2 weeks.
Please put your supervisor on or someone that has the authority to undo all this
nonsense. I must say though, she did have the routine down pat. She kept saying that it should work if you use the same frequency as your radio. At this point I knew that it's not that they don't know their product as much as they are trained to do as instructed by the company. All those people in a
company can't all be incompetent.
Now I get her supervisor- Philip- I believe. He said he has heard everything and I don't have to re-explain. This is going to be hard to type but Phil tells me I will have to use a SURE CONNECT with this model radio. He asks me why I refuse to add this wiring. I give him my reasons even though I didn't feel I needed to and then he says well you were UPGRADED to a better radio. My cost was UPGRADED too. You are forgetting that I didn't want this. He insinuates that I was aware of what the requirements were. At that point I said "Why on earth would I send back one XM EZ radio for the same reason which XM accepted because I have the RMA to prove it then let you send me a radio that just cost me 5 times as much with the same requirement that is not acceptable to me. That makes no sense". He couldn't answer that.
At this point he said sorry all sales are final. You agreed to the terms. I said I didn't agree to something I didn't want. The agreement was based on misinformation that I took in good faith. Such an agreement would have to be unenforceable. I said I wanted to close my account and I would take further action to get my money back. He brazenly said "yeah we get a lot of that". I told him "I'll bet you do". He said there would be an early cancellation fee of $100.
By the way, the transfer to the cancellation department never went through. "if
you'd like to make a call..."
Now I will try to find an upper management person to send a letter to, for a
chance to make this right before I take this to claims court. I would welcome any and all help in this matter. In return I would my best to insure that this does not happen to anyone else. I should have cancelled my account in the first place instead of being a victim of what appears to be fraud.
I had XM Radio in my Honda Ridgeline for about 4 years. I decided I could use the money for other things, so I decided to discontinue my service. I called and cancelled the XM in my vehicle. They said fine, they would and I thought that would be the end of it. That month I got my CC statement and there was a charge of $163.65 for 1 year subscription to XM. I called and said I did not authorize any charges and I had cancelled XM the month previous. The XM CS person told me since I had agreed to pay for XM with my CC previously that meant I "automatically" agreed to auto-renew with my CC in the future.
I told them I no longer wanted XM and to cancel my account and to refund my money. I was transferred to the service cancellation dept., where they offered me a $77 a year deal and, being an idiot, I agreed to it. But, I told them I wanted to get the refund on my CC, I no longer wanted them to charge my CC, and wanted to get a paper invoice for the $77 a year deal. They said that would not be a problem and they would take care of it. When I got my next CC statement, I say they credited my account on June 15 of '09, the $163.65, but then applied a charge of $66.60 to my account 2 days later.
In the mean time I got a bill of $88 and some change for the $77 plus royalty fee in the mail. I called them and asked about the $66.60, was told it was for a year of XM (even though that wasn't even the right amount), and I told them I got a paper invoice for the year subscription... and that I was not paying the paper invoice until I got a refund for the $66.60 that showed up on my CC... which was an unauthorized charge to boot.
From June of '09 through Oct. of '09, I fought with them to get my refund. I called them at a least a dozen times and literally spent hours on the phone with them...all to no avail...they just would not refund the money. I kept being told the refund would be processed in 72 hours or that it was "in suspension" and they couldn't process it. I got a different story every time I called them. To make matters worse, they sent the paper invoice amount to collections and I started getting hounded by collection company calls.
Finally in Oct. of '09 I disputed the charge with my CC company and I got my money back. Once I got confirmation from my CC company I was going to be getting my money back, I called XM and told them, in no uncertain terms, that I wanted my account cancelled and never to be contacted by XM again. About a month later I got a check from XM for $66.60 and then, two days later, I got a notice from a collection agency, saying I owed XM $66.60!!! I took the check I got from XM and paid the collection agency. Little did they know I paid them with their own money! Haha!
I thought that was the end of it... but no... in Feb. of 11 I started getting bills from XM saying I had signed up for auto renewal and I owed them $40 for 3 months of XM. I called and tried to get it straightened out, but they contend I never cancelled my account, I had XM all the way through until Jan of '11, and I owed them for 3 months of service.
I tried to work something out with them, but they refused to budge on it, so I told them they could stick the $40 where the sun don't shine... because I cancelled my account over a year and 1/2 ago... and there was no way on God's green Earth they were getting a ** penny out of me for something I never received. Well, just recently I got another bill from a collection agency. I have to figure out how to dispute this... I'd rather pay a lawyer a $1000 then give XM one more GD red cent of my money!!!