More than 1 month later, Sirius-XM’s STILL lying…

It’s now been 1 month since Sirius-XM raised prices on some of their services and “silently” degraded their XM Radio Online (XMRO) service from 64kbps down to 32kbps for existing customers without prior notification (i.e., with the new price changes).

Former customers such as myself had assumed that we would be “grandfathered” onto the new Premium 128kbps XMRO service since they said absolutely nothing about forcing us down to 32kbps when they were poking us to “Extend your Subscription now and Save” in order to keep our so-called “free” access to XMRO.  Very classic Bait and Switch.

Anyway, after battling with the pricks at Sirius-XM for more than a month, some people have had limited success getting access to the 128kbps stream they deserved, but only after directly sending e-mail to both the CEO, Mel Karmazin, and the Senior Vice President of IT and ListenerCare, Joe Zarella.


Other existing customers, however, are still getting the exact same song and dance Form Letter response that tells them they must pay $2.99 for access to XMRO Premium, and until they do that, they’ll only have continued access to the 32kbps stream for the remainder of their subscription.  If you don’t know the trick to get the service you paid for, you just don’t get it.  If you ask them about it, they’ll still give you this form-letter response (this one dated 4/11/2009):

Thank you for contacting XM.  

Thank you for contacting XM regarding your XMRO service. We would like to apologize in advance for any confusion that our recent changes may have caused. As of March 11, 2009, we have stopped offering free online listening and have upgraded our online listening platforms to a higher digital quality. The new upgraded service is offered at $2.99 per month plus applicable taxes. Over the past few months, we had been offering existing subscribers a way to continue free online listening with one of our Annual Savings Plans. Taking advantage of this offer enabled subscribers to continue receiving online streaming at 32K for the duration of their Annual Savings Plan.

If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 1-800-XM RADIO (800-967-2346). Our Listener Care Center’s hours of operation are as follows:

Monday – Saturday: 8 AM – 11 PM ET
Sunday: 8AM – 8PM ET

Thank you,

The highlighted text above is very interesting, because that’s a fact they very conveniently neglected to mention to their customers when they were pushing people to buy extended plans when they announced the March 11th price changes.

It basically says “No, you can’t have 128k access unless you pay for it…”

That is, until you find the correct e-mail “formula”, and then Sirius-XM’s story dramatically changes to this:

Thank you for contacting XM.

We are sorry to hear that you are currently unable to access our 128kbs online listening setting. We are pleased to let you know that we will be able to give you streaming at the rate of 128kbs for the entire length of your existing subscription. Please be aware that when your current subscription expires, the standard rate will apply. In order to do this, we will need to open a ticket and this service will be available within 7-10 days.

Your patience in this matter is appreciated.

If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to send an additional email or you may contact a Listener Care Representative directly at 1-800-XM RADIO (800-967-2346). Our Listener Care Center’s hours of operation are as follows:

Monday – Saturday: 8AM – 11PM ET
Sunday: 8AM – 8PM ET

Thank you,

Some time later, you can log-in and access the 128kbps stream…maybe…

Instead of fixing the problem for all their customers, they’re dealing with it on a case-by-case basis, and then only if the customers makes the effort to escalate it to the most senior of upper management (CEO, SVP, etc…)

Personally, I fail to see how this anything less than discrimination.  Even though every single one of their existing customers with pre-paid subscriptions as of March 11th paid for and deserved equal or better XMRO performance after the March 11th switch, they’re only providing the 128k XMRO service to a select few people who directly and repeatedly bitched about the downgraded service.

Worse still is that some of the people who got burned by the March 11th change and later got it fixed actually unfortunately have the balls to give Sirius-XM praise for “fixing their problem”, which just shows that a lot of Sirius-XM’s customers live in the moment, completely oblivious of the bigger problem at hand (until it bites them in the ass again at a later date…)

Although it seems to be getting slightly easier to get the upgraded 128k service added to your account, you still have to know exactly what to ask for, and you’ll likely still have to add the dynamic duo ‘Mel & Joe’ to your e-mail thread to get the action you want.

Mel & Joe have to be the most ridiculously over-paid Customer Service Reps on the planet.

It would also appear that a great many Sirius-XM Shareholder aren’t too happy with Mel’s performance as CEO, either, and are longing for November 2009 to arrive when he’ll hopefully get pushed out of his Sirius-XM office and into a Federal Courtroom instead.  Fingers Crossed!

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