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December 4, 2014

SiriusXM to Refund Iowans over Misleading Advertising and Billing

(DES MOINES, Iowa) SiriusXM Radio Inc. of New York will provide restitution to eligible Iowa consumers over claims that the satellite radio company engaged in misleading advertising and billing practices, under an agreement with Attorney General Tom Miller, 44 states and the District of Columbia.

Under an agreement called an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, SiriusXM will provide refunds, change business practices, and make a $3.8 million payment to the states, including $15,000 to Iowa’s Consumer Education and Litigation Fund.

Miller alleged that SiriusXM made insufficient or misleading disclosures to consumers, and engaged in unfair practices.

“We allege that, in many cases, SiriusXM misled consumers during the signup process, improperly charged them when they were enrolled, and made it too difficult for people to cancel,” Miller said.  “While we know many consumers willingly signed up and willingly pay for their monthly satellite radio service, others did not and faced unreasonable roadblocks when they tried to cancel.”

Consumer Complaints
Consumers in Iowa and throughout the country complained that SiriusXM misrepresented that it would cancel or not renew their satellite radio service, and that the company renewed their contracts without notice or their consent.  Consumers also complained about higher, unanticipated rates after a low introductory rate and unauthorized fees.  Consumers who tried to stop their satellite radio service reported unreasonable difficulty with canceling contracts, SiriusXM not honoring cancellation requests, and the company failing to provide timely refunds.

SiriusXM to Change Practices under Agreement
While SiriusXM denies the allegations, the company has agreed to make these changes:

  • 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.

Refunds
SiriusXM will provide restitution to eligible Iowa consumers who file or have filed complaints about problems addressed by the settlement.

For restitution under this settlement, Iowa 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 the Consumer Protection Division.

Iowa consumers who have not previously filed a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division for the practices covered by this settlement have until May 3 to file a complaint to be considered for restitution.

Consumers who have a complaint regarding SiriusXM’s business practices covered by the settlement are urged to contact the Consumer Protection Division before the May 3 deadline:

            www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov

Office of the Attorney General of Iowa
Consumer Protection Division
1305 E Walnut St.
Des Moines, IA 50319

consumer@ag.iowa.gov
515-281-5926
1-888-777-4590

Consumers who have complained to SiriusXM directly and believe that their complaint remains unresolved can file complaints directly with SiriusXM at www.siriusxm.com/settlementprogram or by mail to: P.O. Box 33059, Detroit MI  48232-5059.

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