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SiriusXM sued for 'trapping' subscribers in its cancellation process

SiriusXM is facing a lawsuit over its cancellation processes, which New York's attorney general says is a trap for customers.
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Posted at 4:12 PM, Dec 25, 2023

Nobody likes the annoying process of canceling a subscription, especially when you have to talk to someone to do it, and it's that reason exactly why New York's attorney general is taking action against SiriuxXM.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James accused the satellite radio company of "trapping" customers in its subscriptions by "maintaining deliberately long and burdensome cancellation processes."

James said an investigation out of her office found SiriusXM forces customers to call or chat online with an agent who "deliberately" draws out the conversation as part of the company's strategy to prevent a subscriber from canceling, telling their employees not to take "no" for an answer from customers trying to break up with the service.

"Sirius subscribers must devote inordinate amounts of time, patience, and stamina

trying to cancel a subscription they no longer wish to pay for, and that they have a legal and

contractual right to cancel anytime using a process that is simple and efficient," the lawsuit states.

It alleges this behavior amounts to "repeated and persistent fraud" and violation of New York and federal law.

But the company is pushing back, with a spokesperson saying in a statement, "Like a number of consumer businesses, we offer a variety of options for customers to sign up for or cancel their SiriusXM subscription and, upon receiving and reviewing the complaint, we intend to vigorously defend against these baseless allegations that grossly mischaracterize SiriusXM's practices."

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SiriusXM, which is headquartered in New York, had 35 million subscribers at the time of James' investigation, which was opened after hundreds of consumers allegedly reported cancellation issues to her office.

James' office points to affidavits from these consumers that allegedly prove the lengthy cancellation conversations, which SiriusXM averages takes subscribers 11.5 minutes by phone and 30 minutes online.

But the lawsuit says it often takes longer, saying more than 578,000 people trying to cancel their subscriptions by phone during 2019 and 2021 abandoned their efforts while waiting in the queue. 

"Sirius XM doesn't allow users to cancel their service in their online portal without

speaking to a customer service representative," one consumer said. "Then, when trying to speak to a customer service representative in order to cancel, the wait times are exorbitant. When I finally spoke to the first customer representative and explained that I had

been waiting nearly a half an hour, I was promptly hung up on. Which means I had

to wait again. Another 30 minutes, just to cancel a service I would have preferred to cancel online."

The lawsuit is seeking financial restitution for all impacted subscribers, including compensation for the time "SiriusXM wasted" by having consumers call to cancel.