The Satellite Radio Service that Won’t Die
Three months ago I wrote about our ongoing efforts to eliminate unneeded recurring monthly expenses. One of those was the satellite radio service that I have had in my car for a few years. However, it seems that the monopoly now known as XM/Sirius doesn’t deal well with rejection. It has resisted my cancellation efforts to a degree that is as humorous as it is frustrating.
Please cancel my satellite service effective at the end of the current billing cycle, which I believe is tomorrow, 8/16. I have generally enjoyed being a customer but recently I find that the channels I listen to most are filled with commercials.
Please acknowledge these instructions as I do not intend to submit any further payments.
I included my full name, address, phone number, and account number. Also, the message was sent from the same email account to which XM had been sending its numerous messages to me.
That was reasonably clear don’t you think?
Shortly thereafter I received the usual “thanks for contacting Listener Care, we will respond shortly” blah blah blah.
Then the circus started.
First, my cancellation instruction was acknowledged but I was offered a three month discount to stay a subscriber, which I ignored. Then I began to receive a series of email messages instructing me to call a number so that I could speak with the “cancellation team.” No offense to the “cancellation team” members but I wasn’t interested in waiting in a phone queue to then have someone try to talk me out of being an ex-subscriber. So I ignored those as well.
The next series of email messages was accompanied by regular robo-calls, telling me that my account was scheduled for “suspension” due to non-payment and I needed to call another number to arrange payment, blah blah blah.
Periodically I would receive a written past due statement. (This is the reason that I don’t put stubborn/clueless vendors like XM on an automatic bank or credit-card payment program.)
Here is a typical email I received from the “XM Team” on September 10:
Dear Valued Customer,
An invoice was mailed to you last month, but we have not received payment for your XM Radio service. As a result, your service may be turned off shortly.
If you did not receive your invoice, please contact us today to update your billing address and make a payment. For your convenience, you can pay with credit card to avoid the hassles and fees of invoice billing. Simply choose how you would like to update your billing information from the options listed below:
Speak with a live representative. Call XM Listener Care at 888-290-2096.
If you have already contacted XM to submit a payment, please disregard this email.
To which I responded:
How many times do I have to tell you to cancel my account? This is number three. Stop harassing me for a payment that I am not going to send.
Finally, I could no longer tolerate the robo-calls, emails, and letters, so three weeks ago I called the number left on our voice mail. I was put on endless hold and eventually hung up.
I tried again a few days later and actually reached a human being. All that poor XM person wanted to talk about was that my service was being suspended and when I was going to pay my past due account to prevent that from happening. What?
I told her that if I owed anything as of August 15 (my cancellation date), tell me what it was and I would pay it immediately but nothing more. I pointed out that I had cancelled my service on August 15.
She asked if I had spoken to the “cancellation team.” I said no, I had sent an email. She told me that it was XM “policy” to cancel a service only after I spoke with the “Cancellation Team.” I responded I had tried but was put on hold. I went on to say that I didn’t care what XM “policy” was; I hadn’t listened to my XM radio since my August 15th cancellation instruction and it wasn’t my concern that XM chose to keep the account active thereafter.
She put me on hold to transfer me to the “cancellation team.” I waited in another phone queue and after a few minutes, hung up.
The emails and robo-calls continued. Once again I was told to call to straighten things out, to which I responded twice by email as follows:
I’ve tried calling three times. On only one occasion could I reach a live person without an extended wait and that person transferred me to another on-hold queue. I’m not doing it again. CANCEL THIS ACCOUNT as you should have done on 8/15. If someone wants to talk to me about this cancellation, they may call me at _____________. I promise I won’t put them on hold.
Apparently you are not actually reading or comprehending my messages. If your “Cancellation Team” feels that it is necessary that I tell them verbally what I have been telling you in writing since August 15, one of them can call me at the number I’ve listed below. I am not going to call yet again and be put on hold, just to repeat something. I have been getting regular robocalls on my landline from your “Robocall Team”. All you need to do is put a human on the phone and your problem is solved.
The email response to this was that a member of management would contact me in 5-7 business days.
Of course, it didn’t happen.
I’m now waiting for XM to send my account to the “collection team” at which time I might have to get really upset and escalate things at this end.
That’s what happens when you are dealing with XM, this week’s Fools of Finance.