Letters To No One: Sirius/XM Radio
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I know we’ve been down this road before, but this time “goodbye” means forever.
My satellite radio was a birthday gift from my ex. When I experienced my first Sirius/XM headache in May of 2010 I stuck with the service because, well, I thought it would be rude to tell my partner that I did not want to use the gift she bought me anymore because the people who made the product and provided the content were a bunch of assholes. Now that I’ve been absolved of my relationship duties, I can finally draw the line and tell the satellite radio provider that I’ve tired of their bullshit for the last time. I’m cancelling my service and selling the home and car radio units.
The reason is two-fold. First, they STILL have not fixed their billing system. Instead of calling or notifying customers by e-mail to warn that their subscription is set to expire, Sirius/XM still charges whatever a full-year subscription costs to your credit card under the assumption that you’re fine with it. I don’t even think I know how much one year of Sirius/XM radio costs. I doubt any paying customer knows. Basically what happens when you pay for the service is you look at your bank account one day and there’s a charge for $202.58 (as they did in July of 2011) or a charge of $126 (as they did last week), and you either call them and bitch them out and cancel your service…or you deal with it. I imagine most people just deal with the fact that there is no set rate for satellite radio service, and Sirius/XM has no problem taking random amounts of money out of your bank account whenever the hell they feel like it.
Furthermore, if all I use my satellite radio for is to listen to Howard Stern, and he has now cut back to broadcasting two — or sometimes three — days a week, what’s the point? Every time I get in my car to drive somewhere I wind up listening to a bit I’ve heard six times already. Or, if I’m really lucky, I’ll hear a full commercial break. Then I’ll arrive at my destination just as the break is ending. The last time I heard an entire episode of Stern from start to finish was on a Thursday when I was driving home from Las Vegas…and since he’s not live in the studio on Thursdays anymore it was an episode I’d already heard. My satellite radio was useless for the four hour drive.
You could tell me, “listen to something else,” but the channels all suck. I don’t care about top 40 radio, the “indie” station only plays accessible pop music, and the only other talk station I’ll ever switch to is Mad Dog Radio but his sports channel is pretty weak when he’s not on the air. Then again, even if they simulcast WFMU’s broadcast it would not be enough for me to keep my service.
On Tuesday I called to cancel my subscription. Here’s how fucking irritating Sirius/XM is. On Friday they charged my credit card $126 — without my permission — and since I had intended to cancel my service when the time came in July, I figured I’d better call now to alert them that a) I want the money back they took from me, and b) I was not going to renew my subscription once it expired.
After dialing the company’s customer service phone number, I was told via automated message that the average wait for operator assistance was six minutes. It took 20 minutes for someone to answer my call. Naturally, Sirius/XM thinks it wise to interrupt the boring muzak that plays while you wait EVERY FIFTEEN SECONDS with an announcement about how to get the most out of your Sirius/XM experience. And every single time that voice interrupts the music you think someone is finally going to answer your call. It’s as stupid a promotion tactic as it is maddening to endure.
I got through to a woman who walked me through the cancellation procedure. Along the way I told her why I was terminating my service, and she actually disputed my claim that Howard Stern is “barely on the air” anymore. Trust me, I listen every day. I know that he’s been busier than normal with his new TV gig…but even on weeks when he doesn’t have to film that he’s rarely there. The shows are shorter, the week is shorter, and there seems to be a lot more vacation time in his current contract than there was in his last contract. Don’t fucking argue with me about how many hours or days he’s in the studio. And you raised the price of your service last year just to keep his two channels in my plan! Fuck you!
The agent told me that my account would be refunded in three days (it hasn’t yet!) in the amount of $123 and change. Even though they charged me $126 to renew the service WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. It’s three bucks. I’ll survive without out it. But I really, really want to know what the rationale is behind not refunding the entire amount you took from me. I’m dying to know what I did that cost me three bucks.
What’s worse, they shut the radio off already, though I haven’t received a refund yet, and EVEN THOUGH I PAID $202.58 FOR A FULL YEAR OF SERVICE LAST JULY 11th. If you’re going to shut my radio off, doesn’t it make sense to do it when the subscription ends? And if you’re going to shut it off before then, shouldn’t you refund me MORE for the month of service I’m now not receiving?
Sirius/XM, you are assholes and you are frauds. Fuck you.
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