XM Pretends To Let Customers Cancel

UPDATE: XM Radio Executive Contact Info

Some XM Radio subscribers protesting the Opie and Anthony suspension hang up the phone thinking they’ve canceled, but after calling back to verify, it turns out they’ve only been given a 1-6 month credit, writes reader Justin:

On Wednesday I called and canceled my XM subscription after finding out Opie and Anthony were suspended. This afternoon (Thursday) I read on a message board that subscribers who also called to cancel were finding out their accounts were not canceled. Instead some were given the 1-6 month credit they turned down and others found out their accounts were not flagged for cancellation until May 26 (XM’s shareholder meeting is May 25th, coincidence?).

Sure enough, when I called XM customer support to verify my cancellation I was told my account was granted a 3 month credit on Wednesday instead of the cancellation I demanded. After being transferred to the cancellation department I was hung up while on hold waiting for them to pick up. It took one more call to find out my account had been canceled around the time I was on hold (hung up on) waiting for the cancellation department.

So if any readers canceled their XM service they need to call XM again and verify. Otherwise they may be in for a surprise in a few months when XM monthly charges start back up.

Others writing on an Opie & Anthony fan forum, Wackbag, say the same happened to them.

It’s almost as if XM hired AOL’s old retention specialists. — BEN POPKEN

MORE: State Of The XM Radio Backlash thread
XM Subscribers Destroy Radios To Protest Opie And Anthony Suspension
XM Radio Subscribers Are Pretty Darn Ticked Off


Edit Your Comment

  1. Falconfire says:

    Note I feel really dirty in posting this since well while a personal friend of Opie and Anthony as well as a guy they used to have come on their show, Big Kev, I was never a huge fan of their show, or their kind of humor.

    http://www.wackbag.com is a O&A forum site thats pretty much devoted it’s self t taking down XM now. They have links to the SEC and other sites that their members have been calling to relay what XM is doing right now in not let them cancel out of protest.

  2. dvddesign says:

    Wow, I bet Sirius is salivating over this acquisition now. Bleeding subscribers, suspending hosts, promoting censorship. Who wouldn’t want to buy XM?

    While I am not an O&A fan or a subscriber to XM, I fully endorse cancelling XM out of their desire to censor their programming. Unless they had a specific clause in their contract that prohibited extremely disturbing content, O&A did nothing wrong. Their forced apology was pointless and frankly, O&A had every right to mock it and question it.

    Disturbing content such as heard on O&A is to be expected on a pay service. In fact, I’d wonder what benefits there are in subscribing to such a service if it sounded as squeaky clean and boring as terrestrial talk radio can.

  3. comedian says:

    Quick, somebody get Vincent Ferrari!

    Cancel. The. Account.

  4. AcidReign says:

    …..The inference that XM hired AOL retention folk is more likely than you think. On AOL radio, we subscribers have had a slate of XM channels for several years now. There’s definitely a link between the two companies.

    …..My number one gripe on AOL right now is that they are now inserting spam into the text of PAID SUBSCRIBERS’ emails. Bastards.

  5. sleze69 says:

    Boy am I glad that Howard chose to go with Sirius…

  6. rbb says:

    Hmmm… Maybe I should call in and threaten to cance in the hopes of getting a 6 month extension. That wold just about balance out the extra $3 a month I’ve been forced to pay to get O&A for “free.” O&A should have remained a pay channel. the bulk of the XM listeners should never have been forced to subsidize O&A and their listeners.

  7. Buford T. Justice says:

    @RBB: I agree with you. I pay for HBO; I certainly don’t expect to see my cable rates jacked up so it’s included for everyone! They should’ve never been included in the platform.

    I was an initial O&A subscriber. In the beginning, Hugh Panero (XM honcho) went on the show spouting off about how XM was going to be hands off and leave O&A to do as they pleased. Now? Apparently not.

    The amazing thing to me is that XM is a SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE. These are NOT the public airwaves! I PAY FOR THIS! (or paid, I have now cancelled). All the right-wing idiots screaming their heads off A.) Don’t have XM and B.) Wouldn’t subscribe anyway!

    It never ceases to amaze how we have much worse on even basic cable than what was said on the show. Also, it’s not as though anyone made a massive outcry over this. It wouldn’tve had any attention at all had XM not made an issue of it.

  8. Red_Eye says:

    All I keep hearing over and over is about how your paying for content you want, that you don’t want censorship. In the end, any publicly supported or owned entity is going to bow to monetary pressure. Period. Even Google the company of ‘do no evil’ must no bow to their board and its goal is ‘make money’ the two ideals are mutually exclusive.

    I ya’ll are so high on the ideals then do something to support the growing podcast community. Podcasts are unregulated and in most cases unsponsored.

    Think O&A are completely talentless idjits? Think you can do better, then make your own podcast!

  9. @Buford T. Justice: It needs to be said, again, that O&A did not get suspended for what they aired. They got suspended for insulting their employer. Even shock jocks need to have a minimum of professionalism, especially when it comes to the people signing their paychecks.

    I’ve been an XM subscriber since day 1. After years of seeing my favorite terrestrial stations either go out of business or turn into homogenated crap, satellite radio (as the Sirius tag line goes) is the best radio on radio. If XM subscribers are going to forget how very lucky they are that XM is even an option–it took years of lobbying Congress and the FCC to get the broadcast rights and hundreds of millions of dollars in start up costs to build the studios, hire the staff, and launch satellites–then fine, go back to terrestrial radio.

  10. Indecision says:

    @Red_Eye: “All I keep hearing over and over is about how your paying for content you want, that you don’t want censorship. In the end, any publicly supported or owned entity is going to bow to monetary pressure.”

    And what do you think all these people canceling is supposed to be? One of the huge draws of XM is the lack of advertising, right? The idea being that XM isn’t beholden to its advertisers, but rather to its subscribers. Now, its subscribers are holding them accountable via their best possible means — their money.

    So what, again, is the problem here?

  11. matt1978 says:

    Make your own podcast? What a not great idea! The argument here is against O & A getting removed, not we can do better. If I wanted to waste the most time on a computer, I guess making a podcast would do the trick.

  12. axiomatic says:

    @Red_Eye: You most defiantly should challenge your employer if they are being idiots. I’m so sick of people towing the company line in the face of corporate scrutiny. Without the consumer, what is a company good for? In this case, XM put their scruples in front of their subscribers desires. The consumer sought out XM as a uncensored service that runs as a subscription so you don’t have to worry about censor. To then turn around and censor content is completely adverse to the reason XM exists.

    Since XM is primarily a music service, I will let Pennywise (Punk Band) say what should be said:

    “I say F#@& authority
    Silent majority
    Raised by the system
    Now it’s time to rise against them
    We’re sick of your treason
    Sick of your lies
    F#@& no, we won’t listen
    We’re gonna open your eyes”

  13. dvddesign says:


    I might be tempted to do such a thing if 95% of all podcasts (including good ones like TWiT) weren’t all Skype conversations.

    If I’m going to enjoy programming, I want a degree of professionalism in the production. Otherwise, I’d just spend my time listening to prank phone calls and watching crappy YouTube videos of kids pranking each other. O&A may be juvenile, but at least it’s a slick production. There’s this MASSIVELY wide gap in production values where people with a headset mic they bought for their WoW account doing a podcast vs a professional production.

    Writing and pre-production would probably be the #1 production issue most podcasters ignore. Free form spewing of your opinions and non-sequiturs bores very quickly.

  14. kalikidtx says:

    contact the BBB (www.bbb.org) about your accounts not being actually cancelled, call the news agencies, thats so BS!

  15. royal72 says:

    can you hear the shuffle of opportunistic lawyers preparing a class action lawsuit too?

  16. Arblade says:

    My Radios were canceled and deactivated on 5/15 suddenly today they are active again??? I called first time was told it was a special offer to get 2 free weeks, then when I wanted to refuse i was put on hold forever. I hung up and called back to be told they didn’t know why my radios were still active the account shows closed. Something is Fishy in Washington.

  17. raindog says:

    Making a podcast is actually pretty easy, and doesn’t take that much time. Decide what you’re gonna talk about, fire up Audacity, hit record and start talking.

    Making a podcast that will hold millions of people’s attention, where the hosts have years or decades of chemistry and know what works or what doesn’t work to make their audience happy, is hard. Really, really hard. Ask all the thousands of would-be Howards and O&A’s out there putting their adolescent “shock jock” antics up on iTunes and elsewhere. Most of them have audiences in the dozens, never mind thousands or millions.

    XM announced over a year ago, when podcasting was still The Next Big Thing, that they were going to start a podcast channel where they’d air the most popular podcasts (who would play ball with XM, that is.) You never hear about that idea anymore.

    There’s a reason for that: podcasting is like those Xmas letters you get every year from distant relatives, with pictures of their kids and dogs and whatnot. It doesn’t mean much to most of the people in your family, and even less to someone outside it. Substitute “niche interest group” for “family” and you have the explanation for why podcasting can’t replace XM…. or vice versa.

    That said, O&A could very well draw record numbers of podcast listeners if they made podcasts each day of their suspension. The trouble is, it may do more to further legitimize podcasting than to help their careers. They might get away with it because they got suspended, not fired…. someone like Imus doing it would just look desperate.

    Anyway, it’s disappointing but not too surprising to hear about XM’s possibly illegal retention tactics. I hope it brings about an SEC investigation.

  18. Jim Treacher says:

    Comedians insult their employers all the time. Letterman has made a career out of it. By muzzling O&A, XM just looks bad.

  19. The Walking Eye says:

    I cancelled XM at the beginning of the year, and they made it harder/more frustrating than it should have been. I was on the month to month plan, and it was a luxury I could no longer have while a student. So, that’s what I told them and they first offered me a free month, to which I said no thanks. Then two free months, and then three free months. I declined and said to just cancel my account, and reiterated that it was a luxury I couldn’t have and that I wasn’t going to have time to listen to it anymore. I understand the retention attempts, but it still irritated me a little to be asked and have the ante upped three times.

    During spring break, I tried it out and the radio was still receiving a signal even though I hadn’t paid for over 3 months. By the end of the week they had shut it off, but I wonder if they tried to charge my card (billing addy changed so it wouldn’t have gone through) anyway.

  20. Indecision says:

    @The Walking Eye: They wouldn’t have tried to charge your card again, because there’s no way they can tell if you’re tuning in or not. Your radio can’t send info back to them; it only passively receives the signal.

    Activating and deactivating radios works by sending codes through the satellites with information on which radio the code is for, and what it should do — add or remove a station from the lineup, activate itself, deactivate itself, etc.

    When you cancel, they’ll blast out cancellation signals for your radio pretty often for a few weeks. After that, they’ll still send out those signals periodically “just in case,” but not nearly as often. That’s why your radio worked for almost a week.

  21. The Walking Eye says:

    @Indecision: Ah, interesting, thanks!

  22. Bay State Darren says:

    flagged for cancellation until May 26 (XM’s shareholder meeting is May 25th, coincidence?)
    God I hope some smart XM shareholder brings this up in the Q&A portion of the meeting after the subscription numbers are presented.