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Business and Economics

Zoeller: Indiana Settles With Sirius XM On Billing Issues

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December 5, 2014 — Attorney General Greg Zoeller today announced Indiana’s participation in a multi-state settlement with Sirius XM Radio Inc., in which the satellite radio company has agreed to pay $3.8 million to the states and refund customers for alleged misleading advertising and billing practices.

Zoeller is joined in the settlement by attorneys general from 44 states and the District of Columbia who allege that Sirius XM engaged in misleading, unfair, and deceptive acts or practices in violation of state consumer protection laws. In Indiana, 67 consumers filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office against Sirius XM.

“State attorneys general have a long and successful history of working together to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive business practices, and today’s settlement is one more example of that collective strength,” Zoeller said. “Indiana residents who believe they were negatively impacted by Sirius XM’s tactics should file a complaint immediately with my office.”

The states’ investigation focused on consumer complaints involving: difficulty canceling contracts; cancellation requests that were not honored; misrepresentations that the consumer’s Sirius XM service would be canceled and not renewed; contracts that were automatically renewed without consumers’ notice or consent; unauthorized fees; higher, unanticipated rates after a low introductory rate; and Sirius XM failing to provide timely refunds.

Under the terms of the settlement, an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, Sirius XM will make significant changes to its business practices. Specifically, Sirius XM agrees to:

  • Clearly and conspicuously disclose all terms and conditions at the point of sale, such as billing frequency, term length, automatic renewal date, and cancellation policy.
  • Make no misrepresentations about the available plans in advertisements.
  • Provide advance notice via mail or email about upcoming automatic renewals for plans lasting longer than six months.
  • Revise the cancellation procedures to make it easier for consumers to cancel.
  • Prohibit incentive compensation for customer service representatives based solely on “saves,” or retaining current customers who attempt to cancel.

In addition to the $3.8 million that Sirius XM will pay the states, Sirius XM also will provide restitution to eligible consumers who have complaints about the problems addressed in the settlement.

Any Indiana consumer with a complaint against Sirius XM and its business practices should file a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office at www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 800-382-5516 by May 1, 2015 to be considered for restitution. Consumers can also file a complaint directly with Sirius XM at www.siriusxm.com/settlementprogram or by mail at PO Box 33059, Detroit, MI 48232-5059.

A portion of the approximately 400,000 Hoosiers who may have subscribed to Sirius XM could be eligible for refunds. The refund amounts will vary on a case-by-case basis.

As its portion of the settlement, Indiana will receive $77,240.85 to be deposited in the Consumer Protection Fund for use in future consumer protection enforcement, education, litigation or restitution.

The following states participated in the settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio (lead), Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Source: IN Attorney General’s office

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