If you’ve never had SiriusXM satellite radio, you might not be familiar with their station “’40s on 4.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: songs from the first half of this century that your grandparents or great-grandparents might sing along with. You might assume that this sort of station wouldn’t be popular enough in 2014 to prompt a public outcry when it’s taken away. You would be wrong. [More]
Here’s what Ted wanted. He already has an XM Radio subscription, and he wanted to buy a replacement radio. His was broken, but Best Buy carries them, and Best Buy stores are everywhere. It couldn’t be that bad, could it? Just stop in, exchange money for radio, leave, walk out. Not so fast, there, Ted: Best Buy needs your name, address, and phone number before they can sell you a radio. And they have no idea why.
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.
Satellite radio wonder-twins Sirius and XM have been together for three years now. Customers often whine to us: why can’t we get multi-subscription discounts when they subscribe to both Sirius and XM. It’s all the same company, isn’t it? Offering discounts would have made too much sense, and was therefore impossible. Until now!
If you were signing up for a plan called the “Sirius Everything Plan,” don’t you think that it would include…well, everything? At least, all of the programming that new car owners get to sample with their trial subscription. When Chris renewed his SiriusXM subscription for his new car, nothing on the paperwork led him to believe that he wasn’t selecting a different subscription from what he already had. Yet he did. Because at Sirius, “everything” isn’t everything.
Bruin likes XM satellite radio. Well, the service. Not the customer service. The confusion and incompetence that he encountered while trying to simply get the account permissions stream radio programs online was stunning. He lost his service, was charged an erroneous $480, and put him on endless holds. Until that one magical representative showed up who fixed everything and helped XM keep Bruin as a customer.
Olivia recently wrote in to share her story of success in sending an executive e-mail carpet bomb to Sirius/XM Sattelite Radio. She writes that the company has been billing her credit card for $44.79 every three months since the middle of 2008, even though her original subscription came from a gift card, and she never authorized payments from her credit card. Should she have noticed this? Yes. Should Sirius have billed her when she made it clear that they were not to charge her? Uh, no.
Next time your satellite radio goes on the fritz, use the following magic number to solve your Sirius XM problems…
Sirus-XM charges for access to its Sirius Music Player, but for the past few days, some customers can’t get it to work. One of them in this forum says it only connects after Howard Stern is over, and speculates that some cost-cutting measures have reduced available bandwidth, leading to locked-out customers. In another thread customers are complaining that popular third-party streaming radio services have been sent cease-and-desist letters from Sirius, further limiting access to streaming Sirius programming online. Naturally, Sirius-XM hasn’t responded to customer queries about the issue.
According to the NYT, Sirius XM owes $175 Million by the end of February and it may not be able to pay up. Bankruptcy may very well be in the cards for the Satellite Radio super-organism. The article cites a failure to “to win over many younger listeners” and the general economic downturn.
XM/Sirius have (temporarily?) canceled two punk rock stations, Fungus 53 and Sirius Punk, and are redirecting listeners to a 24-hour station “dedicated to Australian hard rock act AC/DC.” We’ve been told by readers that this is a temporary promotion and happens all the time, to which we ask, wtf? XM/Sirius sometime cancels real programming channels to run paid-for promotions? Do you get a refund on those channels, or what? [Punknews.org] (Thanks to Craig!)
Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of Sirius-XM. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new anti-consumer practices. To seek out new revenue streams and crowd out new competitors. To boldly safeguard the dangerous monopoly granted last night by the FCC.
What does the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger mean for XM customers? Well, according to one customer service rep, it means mean prices are going to roughly double in May. Here’s what she said to one of our tipsters:
This is strictly confidential, but all the paperwork is signed and ready to go, and XM has fully acquired Sirius Radio. Come May, there will be a substantial price increase for XM Radio, as it will, in June or so, host all the Sirius channels. It would be best to simply extend your XM plan as we will honor your current contract price per month before we begin hosting the Sirius stations.
The tipster said he believed she said the price was going to double. Perhaps the customer service rep just wanted to score a renewal, but if true, it would certainly at least be ironic considering when the DOJ approved the deal was they said, “the evidence did not show that the merger would enable the parties to profitably increase prices to satellite radio customers.” However, reader comments on this post and this post over at Orbitcast say this customer service rep is full of pure baloney.
The DOJ has approved a merger between Sirius and XM satellite radio, ruling that there wasn’t enough evidence to show that it would result in higher prices for consumers. We’ll see. [OrbitCast]
Reader Travis would like to purchase an XM radio from Best Buy. Sadly for him, Best Buy refused to sell him the radio without first learning his phone number. Travis does not want to share his phone number with Best Buy, therefore Travis has no radio.
The FCC seeks public comment on proposed XM-Sirius merger. Namely, what might the common people think about repealing a 1997 FCC ordinance specifically forbidding such a merger…
In an effort to make our self-imposed job of nicknaming America’s CEOs easier, Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin took Sirius’ annual shareholder meeting as an opportunity to announce that Sirius “sucked less” than XM radio. Mel’s exact words were, “We suck less.”
To be perfectly clear, this has nothing to do with the recent Opie and Anthony dust-up. That being said, it suddenly seemed relevant to the future of satellite radio, so we thought we’d post the news. Again, they already canceled. It’s not over Opie and Anthony. Ok, on to the news.