Monday, November 10, 2008

Beware XM Radio

When I bought my VW Passat, it came with a radio with a built in satellite radio reciever and a three month free trial subscription. I didn't think much of it at the time, but back then satellite radio was generating a fair amount of buzz-and I figured I could use something to listen to during commercials on The Ticket or when NPR was boring (whenever Ira Glass is on), so I called XM to give it a try.

And I really enjoyed it. The station Lucy offered a nice mix of '90s rock music, most early '90s-very little Nickelback and crap like that, Ethel offered a nice mix of modern rock tinged with new stuff (it's where I first heard Arctic Monkeys, The Shins, Silversun Pickups, and more), XMU offered a way to listen to college radio-something we've never really had here in Dallas, Squizz offered some decent metal when that was my mood, and Fungus the same thing with punk music. Fox Sports Radio was also a nice bonus, as during the holiday season I was working on Saturday and Sundays I could get sports updates. In short, for some $60 a year it was a nice buy. So I signed up for a one year subscription. Enjoyed it enough, but let it lapse. A few months later decided I wanted it back, so I signed up for another one year sub......that was 15 months ago.

So about 3 months ago the subscription lapsed. Around that same time they decided to "temporarily" take Fungus 53-their lone punk station-off the air and replace it with an all AC fucking DC station. Seriously, AC/DC. I'm sure trailer parks across America were high-fiving each other, but unless I'm at a strip club I've got absolutely zero interest in AC/DC (same goes for Buckcherry, in case you were curious). So I let my subscription lapse, knowing that if I ever wanted to renew it I could. And that's when it started.

For the last two months, I've literally recieved a call a day from XM. But not just a call, an automated call. "Dear , your XM subscription has lapsed, please call us (the gall of me asking them to call them!) please call us back at with account number . And of course, I ignored them. Fuck automated calls, if a company wants my business they can call me and talk to me at my convenience....I'm not taking time out of my day to call them and sit on hold. I'm the customer, and my money is not their god-given right.

After a month, I finally gave in and called them....I was polite but blunt, please stop calling me. CSR was very polite, took my info, and told me the calls would stop. They of course didn't. Less frequent, but they kept coming. So tonight, after the 70th some odd automated call and voicemail, I called them. Again, asked them to stop calling me and to my surprise, now they want $23 to stop calling me. Whaaaaaaaat?

I argue with the CSR for a bit-and she was quite rude I might add-before realizing she has no power, and asking for her supervisor. He gives me the same lines. I had to again, call them, to cancel my subscription. Nevermind that I expressly signed up for a one year subscription, no no, if I don't call them I have to pay them for the two months of service they "gave me" because they didn't turn off my service after that one year. You know, because if you walk into Kroger and buy a months worth of chicken, if you come back two months later you owe them for the month of chicken you didn't buy. Logical, right?

Again, I want to stress, this wasn't a repeating bill. I paid up front and in full for 1 year service. Period. I asked explicitly and was told, it is not repeating and if I wanted to re-new I would only then have to call them, as had happened the previous time I let a subscription lapse.

So why do I write all this? To let you, and hopefully everyone you know, that the folks at XM are crooks and to steer clear of them. If this is how a company treats a subscriber of almost two years, then that should tell you all that you need to know about the company. Fuck XM, I will pay them their $23, but I will make damn sure that everyone I know will listen, and that they lose more than $23 in subscriptions and bad press. The internet empowers consumers, and shit companies like XM need to be aware of that.

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