Sirius XM Radio $3.8 settlement with PA, other states
HARRISBURG, PA(WPMT) – Sirius XM Radio Inc. of New York has agreed to pay $3.8 million to the states and provide restitution to eligible consumers in a settlement with Pennsylvania, 44 other states and the District of Columbia.
The settlement resolves claims that the satellite radio company engaged in misleading advertising and billing practices. In addition to the restitution to be paid, Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office will receive $146,484, a portion of which will cover the costs of participating in the investigation and settlement. The remainder will go to the Commonwealth’s General Fund.
Attorney General Kane said that the settlement will address many problems encountered by Pennsylvania consumers, and Sirius XM will be required to implement substantial new protections for consumers.
Sirius XM also will provide restitution to eligible consumers who have complaints about the problems addressed by the settlement agreement.
The Attorneys General allege that Sirius XM engaged in misleading, unfair and deceptive acts or practices in violation of state consumer protection laws, including Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.
The 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 failure to provide timely refunds.
Under the terms of the settlement, as filed in Commonwealth Court, Sirius XM will make significant changes to its business practices, including:
• Clearly and conspicuously disclosing all terms and conditions at the point of sale, such as billing frequency, term length, automatic renewal date, and cancellation policy;
• Making no misrepresentations about the available plans in advertisements;
• Providing advance notice via mail or email about upcoming automatic renewals for plans lasting longer than six months;
• Revising the cancellation procedures to make it easier for consumers to cancel; and
• Prohibiting incentive compensation for customer service representatives based solely on “saves,” or retaining current customers who attempt to cancel.
To be considered for restitution under this settlement, consumers must file a complaint within the next 150 days for any issues with Sirius XM from July 28, 2008 to Dec. 4, 2014 that have not been previously resolved with their state Attorney General.
Attorney General Kane said Pennsylvania consumers with complaints against Sirius XM are urged to contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555.
Consumers can also contact Sirius XM directly with their complaints at www.siriusxm.com/settlementprogram