SiriusXM Takes Away Free Subscriptions From People Who Didn’t Win Them, Internet Is Outraged

If you get something free under false pretenses, then the company contacts you to take away your prize, have you really lost anything at all? That existential question is brought to you by SiriusXM. Back during this year’s Super Bowl, the satellite radio monolith took part in a Chevy sweepstakes, giving away 375 one-year Internet subscriptions. That winners’ link and promo code circulated on deals sites and blogs a few weeks ago, and someone forgot to turn it off, meaning that a whole lot more than 375 winners used it to get free subscriptions.

People were directed to a link where they put in their e-mail addresses and a promo code, and received this message. Wouldn’t you think that you had won, too?

From:
Subject: Welcome to SiriusXM Radio
Date: September 28, 2012 9:26:45 AM EDT
To: [redacted]

Dear [redacted],

Congratulations on winning a one-year subscription to SiriusXM Internet Radio in the Chevrolet Game Time Sweepstakes! You are seconds away from enjoying over 120 channels of great SiriusXM programming, including commercial-free music, exclusive series and original shows, plus the best in sports, news, comedy and entertainment.

Your username is: [redacted]
Your password is: *****

Just go to https://www.siriusxm.com/player/ and enter your username and password to start listening. You can also listen on the SiriusXM App for iPhone(R)/iPod touch(R), Blackberry(R) and Android(TM). Download the App at http://www.siriusxm.com/mobile.

Jayna is one of the readers who was affected and wrote in. She canceled her paid SiriusXM subscription after setting up her free one because, hey, free. She writes:

About a week ago I clicked on a link for the Chevrolet Game Time Sweepstakes to win a free one-year subscription to SiriusXM.

Later that day I received the following email (found below) from SiriusXM.

Because I was under the impression that I had a free one-year subscription, I canceled my paid subscription.

Today, in attempting to log into my new account, I received an error message that my “Trial has expired.” I called customer service to find out what had happened, and was told that “bogus codes had been put out onto the internet” and that “those codes that were distributed were turned into 7-day trials.” The customer service representative told me there was nothing she could do.

I would also like to note that after the initial “Welcome to SiriusXM Radio” email from the official Sirius company email account (below), I did not receive any further notification that my one-year subscription had been downgraded to 7-days, or that my 7 day trial had expired.

Sending out official emails with details of your one-year subscription, only to do takebacks after finding out that the promotional links were posted on blogs — seems like a bad PR move for Sirius.

Except for the tiny catch where the Game Time Sweepstakes ended in February. This sounds like a programming error, and someone figured out how to exploit it almost eight months after the sweepstakes ended. SiriusXM’s mistake was letting these new potential customers

The contest is over, but the Internet outrage is just beginning. This ex-sweepstakes was popular on Slickdeals,

So, I guess them taking my info, confirming that I do indeed GET a 1 year free trial subscription and then letting me login, and THEN yanking the rug without even letting us know is OK? Where are you from?

Ever heard of 1 time use codes? This company failed, then failed at a cover-up. This is a PR no-no. Word of mouth is powerful.

Free 1-Year SiriusXM Internet Radio Trial [Slickdeals]