For Christmas, my husband got me a satellite radio for my car. I had a super old system and this one would replace my old unit and could be docked in my car. Sweet!
Sweet until I got scammed by the subscription department at Sirius XM when I tried to activate my account.
I waited forever to put the unit in my car and set up service, but when I finally did, I was shocked to learn that they wanted over $200 for a yearly subscription to all their available channels. I have never been a fan of paying for radio, especially since my husband works in terrestrial radio and I have the luxuries of Pandora, Spotify and my iPod, but I was willing to pay a few extra bucks a month for commercial-free tunes geared towards my musical preferences.
Sirius/XM was never terribly reliable. It would lose its signal randomly and stations replayed the same songs within an hour or two of each other. Yet, even with these annoyances, I liked the idea of listening to the all 90s channel on my way to work or writing to the tunes of Coffeehouse. That was until I found I would be paying twice as much as other customers.
My neighbor told me he paid $94 a year for his premium service . My mom pays a mere $84 annually for the same plan. When I called, over a holiday weekend, they wanted about $230 for 12 months which included taxes and applicable service fees. Fuck that!
I told the customer service reps that I knew people were getting the same plan at a significantly lower cost. They proceeded to tell me that there were no promotions and to try back again. I did that, and again, no specials. I was baffled. How could they keep telling me to sign up and call for new deals when there never were any? Didn’t they want to sign on a new customer, even at a discounted rate? I mean, Sirius/XM’s churn rate is insane and would be even worse if they didn’t broker deals with current customers to stay on board.
I finally asked to talk to a manager who told me he had some special promo code that the initial reps didn’t have. It didn’t quite make sense to me, but when he offered me at a deal for all the channels at $109, I said I’d take it. I had to call back with my radio’s ID number for them to activate it, so they made a note on my account.
When I called back, they told me the $109 subscription was for a selected plan – one that doesn’t give you all the channels the satellite radio giant offers. Um, hello, if I am paying for a service I can get for free (kind of), why would I only want some channels and not all? I explained this to the rep who said he couldn’t do anything for me, so he put me through to a manager. Suddenly, she had a deal for $131 for the premium subscription plan, which was still more than my mom and neighbor were paying, so I protested. They couldn’t match those deals or do much better.
I was curious why only the managers could get me a deal and the initial sales rep could only offer me something for $200+. When I asked, the manager declined to comment, simply saying she was sorry. I went on, asking why all the managers had a code for a promotion that was locked to my radio purchase, yet when I called to subscribe, no one was able to offer me what apparently I was “entitled” to anyway.
I kept at it, demanding an answer from the manager about why I wasn’t told I could get a deal by the first 10 reps I spoke to. She hung up on me. Bitch. I decided to call back and the next manager I spoke to read from a pre-written script, apologizing for the trouble and brokering me a yearly premium channel deal for $185.
Excuse me?!? $185? That is $50 more than the manager who hung up on me offered. I asked her how this was possible and she was just as dumbfounded as the rest. Finally, she gave me a deal at $124 for everything I wanted, but told me I had to pay $4/month for internet access to stations and buy another dock to listen to the unit in my home, which would run me about $39.99.
After all this shit, I thought to myself, why do I need to pay for radio? Yeah, it’s a luxury and a convenience, but the hassle and bullshit that I went through to get it, along with the unfairness, left such a bad taste in my mouth, so I told them I was no longer interested. I mean, why would I want to pay more than other people, and why should other people pay more than me? I’m not trying to sound cheap, but the whole thing is such a scam. If I had service previously (which I did and conveniently, they couldn’t find my account despite a myriad of information I provided them), they would have done whatever they could to keep me to lessen their churn rate. I have friends who call every three months to broker a new, cheaper deal. So Sirius XM, what gives?