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Trouble with Sirius-XM: A Customer Service Odyssey

Like the other 19.5 million-plus subscribers to Sirius-XM, I enjoy commercial-free radio and have since 2002 when I purchased my first XM Radio.

The variety of offerings in their lineup and the outstanding audio quality were what hooked me the first time I listened.

Since then, XM and its only competitor Sirius have combined into the monopolistic Sirius-XM Radio.

Along with the good parts of the separate companies came the bad parts of the conglomeration.

To the dismay and consternation of many subscribers of Sirius-XM Radio, the company continues to use two separate customer management systems as well as two separate billing systems.

This in and of itself is not that big of a deal. Many merged corporations maintain multiple and redundant systems, like Home Depot, which until recently maintained three point-of-sale systems.

However, most corporations implement middleware that integrates the multiple systems into a unified system presenting a holistic interface to their customers and their customer service personnel alike.

Unfortunately, Sirius-XM is not one of those corporations, and as a result, any customer with billing issues that cross both systems quickly learns that the customer care call centers are incapable of rectifying their issues.

I have been in the throes of such a dilemma, which has taken over a year to resolve.

Like everyone else, I had been calling the customer care numbers seeking relief, only to find myself placed on hold repeatedly and transferred from agent to agent while attempting to explain my particular billing issue to call center agents who didn’t possess the ability to research the issues across the separated systems, a pertinent fact not shared with customers during the calls.

In my case, my first account was with XM Radio, where I never experienced a problem of any type, billing or otherwise.

After the merger which created Sirius-XM, I continued to enjoy a trouble-free experience until I purchased a new car with a built-in Sirius-enabled radio.

I called the customer care number to activate the new radio and deactivate the older XM add-on radio. All appeared to go smoothly during the call, but little did I know the trouble I had purchased for myself.

Every quarterly billing cycle since the activation of the new radio, the original costs I was quoted and had agreed to doubled, and it was being debited from my bank card.

This billing cycle I was again double-billed and spent several hours on the phone with the customer care centers going through the same song and dance, with the same results: nothing resolved.

I dug into the Sirius-XM site and located the names of the Board of Directors as well as the names and email addresses of their media relations personnel.

I applied the email address formatting to the names of the Board of Directors and composed a pointed missive to this audience as well as to the Attorneys General of Florida and New York.

Though I never received an email back from anyone I had addressed, I did receive one from the Sirius-XM Corporate Customer Relations Department that day, asking me to call them at the telephone number they provided in the email.

The two ladies I spoke with in this department are the most helpful, courteous, and effective representatives of Sirius-XM one could ask for.

These ladies had access to both systems and quickly identified the source of the problem and immediately took steps to rectify it and issue the appropriate refunds covering the entire over-billing period of the last year. The Corporate Customer Relations personnel I spoke with can be reached at 1-888-635-5142 (Select Option 3) and at Relationssxmcrt@siriusxm.com.

Both ladies I spoke with are helpful and professional, characteristics I would not ascribe to those I spoke with at the customer care call centers.

The moral of the story is, don’t give up. Instead, climb higher up the chain until you reach the people who can and will address the issues you’ve been experiencing; and don’t be afraid to give the chain an attention-grabbing yank if you need to.

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About DaveDragon

  • Bob

    I’m about to sell my car with XM and buy one with Sirius. For the reasons that you cite — they are still separate platforms, and uniting them will require half their subscribers to swap out their radios, my plan was to do this in two steps — call XM to cancel my old subscription and then call Sirius to activate the new one. Hopefully, this will avoid the problems you ran into.

  • Dave Dragon

    That may work. Be sure to have them email you a confirmation that the account was canceled, in-case you have issues going forward.
    Good Luck.

  • Joe Malitz

    Big thanks to the author. I called the toll free number with a problem I was having and a lady got on the phone and was super helpful. She fixed everything.

  • Dave Dragon

    Thats good to hear Joe. Glad you found the relief you were looking for.

  • Dave

    I just canceled by account with these yahoos. It took me and hour and a half of waiting on hold, telling the same thing to five different people, and being disconnected twice to get it done. An hour and a half! Unreal.

  • http://www.passionoftruth.blogspot.com Pam Messingham

    ….so now you don’t have xm in your car? I love my XM radio in mine…I jam to the 60′s music all the time.

  • john

    Take a tranquilizer before calling sirius customer service.

  • Peter

    I understand the inconvenience faced through calling Cust. care services,, sometimes issues become unresolved according to misunderstanding of information given to the agent, and in many cases, the agent couldn’t get to the right resolution, or even couldn’t tell when to escalate to a higher line!

  • John

    I contacted the Sirius customer service person and they were very nice but refused to cancel my service. My car is in the shop and waiting for parts from Japan as I have a Toyota. They only would suspend my service for 5 months. This will not be enough time since the parts have to come from Japan and they are behind in shipping due to the Nuclear Power Plant explosion. I will follow the above advice to take my request for cancellation of Sirius service to a higher authority.

  • Bocanuts

    Stay away from these people. Unwanted Sirius XM phone calls after free trial expires….hope this helps…

    If you do not wish to receive sales calls from SiriusXM, you may ask us
    to place your telephone number on SiriusXM’s Do Not Call (“DNC”) List.
    Please allow up to 30 days for us to remove your information from active
    telemarketing and telephone solicitation lists.

    You may make your request in writing or by telephone.
    Call SiriusXM’s Listener Care Center at 1-866-303-5603 or
    Write to: SiriusXM Radio Inc., “Do Not Call” Compliance Manager,
    P.O. Box 33174, Detroit, MI 48232.
    When you make a request be sure to include your name, your account
    number(s), and all telephone numbers you want to be included on our DNC
    list.
    If your information changes, please notify us as soon as possible.
    You will remain on our DNC List indefinitely, until you advise us
    that you wish to be removed from our DNC List.

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