Governor's Office of Consumer Protection Announces $3.8 Million Multi-State Settlement with Sirius XM

December 5, 2014

ATLANTA, GA – John Sours, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection, along with the attorneys general of 44 states and the District of Columbia, announced today that Sirius XM Radio Inc. of New York has agreed to pay $3.8 million to the states and to provide restitution to eligible consumers to resolve allegations that the satellite radio company engaged in misleading advertising and billing practices in violation of state consumer protection laws.

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.

“Consumers are entitled to clear information concerning the products and services they buy,” says Administrator Sours. “Sirius XM’s advertising left out important terms and policies and made it very difficult for customers to cancel. We believe this agreement furthers consumers’ ability to make informed choices.”

Under the terms of the settlement, an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, the Company 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 changing its business practices, Sirius XM will pay $3.8 million to the states and provide restitution to eligible consumers who have complaints about the problems addressed by the Assurance. To be considered for restitution under this settlement, consumers must file a complaint concerning conduct from July 28, 2008, to December 4, 2014, involving an identifiable loss that has not been previously resolved with their state’s Consumer Protection Office.  

Consumers who have not previously filed a complaint with their attorney general for the practices covered by this settlement must file a complaint by May 3, 2015 to be considered for restitution.

Previously submitted complaints, whether to Sirius XM or to the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection that were unresolved, will be considered for restitution, but only if the complaint is re-submitted by May 3, 2015 with a statement that the complaint remains unresolved.

Where to file complaints

Georgia consumers who have a complaint regarding Sirius XM’s business practices addressed by this settlement, as well as those who have complained to Sirius XM directly and believe that their complaint remains unresolved, are urged to contact the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection at 404-651-8600 or www.consumer.ga.gov by May 3, 2015. Consumers can also contact Sirius XM directly with their complaints by mail at PO Box 33059, Detroit MI  48232-5059 or by going to the following web address:  www.siriusxm.com/settlementprogram.  

The Executive Committee consisted of Ohio, the lead, Arizona, Connecticut, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington, D.C.  The Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection and the following states’ attorneys general also participated in the settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, 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, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.