Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and the state Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein today announced that Connecticut has joined 44 other states in a $3.8 million settlement with Sirius XM Radio Inc. that resolves claims that the satellite radio company engaged in misleading advertising and billing practices.
The attorneys general allege that Sirius XM engaged in misleading, unfair and deceptive acts or practices in violation of state consumer protection laws. The multistate investigation focused on accusations that Sirius XM was either failing to honor contract cancellations or making it difficult for consumers to cancel such contracts. Consumers filed complaints alleging that the satellite radio company was automatically renewing contracts without obtaining consent or providing notification to consumers following initial cancellation. The states allege that Sirius XM was charging consumers unauthorized fees, failing to provide refunds in a timely manner and increasing rates after enticing consumers with low introductory rates.
“Consumers should be able to subscribe to and enjoy satellite radio services without the fear of deceptive terms and conditions,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “We take allegations of misrepresentation seriously and remain vigilant for conduct that attempts to mislead consumers. I am pleased that this settlement includes restitution for affected consumers. I strongly encourage individuals who may be eligible for relief but have not yet filed complaints to reach out to my office in order to participate in this settlement.”
“In a fair marketplace, companies do not hold their customers hostage with unclear or unfair terms for ending a contract,” Commissioner Rubenstein said. “It’s unfortunate that companies employ such tactics, which only cause consumer ill-will and tarnish the products they are trying to market.”
Sirius XM will pay the states $3.8 million, of which Connecticut’s share will be $223,225.32. In addition, Sirius XM will provide restitution to eligible consumers who have complaints about the problems addressed in the settlement.
Under the terms of the settlement, Sirius XM has agreed to clearly and conspicuously disclose all terms and conditions at the point of sale, such as billing frequency, term length, automatic renewal date, and cancellation policy. The satellite radio service also agreed to refrain from making misrepresentations about the available plans in advertisements and to provide advance notice via mail or email about upcoming automatic renewals for plans lasting longer than six months. Lastly, Sirius XM will revise the cancellation procedures to make it easier for consumers to cancel.
Connecticut consumers who have not previously filed a complaint for the practices covered by this settlement have 150 days after the settlement’s execution date – that is, until May 3, 2015 to file a complaint to be considered for restitution.
To be considered for restitution under this settlement, consumers must file a complaint concerning conduct that occurred any time from July 28, 2008 through Dec. 4, 2014. Complaints must involve an identifiable financial loss. Consumers who previously had their complaints resolved by their states’ attorneys general are not eligible for restitution under this settlement.
Consumers who believe they may be eligible for restitution under the settlement or who have questions are urged to contact the Office of the Attorney General at (860) 808-5318 or email@example.com. Consumers can also contact Sirius XM directly with their complaints. Complaints can be sent by mail to PO Box 33059, Detroit MI 48232-5059 or by going to the following web address: www.siriusxm.com/settlementprogram.
Connecticut joined Arizona, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington, D.C. as a member of the Executive Committee that was led by Ohio. Additionally, participating in the settlement are the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Assistant Attorneys General Brendan Flynn, Jeff Zeman and Philip Rosario, head of the Consumer Protection Department, assisted the Attorney General with this matter.
Click here to view the settlement.
The following is XM’s response:
We are pleased to have reached agreements that resolve this investigation. The changes to our consumer practices that we agreed to are practices we have already implemented at SiriusXM. Under the terms of the settlements, we have agreed to provide, upon the request of the States, additional information about our consumer practices and to participate in a process designed to address any previously unresolved consumer complaints. In addition, we agreed to make a payment of approximately $4 million to the States that has no material financial effect on the Company.
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