Maybe XM And Sirius Should Try Acting A Little More Like A Monopoly

Paul reports that there’s good news and bad news as far as the merger of XM and Sirius satellite radio goes. The two companies have not decided to band together and operate as one scary monopolistic entity. The bad news is that the companies seem to be cooperating to confuse customers and turn them off of the idea of satellite radio entirely.

I was a Sirius radio customer and bought a new Toyota Prius that has the satellite radio package. I called Sirius to add the Prius to my subscription bit was told I could not do that. I needed a separate XM radio subscription and needed to pay the full rate for the service. This was kind of odd since it took the FCC over 18 months to decide if the two companies could merge. Once concern was a monopoly and the rates.

I called XM to get the service and add the “Best of Sirius” package and told the person about the email I had received about a six month discount (see email below). When I told the customer service person that I wanted the “Best of Sirius” I was sent to a different customer service person in the USA. I went through the same pitch and I was told I could not have the special discount in the email if I wanted the “Best of Sirius” as well.

Total cost was $202.00 for one radio and one year plan.

I asked why I could not start XM and call back and add the $4.95 charge for “Best of Sirius” onto the plan and the girl said that the computer would not allow the discount and they allow me to add the extra service.

Sirius radio for all of Sirius is $165.00 and I could pay extra for the “Best of XM” service.

Here’s the e-mail that Paul received:

Dear PAUL,

Now that you’ve been driving without XM Satellite Radio, does your drive seem emptier? Does the commute feel longer? Do the alternatives like standard AM/FM radio seem a bit too predictable and cluttered with commercials? Clearly, you deserve better.

Right now you can reactivate your XM Everything service with more than 170 channels and bring your drive back to life. And you can do it for less. Sign up today for only $4.99*† a month for 6 months — that’s a 61% savings off our normal monthly rate. And we’ll also waive the $14.99 reactivation fee.

Just click here to subscribe online or call 1-800-643-6029 to speak with an XM Listener Care representative. To make your subscription process simpler, keep your Radio ID [redacted] handy when you call. No complicated steps.

So sign up today to hear exclusives like an original music show featuring Bob Dylan, Oprah Radio™, and Major League Baseball® play-by-play for every team.

But act now — this 61% savings is only available for a short time!

-Your friends at XM Satellite Radio

Yep. No complicated steps, unless you’re interested in subscribing to content from their sister company as well. Makes perfect sense.

Comments

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  1. MauraGrowf says:

    Yup. Same experience I had. Used to have a car with XM. Loved it. Bought a car with Sirius. Was told to cancel XM then set up new service with Sirius. I said, “but aren’t you the same company?”

    “Yes, but we can’t just transfer you over.”

    “Why not?”

    “We just can’t.”

    So I’m back to listening to MP3s and terrestrial radio. Suck it, lame satellite radio company.

    • Randell says:

      They can;t because of the agreement they had to provide to the justice and FCC to actually merge the companies. Sirius would love to have ONE single unit, but that was not “good for consumers” according to the justice department and the FCC.

      • bigTrue says:

        So, basically, the one good thing that should have come out of this merger didn’t happen. That’s kind of funny.

      • Conformist138 says:

        But that shouldn’t stop transfers from being simpler; the hardware has absolutely nothing to do with anything. I worked for Nextel when they merged with Sprint (amazingly, Nextel hold times were about 5min, Sprint was about 20min, and we went with the Sprint ideas about customer service). We had people calling all the time about going from one service to another or about having mix-and-match plans (some phones Sprint, some Nextel). At first, we couldn’t do it all, but within months it was no big deal. We had hellish times getting our software upgraded and dealing with more products on entirely different networks, but customers got results quickly. In the end, I could swap numbers from Sprint to Nextel as easily as any other changed handset. So, what gives with the radio? Same exact situation, it’s not an issue with incompatible technology, the service itself doesn’t make a difference, it’s just a matter of billing with some level of communication between two databases (no need to even merge them together, just let them talk).

    • Murph1908 says:

      Same thing happened to me.

      I had an XM portable. Wife bought a car with Sirius. I tried to get a 2 radio plan, but no go.

      So I dropped XM and sold my portable. I then emailed Consumerist, who must have had better stories at the time. =)

  2. dolemite says:

    Sounds about right for them. Since the merger, they have been acting more like a monopoly. They used to offer a family plan (up to 5 radios I think) for about $17 a month for everything (talk radio, sports, and internet radio). After the merger, they offered “Music only” for 9.99 a month. Then they tacked on some radio fee for $2 a month in addition to taxes, fees, etc, so it is closer to $13 a month (about what I used to pay for a single “everything” plan). My wife got XM, so I tried to get the family plan with her, but they said they don’t offer that anymore. So now I am paying $24+ a month for 2 “Music Only” plans. The only discounts they want to offer me is buying 2-3 years of service at a time, which effectively locks me into a contract.

  3. JasonR says:

    I’ve gone through the problem of adding the “Best of [the other company]” problem on a new car as well. My car came with a six-month free plan with Sirius and I wanted to add the Best of XM to listen to O&A. Despite several calls and escalations, my only recourse was to either wait until the six month free plan ended, or pay for both the base plan and Best of XM, giving up my free use.

    You would think an existing customer holding cash in hand and offering it to upgrade their service would have some available option. Were I a shareholder, I’d certainly want to think the company wasn’t leaving money on the table.

  4. SweetJustice says:

    This happened to us too. Sold old car, bought new car, can’t transfer subscription. So we’re paying for the person who bought the car to enjoy Sirius. We’re certainly not getting a new subscription on top of that, at least until the old one runs out.

    Terrible, terrible way to do business. It’s too bad because the service is great, but the customer service is in the toilet.

    • Alvis says:

      Why didn’t you just pull the sat radio receiver out before selling it?

      • Azzizzi says:

        Or cancel? Is there a reason to continue to pay for something for someone else? When I had Sirius, a paking valet broke my receiver, so I got a new one and only had to make one call to transfter to the new receiver. This was three years ago, so maybe things have changed.

        • pot_roast says:

          They now seem to charge a $15 “equipment swap” fee. I am not happy about that at all. If you have the Lifetime Subscription, they charge $75 to do the exact same thing.

          As each month goes by, I am less happy with Sirius. We used to love it but…. ugh.

      • Shadowfax says:

        Lots of cars come with the satellite radio built in. You can’t just pull it out.

  5. Vanilla5 says:

    XM has really got some issues. I’m going on month 5 of not being able to pay my bill online (it’s not the browser or computer either). Customer service has no idea what I’m talking about, Twitter was no help (they ignored me after telling me the problem was on my end), and waiting on hold for 30 minutes this last time was not my idea of a good time – even if I was on an 8-hour drive home.

    • dolemite says:

      They really do have some of the worst service. You can’t do anything online. It is almost impossible to set up billing, and the customer service reps are useless. “Well, I might take my business elsewhere then.” “Ok, see ya.”

  6. Sollus says:

    The “best of” packages really are insulting. There is no reason why we should have to pay for that stuff. I can’t imagine not having satellite radio but at the same time this merger really is the worst.

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      You can thank the FCC and legislators for the draconian rules imposed on Sirius/XM for this. If Sirius/XM had their own way the company would have combined the two products long ago.

  7. formergc says:

    Same thing happened to me. Although I did get a pro-rata refund of the balance of my XM subscription on cancellation.

  8. Nogard13 says:

    Next time you sign up for XM service, make sure you ask for the WINBACK discount code to be applied to your account. It gives you a full year of XM Radio for $77, including tax.

    Just say you got an email that said you just needed to tell the rep the code and you would get a year for $77 (it works for new radios and renewals).

    • dimodica1 says:

      Did that but could not have the plan if I also wanted Best of Sirius… Paul

    • Fair&Balanced says:

      That is what I do.
      This past year they would not budge on the music fee so I had to pay $89 a year.
      And they “forgot” to add the online so I had to call back and get them to add that back in for nothing extra.

  9. serenewaffles says:

    It gets even better. My sister and I both have Sirius radios in our cars, and our mom got a car with XM, so we figured we’d sign her up as the third radio on our account and get the multiple radio discount. Unfortunately, that’s not possible as they haven’t merged their billing systems. At least that’s what we were told. In the end we ended up getting an intro price that was better than the discount, and we just have to wait to see if they get their act together before the intro rate runs out.

    • jsl4980 says:

      Be careful on those intro rates. They automatically enroll you at the most expensive rate if you do not change it ahead of time. I got screwed over by that when we bought a new car with XM.

    • d0x360 says:

      I posted below on why merging a sirius and xm account isnt possible, its not a billing issue. Its cause the radios themselves run on different technology and cant receive each others signals.

  10. bnceo says:

    I never have this problem because I never stick with the stock radio. I am an XM subscriber now driving a Toyota Corolla with aftermarket radio. I plan to get a BMW soon, but I think they have Sirius. No matter.

    I plan to take out the stock radio, put in my own radio (that is superior) and toss in an XM part in there. And boom, I keep XM.

    So yeah, it’s a pain in the A, but this is nothing. Honestly, I’m surprised it took Consumerist so long to post one of these stories.

    • adamczar says:

      Cool story bro.

      • bigTrue says:

        Thanks for showing off the new meme that is in the same douchebag status as “First!” and “^this!”

        You must be so proud to be swimming in the bottom of the barrel of internet douchiness.

  11. MercuryPDX says:

    When I got my new car last August it included an XM radio (no choice in the matter) with 3 months of free service. 11 months later and it hasn’t been shut off. I’m waiting for the day they notice, at which point I’m going to have to figure out what to do with the radio.

    I have noticed that there’s a LOT of cross-promotion across both networks. For example one of the XM talk stations has been mentioning that they’re also available on Sirius this week, sort of like how HBO does (did?) their occasional free weekend. I’ve also been hearing ads for Sirius stations and “upgrading” to the Best of Sirius Package that the OP is talking about. I was expecting it all to just merge together into one network at some point, but I guess they’re somehow making more money keeping themselves apart.

  12. everclear75 says:

    I maybe the only one who hasn’t bad luck with XM.. Maybe because I haven’t had to deal with the Sirius side of the house. they were more than accommodating when my XM radio was stolen a few years ago.. Last year, I bought 2 cars(GM products, so sue me) that had XM built in, and was able to get both radios for 24 bucks a year.. I can count on one fist how many times i have listened to the FM dial in the last year… 1st Wave FTW!!

  13. Randell says:

    I think all the complainers need to complaint o the Justice department and the FCC. Imagine ANY other merger where the companies can not combine their services into one single entity. That is EXACTLY what has happened here. Because the rule were structured to allow the merger by them, Sirius can only charge a certain amount for certain things. The “free” subscriptions are with each entity. Therefore, if you buy a Ford, you will get the Sirius ONLY. You can not say I prefer XM, and you can not say add Best of, without it becoming a separate transaction. There are also some other factors involved, including some radios can not handle both services. They were not engineered to do so. You therefore have to buy a new piece of equipment to receive the other.
    I bought a new car on June 17th. I decided against the dealership giving me any service (since I have been a paying subscriber to Sirius for at least 7 years) . I bought the adapters needed for my in dash radio, and got a new subscription. The actual cost went down $5 per month for the first year.

  14. Tim says:

    Isn’t this how companies usually pitch their mergers to the public? “It’ll be great for consumers, because everything will be combined and it’ll be simple to get product/service from both former companies!”

    It’d be like if Delta said that you can’t book Northwest tickets from Delta, can’t transfer miles, can’t have flights from both airlines on the same trip, etc.

    • Randell says:

      No, it would be more like the condition of the merger was that consumers couldn’t book a NWA flight at delta.com. They are required to run as two completely different entities under one roof. You can thank testicular radio for that little bit of shit. They know they can’t compete heads up with satelite, so they whined about this merger.
      As an aside, this merger for an OPTIONAL radio service with Ipods, MP3, regular radio, HD radio all as competition, took longer to clear than the NWA/Delta merger, which actually has monopolistic impact in many communities. The NAB is as evil as the RIAA

  15. jacques says:

    I was a happy XM subscriber until they were purchased and merged the programming. As a classical fan I lost the general vocal channel which was replaced with the very specific Met Opera, and other channels I enjoyed were also replaced with a smaller playlist and less variety when the sirius channels took over. I also noticed more ads and more annoying dee-jays. I was going to hold through, assuming I would at least get football out of it, but nope, that’s not part of the deal. That was the end of my subscription.

    At least it saved me a few hundred when I bought my new car as I didn’t feel obliged to buy a model with the XM built-in.

    • sarahhope82 says:

      The DJs are awful. And there are a lot of other interruptions as well. I don’t want to hear music news or a long clip from a t.v. show from the 90s. I want music. We canceled 2 of or 3 subscriptions because we figured if we have to change the station regardless, we might as well not pay for it. We only kept 1 because my boyfriend listens to Opie and Anthony.

      • Randell says:

        Which really says more about your bf (and the fact you are with an O and A listener) than it does about the merger.

  16. Howie411 says:

    I’m pretty disgusted at the whole XM/Sirius thing as a 8 year XM subscriber and a previous shareholder of both XM and Sirius.

    Recently purchased a new Ford and it came with Sirius instead of XM, they wouldn’t give me the multi discount (almost a year later and their billing is not merged) I sent a pretty nasty letter to the Sirius CEO managed to get the discounted rate for a year, but I’m still not happy.

    Lets see Sirius did everything possible to skirt around the we won’t raise prices deal they made with the FTC,FCC. (They decreased the discount you got with a multi radio plan they added a royalty fee, and their billing systems are still incompatible)

    It makes me sick and I’m surprised there hasn’t been a Class Action Lawsuit.

  17. klwillis45 says:

    They really do need to start acting as 1 company.
    Sirius subs get screwed with the lack of MLB games.

  18. WinHac says:

    Used to be able to stream sirius online if i was a customer for free now they want more money for that. Only bought it for Howard Stern and he is always on vacation playing that horrible history of stern crap.

    • d0x360 says:

      Always? He has always, ever since he was on FM taken multiple weeks of vacation during the summer. Its no different than it ever was aside from the fact that you pay for it now.

  19. rpm773 says:

    Sirius dumped all the stuff I liked to listen to on XM (Fred, Lucy, Casey Kasem’s top 40 from the 80s, Rick Dees top 40 from the 90s), and replaced it with its watered-down rubbish and stupid DJs.

    As far as I’m concerned, XM died early last year, and I’ve been stuck with Sirius ever since.

    • Blatsnorf says:

      Amen. I can’t stand Sirius and loved XM… I call their joke of a replacement for Fred the Elvis Costello channel. WTF? I definitely won’t be renewing my contract when it finally expires. (I did the three year subscription about a year before the murder… er, merger.) I listen to Pandora streaming on my blackberry these days.

  20. TheWraithL98 says:

    i’ve been with XM since 2004, and this sort of crap has been going on forever. The sirius merger only added another layer of bs.

    the part i actually find most insulting is that with XM, you can’t get the family plan rate for factory vehicle install. a factory vehicle install offers the absolute least amount of versatility – compared to a mini tuner, portable unit, or especially an online subscription and an iphone or android phone.

    but it’s the most expensive nonetheless because they know they have a captive audience of millions there. in my family there are 5 cars with factory XM, and because of this only 2 are actually active. 2 of the others use xm online on iphones for a fraction of the price, and the last one – my parents – don’t even bother with xm at all because of the price.

    the other thing i loathe? you can sign up and active xm units online no problem, but you need to call in to cancel. even if you’re just upgrading a unit or whatever. and they’ll send you emails for months, or years offering you pennies on the dollar subscription rates on cancelled radios – even if they are cars you sold, or units that broke….because they make damn well sure to ask you why you’re cancelling multiple times. but for the active radios? never a deal.

  21. TouchMyMonkey says:

    I refuse to pay subscription fees for radio. Period. Especially since the whole shebang is owned by News Corporation. I have hundreds of CDs and vinyl records that I have ripped to MP3 – more than enough to keep my life from being “empty,” as they put it.

    • captadam says:

      It’s not owned by News Corporation.

      • adamczar says:

        And he says “Period” but then goes on for a few more sentences.

        Also, I’m sure people were saying back when cable was first introduced that they’d never pay a subscription fee for television, but now it’s sort of something that everyone gets. I see satellite radio eventually being the same way.

        • jessjj347 says:

          Why? All I have to do is connect to the stations on the internet – through an external device from the car, e.g. a smartphone.

  22. Riroon13 says:

    Pretty much cried the day they killed FRED, neutered the alt-country and comedy stations. I canceled a week after FRED died, and have been dumping the $30/mo subscription fee into my iTunes collection and rocking the free Pandora pretty hard.

  23. COBBCITY says:

    My experience with XM has been similar. I have owned two GM vehicles with XM, my newest for a year. After the trial I called, they claim they must charge me $10-12 a month (can’t remember) and I cancel.

    A few weeks later, I get a postcard in the mail offering me the full channel lineup for $4.99 a month for the next 3 or 6 months. I call and accept and I get XM back for less than half they claimed. When the special ends, I call and ask them to extend or I will cancel. Sometimes they refuse to budge, I cancel and await the next postcard to restart, sometimes I get a rep who just keeps the price if I promise another 3 or 6 months, This has gone on for about 5 years off and on with the two cars.

    Last time was even more amusing. I called at the end of mt $4.99 for 6 months offer and the rep told me there was no way she could give me that deal.. HOWEVER, she could offer me 6 months of XM for $23.94. She seemed to fail to realize that this was $3.99 a month, even lower than I asked. SO, I smiled and accepted.

    Anyone who is paying XM more than $5 a month really needs to learn this game. :)

  24. sfldan says:

    Had a car and a home unit on Sirius and a car with XM, couldn’t combine into one account either. I cancelled the Sirius in the end and went back to plain old radio. Saved $200 a year.

    I despise companies that charge a fee for an invoice, to me that’s just a cost of doing business.

    When they started charging for listening online, which used to be free, I didn’t take that one. Then they started with the “music royalty fee.” Both of these are just rate hikes in disguise. If they have to pay the music royalty fee, raise the rates to accommodate that, but don’t keep tacking on extras to inflate the bill! It’s like the airline industry; the rate you are quoted isn’t really what you will pay. Very deceptive!

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      The music royalty fee reflects an increase in the (governmentally-set) charge they have to pay the music industry for music rights. The reason they did it that way was because they had to – the merger approval from the DOJ said they couldn’t raise the basic rates, but could pass through fee increases like this.

  25. CalicoGal says:

    I’ve been with XM for a long time– 6 years maybe?
    As others have said, the “merger” only served to alienate existing customers. Sure, they muck up all the awesome XM music channels by making them Sirius channels, and having stupid yappy DJ’s who add nothing but annoyance. Plus they laid off a friend who was a traffic reporter.
    They can “merge” the programming, but not the billing system?

    My personal method of gaming them is to call whenever my term is ending and selecting “CANCEL” from the phone tree.
    I get a US rep who offers me the 6-months at 4.99/month. YAY! I call again in 6 months and do the same thing.

    When O&A ever leave, so do I.

  26. MattO says:

    i have also had the same issue – i have sirius portable in my car, because though my car has satellite radio, it is only XM – and my wife has sirius – so i opted to use my portable to save the few dollars a month….it is so ridiculous they are one company, but they act like 2.

  27. dadelus says:

    I was an XM subscriber for many years. I dropped them after the merger because it seemed as though all the stations I liked (Squizz, LaughUSA, etc…) that crossed over with a similar Sirius station got replaced by the Sirius station which, in my opinion, were not as good. Plus I started having issues with the billing dept which had never happened before.

    In addition, It seemed as though there were few stations that were actually commercial free so as far as being “clutterd with commercials” they don’t have much of a leg up over terrestrial radio there. I’ve been without XM for a couple of years now and I honestly don’t miss it at all. If I’m going on a long trip I just bring along my MP3 player.

    • WayneB says:

      I really didn’t notice a difference when XM Squizz was replaced by Sirius Octane. I think it helps that Bodhi from Squizz made the jump to Octane, in addition to DJ he was also Squizz’s program director, and I presume he became Octane’s PD. And still no commercials on Octane. Since it is the only channel I listen to, I have no complaints. Except I do miss the back door “ID checks” on Squizz.

  28. suburbancowboy says:

    I have Sirius, and I like certain things about it, but they really suck as a company.
    You used to get discounts for multiple subscriptions. No more.
    They play the same music way too often.
    The technology is awful. Setting up Sirius in a home installation is a nightmare. XM has a geo-synchronous orbit. If you are getting a signal at one time of day, you will get it throughout. Sirius satellites move in a figure 8. You have to find a spot (NW exposure) that will work all day long.

    The sound quality on Sirius is awful. It is a highly compressed digital signal. XM is only slightly better. Howard 100 gets the most bandwidth, and sounds ok at best.

    Rumor has it that Howard is not going to re-sign with the company. If he leaves, I am gone. I’d rather listen to my mp3 player, or WFUV. Howard is the only thing that allows me to justify the monthly fees.

    • d0x360 says:

      Ive had both and always got better signal with sirius in the north east but i also joined for Stern and will also leave if he doesnt sign. Ive probably listened to an hour total of music on Sirius since the day Stern started.

  29. kubus_gt says:

    HD Radio, it makes paying for sat radio pointless.

    • jason in boston says:

      FM radio. Makes paying for HD radio pointless.

      HD radio is over compressed and sounds terrible. And really…who listens to commercials anymore? I thought everyone had a mp3 player and only listens to commercials on live sports or talk radio.

  30. radio1 says:

    My wife got me Sirius the Christmas right before Howard came on. Sirius itself has been nothing but responsive whenever I’ve had an issue… They’ve given me a free antenna, a free radio, 3 months free and 2 stints of 5 months for $20 in the past 1.5yrs.

    But I still can’t get over the price creep. $12.99 becomes $15.99 becomes whatever. I bought a refurbed iPod 80GB Classic for $100 a few months back… Now I listen to audiobooks, music and podcasts.

    The other thing that bothers me with Sirius are the playlists. Yeh, I got 80 channels of music- but if you listen for any of those stations for an extended amount of time; say 6 or 8 hours– you hear repeats…

    I will miss the NFL coverage come the fall… Perhaps I’ll give em a sob story in September or take them up on one of the offers they constantly send me since I’ve let my membership lapse.

  31. d0x360 says:

    From what I understand the reason they cant simply merge accounts is due to different technology. Yes both are satellite radio but the tech driving them is very different.

    They said right after the merger they were working on ways to consolidate but as long as people owned 2 different types of radios they had to support they couldnt fully mesh the systems together.

    I believe new radios are compatible just with sirius, thats whether you buy an XM or series brand. Once all the pre merger radios are gone they can start running everything on 1 system.

    Its very confusing and I know I didnt explain it well but to simplify its putting diesel in a normal gasoline engine and expecting it to work. Same concept, different tech, they cant be mixed.

  32. SphinxRB says:

    FREE Internet radio coming soon with over 1000 stations. I would never pay for radio anyhow. If XM/Sirrius keep treating there customers poorly, they will go out of business sooner than expected; they will be out soon after this internet radio comes out.

  33. vastrightwing says:

    I was on the fence for years about subscribing to Sirius until they started raising their rates, adding the “music tax” and finally “merged”. I kept reading the horror stories and decided to use Pandora instead. I just don’t see the value here. Satellite TV packages start at about $30 and they want to charge over $12/mo. for audio only (with ads on some stations)? The music/entertainment industry is the greediest ever. This is fine. I have enough mp3s saved on my hard drive and Pandora is nice.

    • Randell says:

      Interesting that peoplel who do not subscribe want to tell people about ads that do not exist.
      There are ads on stations that are not music, but then again, you CAN NOT get those on Pandora. Pandora does not offer a thrid of what Sirius does in the way of content, unless you consider music the only purpose of a radio.

  34. Kevin says:

    I’ve always been month to month with Sirius since I subscribed initially in 2004. At the time they were worth every penny anyway, but they were only $12 a month. After the merger the music selection shrunk considerably. In December of 2008 I decided to take a year off to see if the music got any better.

    I figured I was going to spent $144 over that year with them, so I bought whatever iPod was that price at the time. I think it was an 8 GB Nano. I enjoy the iPod a lot over that year and I still use it daily.

    In January of 2010 I resubscribed. I heard about 8 or 10 new songs, which I bought on iTunes and then canceled my subscription yet again. If anything, the selection has gotten worse and now monthly prices are up to $17.

    I hate that I don’t enjoy the service any more but less music for more money is just not worth paying for.

  35. dimodica1 says:

    Wow.. So many responses and so many people screwed by SiriusXM. I even wrote to Mel Karmizan, SiriusXM chairman and he even ignored my letter to him. The worse thing about this whole mess is that I actually own stock in SirusXM. So not only can’t I get a reasonable subscription but the stock is trading at only $1.00 and I paid more than that for the stock. So I lose on both ends. Thanks for so many replies.

  36. sybann says:

    Awesome. I work in terrestrial radio. ; )

    What has PISSED ME OFF about both services since the beginning is that neither allows enough bandwidth for the channels that really are for music lovers. For heaven’s sake – no one needs to here NASCAR in crystal clear audio but you can bet someone listening to Coltrane wants it to be anything but a swirly satellite mess.

    Not to mention most of the programmers are from radio to begin with and are doing a lot of the same bad crap.

  37. MikieJag says:

    Love sat radio and will never go without it. The biggest problem I had was the fact I went from XM to SIrius and could not merge accounts for anything. Let XM expire and then made the switch.
    Had to put up with XM calling me for about 4 months asking me to come back. I had to keep telling them I am back, just with Sirius…ok fast forward every couple of days same call, same offers, and just would not quit…All because they cannot offer both and just simply merge already.

    Wasn’t one of the monopoly solutions that HD and internet radio were competitors and they could in fact join?

    • Randell says:

      That was the Sirius position, BUT the NAB cried to the justice department and FCC and won.

  38. beaker says:

    XM is the worst at any type of customer service.

    I’ve been a subscriber since 2004 and they really tried to screw me the other day. I called to see if I could replace my old radio (it was having issues) and the customer service person lied to me when selling me the new one. Good thing I’m paranoid and had the call recorded. Long story short – they charged me 4x what they said they would and shipped a complete piece of crap 5 year old radio!!

    I contacted AMEX since I used my card for the transaction and they listened to the call. They said I do not have anything to worry about with the charges if they give me trouble.

    Thanks to the Consumerist website – I was able to EEB and finally got a response a few days later. They refunded the charges but refused to let me pay for the radio that I was told I was going to be getting. They said that they cannot do that even though I was lied to (I was willing to PAY what I agreed to pay). I still have and like the service but won’t be renewing unless they change their ways.

  39. golddog says:

    OK Sirius. I’ll give you that before the merger, the two companies had different birds that used two different frequencies and that even if you could reprogram them (which I’m sure you can) you’ve got 19M-ish radios out there you *can’t reprogram. I get it. Having said that, if I may…

    You could easily eliminate some of the lame channels and cross-broadcast the “Best of” channels, e.g., like you do with Raw Dog or Sirius Stars. I’m not paying an extra $6 a month for “Best of XM” b/c you made a horrible business decision and paid Oprah $50M for a channel she never shows up to. Oprah, Opie and the NHL are the best of XM??

    Your marketing dept’s heads are completely and totally up their asses. I recently bought a new vehicle that came with “Six Free Months Of XM!”. I’m a Sirius subscriber but I thought “Cool I’ll see what I’m missing”. Turns out the radio in the car – the radio that comes with EVERY MODEL of this particular car, isn’t even capable of getting satellite radio w/out an aftermarket add on. Genius! And probably false advertising, but who’s got the time.

    I’ve got two radios I pay for, and then you start charging me $3/mo for online (which is where I listen to you the most). I can grudgingly accept that b/c that’s different infrastructure costs and you promised me 128kps, up from the free 32kbps . Except I’ve yet to see 128k. Where’s my 128k bitches??

    And speaking of online, why is it I can listen to Howard Stern and other content sitting at my PC but not on the mobile app? What exactly do you think I’m going to do on my PHONE that I can’t do at my PC? Isn’t radio, satellite or terrestrial, about numbers for advertising (on the “talk” channels)? Wouldn’t you want to make it MORE convenient for me to listen? If I’m going to do anything to hurt you, like say, record the channel, remove the commercials and turn it in to a torrent, I can do that from my PC. As cool as my phone is, I can’t do that.

    Customer service is laughably horrible. I once had to make a threat (before the FCC decision re. the merger was finalized) of writing to said FCC about “is this behavior indicative of how you’re going to behave once the merger happens” just to get an $18 refund due to me.

    Stop with the fracking ads on the website every time you go there. If Jay Thomas tries to sell me a radio one more time I’m gonna lose it. Also, why do I have to click on everything three times before it loads?

    And finally, how are you not making money by now? I’ve done the math. Satellites are expensive, but not that expensive. Same with office space in Manhattan. If you need help, reply here and I’m sure we can come to an arrangement for my consulting services.

    P.S.: On a positive note, thank you for FINALLY replacing the POS cigarette adapters in the car kits. I’ve replaced at least five that have spontaneously decomposed and was happy to see in the most recent one a much less crappy model. Thank you.

  40. Fair&Balanced says:

    Why did you pay so much for XM?
    Press the number to go to cancellation and then ask to sign up for $77 a year.
    They will give you $77 a year + the music license fee and you will pay about $89 a year.
    Also tell them you want online access for nothing extra.

    It will take you about 10 minutes in total.

  41. gman863 says:

    Satellite radio jumped the shark the day the FCC allowed the merger.

    XM is turning into a joke. They merged the Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth traffic onto one channel – now it can take several minutes of listening to traffic 250 miles away before I know what’s up in Houston. On top of this, their traffic data is often stale. Once, I was stuck in a jam due to a major accident for 90 minutes before XM traffic even mentioned the incident.

    I’ve also noticed their playlist on the 80s channel has been cut back. Mark Goodman and Nina Blackwood had more music variety on MTV than they do on XM today.

  42. Pandrogas says:

    Could be worse, he could have called in for technical support.

  43. Mike says:

    I was a big fan of XM and bought a lifetime subscription when it was offered a couple (or so) years ago. After the merger I started to notice less variety on the music channels and a lot more talking on some of those same music channels. On a recent 5,000+ mile trip I had a hard time finding decent music that didn’t include reruns from from the day before. The old XM was much better for those of us who don’t listen to sports or talk radio.

  44. robbyp30 says:

    I love Sirius Satellite Radio, but I dread having to renew my subscription. They try to automatically charge you and you have to call and get your credit card taken off of file. Back when I first got the service I signed up for a year, it ended in December. I wanted to do a six month subscription to get me back into the summer for my due dates (didn’t want to be shelling an extra couple hundred bucks out near the holidays) and it was a huge mess. It’s been a headache ever since to renew that service. If Stern leaves, I think I’m gone too.

  45. peebozi says:

    i love sirius and have had it since 2004…this is simply the market forces working. nothing a free amrket solution can’t solve. simply switch to another satellite company and vote with your wallet. once they see they’ve lost $12.95 per month they’ll change their tune.

  46. biloxiboxer says:

    My free with my new truck sirius account just expired. I was offered a really good deal in the mail to come back, $77 for a year but with an asterisk to fine print that said I would also pay taxes and fees. As I did not really read that fine print (literally fine print), I thought it was a great deal and immediately called the 800 #. Everything was going great until he said the total amount would be over $100. I asked how it got so high. He said, well, there was a $11.98 royalty fee for the radio stations and a some for taxes. I said this was an obvious come on, a trick price, and that the $11.98 was really part of the price, not a true fee. I asked whether you pay the $11.98 regardless of the deal, e.g., do you pay that fee if you pay the “regular” rate? No, the royalty fee changes depending on the deal you are offered. This royalty fee is just more money they are charging me and bears no real relationship to royalty charges radio stations charge Sirius. I told them I would have purchased the service if they had not tried to con me, but I simply could not buy now. If they had just told me it was about $8/month, I would have bought it. Now, I just can’t. Sirius should stop doing this kinda thing and some agency should investigate their sales practices,