XM Radio Keeps Billing After Customer Pays In Full, Shuts Him Off For Non-Payment

XM Radio has their head in the clouds. They accepted payment in full for a year’s subscription from Pete, then kept billing him. Eventually they shut him off for non-payment, and now refuse to refund his money. Pete writes:

I hope you will print my letter on your site. I had some billing trouble with XM Radio. I paid a year’s subscription in full. XM acknowledged that I paid my bill in full, but they kept turning off my service for non-payment. They also raised my subscription rate 2 months after I signed up and paid. They then indicated that they would refund my year’s subscription when I complained loudly enough. They reneged on the refund. They also did not follow through on getting the billing issue clarified. As I received no help at all, I sent the following letter to the management team and the head of the Customer Service Division. I have not received so much as a form letter in response. I guess they have been too busy discussing merger strategies and keeping Bob Dylan happy…

Sure, Pete. We’ll print your letter. Read the letter Pete send to XM Radio, inside.

Pete writes (to XM Radio):


XM Radio
Mr. Joe Zarella
1500 Eckington Place, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Re: Account # 1-xxxxxxxx

Dear Mr. Zarella,

My wife and I purchased a vehicle this past year in which your Service was provided on a 3 month trial. Very happy with it, we signed up for a year of service. I paid by credit card over the phone in the amount of $144.48. August arrived and my wife paid an additional $11+ on a bill sent by XM. I then received a bill in the amount of $144.48 in September. I called XM and your customer service indicated it was a mistake and that it can be ignored, which I did. I then got another bill in the amount of $72.24 in October. I again called your company, who said (again) that I should ignore this bill. November came, and because I did not pay the $72.24 bill, my service was canceled. I called back to get the service turned and to get to the bottom of the issue. Your representative indicated that I will not receive any more bills and he would reinstate the service. Well, he did not reinstate the service, and I had to call back a couple of days later to again get my radio turned on (wherein they first pointed out that I needed to make payment). I received another bill for $72 in November. I called back to 1-800-XM-Radio, the representative (William Gorhm) and his supervisor (Tony Bennison) indicated that I can be assured that I would not be responsible for the bill and that he would somehow red flag this issue and that I should ignore. Finally, I received a bill over this past December weekend in the amount of $72.24 and a note that my service was scheduled to be canceled for non payment. Frustrated by the lack of attention, not to mention a concern that personal credit issues may arise, I canceled my subscription December 16th.

I find it inane that I paid up front for the year subscription, but was later told I was not charged the correct amount. When I order from Amazon or Eddie Bauer, if there is an error, it is the company’s fault, not mine-and they certainly do not come back and say “well, we meant to charge you this much…”. The rep told me the total cost of the service and I paid I was told the charge was. I believe you owe me the $11 that was paid in August. I should not have to pay for your training issues…

More importantly, I paid for a year of service, I always explained to your reps, and yet I continued to be billed, and finally had service canceled because of non payment. Yet, every time I talked to someone, and transferred to a manager, there was never any hand-off, no background provided, just an attitude that it is “not really my problem”. So I had to explain the situation again and again and again.

All your representatives were very clearly following the company line in that they would not (could not?) go “outside the box” and resolve my recurring billing, but it was clear that there was no clear standards for my issue, only the ability to transfer me to another department. I spoke with Simon Matty (1-800-528-5959 x47278) on 12/16/06, he indicated that XM would refund my entire subscription fee. I agreed that this seemed like the right thing to do, and he transferred me to the department that closes accounts (he indicated he would warm transfer and make them aware of our conversation-he didn’t’). They (Retention Department), it turns out, were not willing to do anything for me short canceling my service (all the while telling me how they were willing to “waive” any penalty for cancellation). I asked the supervisor (Tracy N Morgan) to call Mr. Matty, she refused and said that she could did not have the ability to make outbound calls! It is now clear that Simon Matty transferred me simply to put me off, and that Ms. Morgan did not have the ability, resources, or the interest to do the right thing.

The bottom line is this. Since I have become a subscriber (and paid in full), I have received a bill from you for the last 6 months. I have had my service cut off. I have been billed a new rate after I had paid in full. Finally, I was told I was going to receive a full refund by your representative, but another rep said that was not possible. Your company has not followed through on anything it said it would. I would like you to refund my subscription in full, as your representative indicated you would.

I have had both Sirius and XM Radio, and prefer your programming over theirs. It is too bad that I have this vehicle and that the satellite radio is going to go unused ( I drive 100 miles a day). I am aware that there are much more important issues in life than having commercial free radio. I would think, however, that in the life of a company, the most important issue is a happy and satisfied customer-a customer who sees the value of your product. It is clear that your company doesn’t understand this.


Pete A

Acct #1-xxxxxxxx

Maumee, OH 43537

email address


cc: Mr. Nate Davis

Sounds like XM has some work to do. —MEGHANN MARCO
(Photo: Kables)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Katharine says:

    We have been considering getting a commerical free service and now I know which one to avoid. I hope they step up to the plate and take care of his issues.

    You would think with all the problems they have they would want to keep customers.

  2. rbb says:

    Pete –

    What kind of vehicle do you have?

    Speaking from experience, it is no big deal to swap satellite receiver modules in a Volkswagen. There is plenty of information on the module location in the forums at vwvortex.com And, there is a thread for people wanting to swap modules (i.e., XM to Sirius and vice versa).

    If you don’t have a VW, then just do a bit of googling to find out if the swap is possible.

  3. RapperMC says:

    My guess is that he just has a funny voice or something. Otherwise, none of this makes sense to me.

  4. Voyou_Charmant says:

    When i signed up for my XM, they were nice enough to charge me for the first quarter year of service, even though i specified only monthly billing and was actually told, by the person on the phone the amout being charged was $XX.XX (whatever the amout should have been).

    After the payment posted, i called and asked why it was so much and they told me i had been charged for the first quarter year.

    I explained that i not only did not ask for that, i had been quoted a different amount. The lady couldn’t care less. Then asked if i wanted to add an additional account and get a free XM radio…. um, no. I dont.

  5. WindowSeat says:

    My Mother is going through a similar problem with XM, I’ve overheard a couple conversations with their CSRs and they’re not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

  6. mrcool1122 says:

    You’re not going to any choice between XM and Sirius pretty soon: they’re merging.

  7. muddgirl says:

    This is a lesson. When you receive a bill, and the CSR says to ignore it, don’t ignore it! Don’t pay it either, but ask that the bill be reissued showing the credit in your name and the reason for the credit. Then, you have documentation that the CSR was actually doing his or her job.

  8. southie says:

    I’m sure this problem will only compound now that XM/Sirius have decided to merge. Which is irritating, much like the Cingular/AT&T mergers and name changes.

  9. Coder4Life says:

    I think when you run into these types of problems with companies and they don’t understand why your problem.

    You should be able to sue them for a certain amount like $5000 at a time, for not fixing the problem and causing inconviences.

    This is rediculous, obviously they have a glitch in the system, but they are not willing to fix the problem. No wonder they have so many customers quitting their service. It went up from last year as I heard.

    So maybe the XM & Sirius merger is not a good thing, with this type of a problem they would probably just cancel your account with the merger and say whats another customer. Someone else will come around.

  10. Jayski says:

    I have 4 radios active with XM and the billing is ALWAYS a disaster. No matter how many times I call and try to get issues straightened out, it is never done. I end up with random radios being shut off, random charges to my CC (Auto-Bill)…
    I call and pitch my case to 12 people before I end up with threatening to cut my ALL my service and “Poof” it magically gets fixed foor that moment.

    I like XM but their Billing and Customer Service is abysmal at best. Now that Nascar is gone, as soon as my Subs end, I will be moving to Sirius.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have also recently had a similar problem with XM CSR. My XM service was shut off 7 days ago and I have been on the phone with them everyday trying to reinstate the service. Why I am doing this is still beyond my comprehension. The first CSR I spoke with stated that they had contacted me, which is completely untrue, and that I asked them to discontinue service. The CSR then stated that they had credited my account, which is another LIE. I would not recommend this service to any body and will never do business with XM again.

  11. mopar_man says:

    You should be able to sue them

    Ah yes. That’ll solve everything.

  12. Sudonum says:

    Was it just me or did anyone else have a hard time reading this letter and trying to figure out what was going on. In starting the second paragraph the writer states

    “I find it inane that I paid up front for the year subscription, but was later told I was not charged the correct amount.”

    Where did that come from? Nowhere in the previous paragraph did I see anyting indicating that an XM CSR stated that he had been undercharged. I gave up trying to follow it after that. Perhaps XM management did as well. Which is a shame because regardless of the way it’s stated, it’s obvious that someone taking the time in this day and age to write a complaint letter via snail mail does indeed have an issue that needs to be dealt with. Upon receiving this letter someone from XM should have pulled up the account history and called Pete.

    BTW, I have been subscribing to XM for over 2 years now with 2 vehicles and have had no issues. (knock on wood).

  13. Terminixsux says:

    I know I won’t be signing up for XM. Then again, given the current situation vis-a-vis the merger, I wouldn’t sign up now anyway.

  14. I’ve had no problems with XM in the three years I’ve been a subscriber except for dropped calls the two or three times I’ve had to contact their customer service department. I have two units: the Polk reference tuner and a built-in receiver in my Volkswagen.

    Their website sucks, and I still have problems listening to streaming audio, but having the radio in the car is worth the occasional headache.

  15. magellan says:

    GM sells a converter to switch your XM into a Sirius compatible radio.
    I’ve had Sirius for 4 years and never had a billing problem.

    And as to the merger, no one is going to have to switch hardware. You will, according to Mel Karmazin, be able to get all the channels on current hardware. Obviously there will be some consolidating of channels, how many country channels can one person handle? But XM will be able to get Howard and the NFL. Just like Sirius will be able to get baseball etc..

    If anyone gets Satellite radio from here on out, it should be Sirius. If Sirius wasn’t heading in the right direction, why would Mel be tagged to run the post merger company?

  16. theDevilsDue says:

    He paid by credit card. If it were me, I’d be contacting them…

  17. sniggity says:

    My friend does their website, I will ask him to take a look at this site. He has a good deal of pull there and I will make sure he gets this link.

  18. radiofree says:

    Now that XM and Sirius are attempting to merge, and the U.S. Congress is involved, it wouldn’t hurt to get this info to the appropriate trade or telecom committee dealing with this. It may not solve the problem, but it could bring to the attention of Mr. Karmazin that said merger might not rain the benefits on the people he says it will.

  19. Scott says:

    I actually had a reversed situation with XM. I got a radio, had it for a few months and then decided I didn’t want it anymore. I called to cancel and they offered me 3 free months. I accepted but once the 3 months were up, they never billed me again until I added a another radio to my account about 6 months into my 3 free months.

  20. westernmass says:

    I am currently going through a very similar experience as the one outlined. What I find very frustrating is that I have yet to speak with a CSR who speaks passable english. I can’t understand what they are saying and I don’t think they really understand what I am saying.

    I also had an issue before where one of the receivers I have was not working properly. It took my multiple phone calls (one lasting more than 2 hours where I was transferred multiple times) to learn what I had to do in regard to my warranty.

    I enjoy the XM programing greatly and I am looking forward to listening to MLB this season, but the customer service is driving me crazy.

  21. rustychiefs says:

    I am going through the same thing as you. Instead of buying a whole year, I did mine in quarterly intervals. Yet I would get a bill every month for the 3 month price. I would call them and get fixed monthly. I added a second radio to my account and then would get 2 bills monthly for the 3 month price. They refused to fix my issue one time and said that I was disconnected for non payment. I love the radio content, but I hate the customer service BS. I dropped them like a bad habit(and will not pay the extra I was charged). I am exploring the option of IPods now where I can still listen to uncensored music(of my choice) and with no monthly fee.

  22. joechandler says:


    I have had the same experiance. In 2002 I purchased a new pickup. I purchased ONE year of service. I paid cash for it. I traded in the pickup after 9 months. In 2006 I started getting bills from XM on a truck I didn’t even own!

    If you read the XM agreement, it DOES state that they will automatically continue to bill you after your term expires unless YOU notify them. This is ridiculus. I signed 13 pieces of paper that day, and the last form I was worried about reading was the XM Agreement.

    I have been told several times from XM billing that it is resolved but I still keep getting bills. It seems the best way to get this resolved is to email listenercare@xmradio.com. I was told the upper management looks at the emails that come in through this email address.

    All I can say is get it in writing. Even if you email this email address

    • Anonymous says:

      I sent the following letter to XM Radio, requesting removal of a charge they applied that I did not authorize. Not only did I send it to the email address XM says to send to on their website (listercare@xmradio.com), but I looked up who the senior management was at XM/Sirius (CEO, COO, Sales/Mktg SVP, etc.) and found that the logic XM/Sirius uses in their email system is first letter of first name followed by entire last name and sent the letter to both @xmradio.com and @siriusradio.com for each name. The @xmradio.com emails were returned unsent, but the @siriusradio.com went through! This morning I received a call from XM Corporate indicating they got my email and completely removed the charge from my account and sent an email confirmation to me as proof (upon my request. I figured I’d post this to help the MANY people I see are having similar issues and feel there’s no possible solution. The execs you can send emails to include: mkarmazin@siriusradio.com, sgreenstein@siriusradio.com, jmeyer@siriusradio.com and daltman@siriusradio.com. Here’s the letter I sent:

      To Whom It May Concern:

      Three years ago I signed up (over the phone) for a 3-year subscription for both of my cars (radio ID’s: XXXXX and XXXXX), paying in advance. My 3 year commitment expired and I was debating on whether to renew, but had not decided yet. Today I received 2 invoices for $34.05, indicating a past due amount. I called your customer service to understand what the charge was for and was told that because I did not call to cancel my 3-year subscription, it automatically renewed and was shut off because of non-payment. I was told that it was my responsibility to go to your website to understand the terms and conditions, which indicate I needed to call to cancel.

      I am disputing the charge and would like it removed from my account and not sent to collection, in that I never signed, nor agreed to, an automatic renewal. I signed for a 3-year plan and expected that at the end of my commitment, I would not have service if I did not renew, no different than a magazine subscription.

      I asked to get escalated to a supervisor (Will -employee #47809), who told me that he was the furthest I could escalate to and that I should’ve gone on your website to be familiar with a term and condition that required me to physically call to cancel my subscription. When I asked told him how people would be expected to do that if they did not have internet or a working computer, he told me I/they would need to go to the library to access your website. When I asked for a call back from his manager, he told me it was unlikely I’d get a call.

      I am outraged that this has happened and planned to re-subscribe in due time, but have serious doubt about it now, learning that this is how you treat a customer who had faith to sign and pay for 3 years in advance. I would greatly appreciate it if you would acknowledge removal of this charge, in that I do not want to have to deal with collection disputes and other time-consuming/costly effort to defend myself. After Googling to see if there was anyone who had this same problem, and how they got it resolved, I was appalled to find this is a BIG issue and not uncommon. Please prove them wrong and waive this charge.
      I hope this has been helpful to you! Good luck!

  23. xmlcr2008 says:

    I work for XM and I do know that sometimes the billing is messed up but for the most it is very simple

    Monthly $12.95
    Quarterly $38.85
    Semi-Annually $77.70
    1yr $142.45
    2yr $271.95
    3yr $359.64
    4yr $471.95
    5yr $599.40

    Activation fee $14.99

    Plus and state and local taxes and if a bill is sent there is a $2.00 invoice fee. The invoice fee and the activation fee can not be waived. So if you do have a problem with your bill when the automotive system comes on press 44901 and that will get u someone in my department which is activations, billing, and online support.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I paid XM in full for 36 months service to a car with a 36 month lease; the lease was up 4/02/09 along with the subscription. The car was returned 2 months early and my new car had a free 6 month subscription to Sirius XM which began in March. XM is billing me $25.02 for 2 months service coveriing a period after my subscription expired. I have called twice and told them I refuse to pay for something I never received, but they refuse to cancel the charge because I did not cancel my subscription which had expired. I asked to be transferred to a higher authority but was told they couldn’t do that. Subsequent e-mails to customer care requesting the phone number or name of someone higher keep coming back telling me to call the same people I have already spoken with. I notified Sirius to cancel me after the 6 months was up, and explained why, but they said the merger is not complete and there was nothing they could do. XM couldn’t care less if they lose a customer