“Once again, I was told that the subscription was not refundable. After a significant number of calls and virtually the same response from everyone I spoke with, I wrote a letter to the President explaining the problem and requesting a refund of the $488.86. The President has never responded to my letter.”
Shapiro also tried unsuccessfully to convince her credit card company to cancel her charge.
After checking the Better Business Bureau site and seeing hundreds of other complaints about Sirius XM billing practices, I figured I would pull out all the stops.
I sent an email to the satellite radio company’s public relations department, notifying them that I would be writing a column about this complaint as well as the complaints I saw on the BBB site and other consumer sites. I also forwarded Shapiro’s email to the attorney general’s office and to the state consumer protection commissioner, and informed the PR department about that.
While the public relations department never responded directly to me, they did to Shapiro.
Within 48 hours she became a valued customer. She received a call from the customer relations department apologizing for the problem and agreed to refund the $488.86 they billed to her Capital One account. She was also promised six months of free service.
“I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate your efforts on my behalf,” she wrote me last week. “You did in one day what I have been trying to do for more than three months.” My pleasure.
State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal also responded to me in a written statement saying that while he was pleased that Shapiro got her money back, others have also had problems.
“My office remains concerned about Sirius XM’s billing practices and will seek information from the company,” he wrote. “We have received about 20 complaints about Sirius XM in the last five years, most concerning bill practices and unwanted automatic renewal. My office has resolved all but three. We are in negotiations to resolve the remaining three. None involved lifetime subscriptions, as in Ms. Shapiro’s case.”
Another approach that Shapiro could have taken was to file a complaint against the company with bbb.org.
The BBB reports that it has received more than 3,200 complaints against the company in the past three years, with about half involving billing complaints.
Most of the complaints were resolved and the company has a B rating.
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