NY Attorney General Sues SiriusXM Over Subscription Practices

NY attorney general sues SiriusXM
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NY attorney general sues SiriusXM
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Photo Credit: SiriusXM

New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced the state is suing SiriusXM Radio for “trapping consumers in subscriptions and maintaining deliberately long and burdensome cancellation processes.” Here’s the latest.

An investigation by the Office of the Attorney Genereal (OAG) found that SiriusXM forces customers to call or chat online with an agent to cancel a subscription, then draws out those interactions to try and prevent cancellations.

The OAG says SiriusXM trains its agents not to accept ‘no’ for an answer when customers try to cancel their subscriptions. Attorney General James is seeking restitution, penalties, and disgorgement from SiriusXM for violating New York business laws.

“Having to endure a lengthy and frustrating process to cancel a subscription is a stressful burden no one looks forward to, and when companies make it hard to cancel subscriptions, it’s illegal,” AG James says. “Consumers should be able to cancel a subscription they no longer use or need without any issues, and companies have a legal duty to make the cancellation process easy. New Yorkers can trust that when companies like SiriusXM try to take advantage of them and violate the law, my office will step in and stop them.”

SiriusXM is headquartered in New York City and has around 35 million subscribers, of which 2 million are estimated to be New Yorkers. The OAG opened its investigation into SiriusXM’s business practices after hundreds of consumer complaints about being unable to cancel a subscription.

“The OAG investigation found that the company trains its agents to keep customers on the phone or in the chat for a lengthy six-part conversation that includes asking a series of questions and then pitching the subscriber as many as five retention offers, all to delay cancellation.”

“When customers decline the offers, agents are trained not to take ‘no’ for an answer and to keep bombarding customers with questions or offers until they either relent or become frustrated.” Data provided by SiriusXM shows it takes subscribers an average of 11.5 minutes to cancel by phone and 30 minutes to cancel by online chat. That doesn’t include wait times to connect to an agent, which can be upwards of 20 minutes or more.

The lawsuit alleges that SiriusXM violates New York state laws and federal laws concerning subscriptions that renew automatically without failing to provide subscribers with a cancellation mechanism. The lawsuit also alleges that SiriusXM engaged in fraud and deception by misleading subscribers who seek to cancel their subscription.