When satellite radio providers Sirius and XM merged almost half a decade ago, consumers and regulators feared that the combined company would begin to act like a fearsome monopoly with a stranglehold on the entire satellite radio market. Not quite. They’re still acting as separate companies working together to confuse the hell out of their customers. Emily’s family are longtime XM subscribers who bought a car with a Sirius receiver, assuming that since it’s all the same company, the services are interchangeable. No, not even close.
Buz uses his credit union’s bill pay service to pay all of his bills. Normally, this works out pretty well for him: none of the companies he regularly sends money to have a problem with it. Trying to pay for his satellite radio with anything but a credit or debit card just results in invoicing fees and frustration.
Brian said last year a Sirius XM representative assured him his subscription wouldn’t automatically renew, but he found out recently that his account did auto-renew and he owes for the past year. The company won’t refund him and simply points out that its terms and conditions revealed his account would auto-renew.
The new “premium” (their word) iPhone app from Sirius XM will cost $2.99 a month for customers who aren’t already subscribers. It also doesn’t include Howard Stern, MLB Play-by-Play, NFL Play-by-Play and Sirius Nascar Radio. Sirius blames licensing issues for most of the missing content, but not for the absence of Howard Stern, about which it won’t comment.
Ryan pointed us to an article on Orbitcast about a rumored fee hike by Sirius XM. The increases appear to be for services that aren’t strictly protected by the FCC agreement, which is why they would legally be able to do this despite promises that they wouldn’t raise rates for 36 months after the merger.
This week, Sirius XM began consolidating its channels. In reality, this mostly meant jettisoning XM channels wherever there was a tenuous overlap with something Sirius already offered, which is bad news for anyone with a favorite station on XM who woke up Wednesday morning to find it missing. Alex wrote in to tell us that the four Spanish music channels have been condensed to one without regard to genre, and that the uncensored “urban music” station Hot Jamz has been cleaned up, rechristened “The Heat,” and now leans toward radio-friendly R&B. The Motley Fool suggests that the new lineup may drive people to downgrade their subscription—it’s “an incentive to downgrade to the cheaper plan that costs $6 less a month and lets users cherry-pick 50 stations.”