Monday, November 07, 2011

A Tale of Two Satellite Radios or Sirius Sucks.

I bought my Sirius satellite radio five or six years ago so I could listen to Howard Stern and other music/news channels I liked without commercials. It was reasonably priced for what it was and I didn't mind paying a premium for the service. Whenever my wife was in my car, she commented on how she liked it and I got her one for Christmas. This was about three years ago.

Over the years I have put up with the price increases and new fees, like the Music Royalty Fee and Internet Radio Fee. The latter was included when I first signed up as part of my package. Now that I think about it, I even kept my service after they did not honor a $50 rebate I was due when I first got my radio. I supported them when they were fighting with the FCC to get approval for their merger with XM Radio. In hindsight, this was a big mistake. Heck, I even lost money owning Sirius stock.

As I grew older, my tastes have changed a bit. I have gotten tired of hearing Howard Stern complain about being rich, especially as I grow poorer in this recession. I think his show has sucked since before Artie Lange left. Now with all the time Howard gets off, it is constantly a rerun.

I really do enjoy the music channels, like the Grateful Dead one and some of the others. I also like being able to hear the news channels, like MSNBC and CNN, but I find I hardly ever have the radio on in my truck. I have been listening to more sports radio and local music on the over the air car radio. And it is free.

My wife Jennifer's subscription is due to renew in little over a month, on Dec. 14. The cost to renew would have been $110.00 plus tax. My subscription is paid through May 14, 2012. After thinking about it, I was going to cancel Jennifer's subscription and transfer mine to her radio, or so I thought.

My phone call to Sirius started off well enough with a customer service rep named "Gertrude."  I explained that I was no longer using my radio. I wanted to transfer my service to my wife's radio, since hers was due for renewal next month and mine still had over seven months of service left. That is actually the condensed version, because it took "Gertrude" a while to get it.

After I finally think I made her understand what I wanted to do, she said there would be a $15 transfer fee. Not much in the grand scheme, but more than was acceptable to me, considering I spend over $300 a year for their product and all she was doing was a few keystrokes. I told her that I could just cancel Jennifer's radio and put mine in her car for no fee. I did not want to do this since my radio was older and Jennifer's worked better. She told me that was my choice and I said, "You know what? I am canceling all my services with Sirius." I could tell this was no skin off her nose and she transferred me to the cancelations department.

Next "Justin" came on the phone, and he sounded like a nice enough fellow and he wanted to make me happy, to try and keep me. I started explaining my situation again and for some reason it took him a while to get what I want to do. When I think he finally gets it, he told me that I can't transfer my subscription to Jennifer's radio. He said this like it is etched in stone in the radios themselves. He said that the radios' billing date can't be changed. I would have to cancel all the subscriptions and start a new one with Jennifer's December billing date if I wanted to keep her radio going. I believe this to be BS and just a way for them to get more money from customers.

I tried a hypothetical on him. I said, "Let's say I canceled Jennifer's radio and put it in the closet. Then two months from now, my radio broke and I pulled the other one from the closet and called you to get it on my subscription. Are you telling me that you could not do it and I would have to start a new subscription?" His answer was basically yes. Ridiculous!

I was starting to get angry. I repeated myself many times in trying to explain to them what I wanted and it did not seem like it should be that hard. At one point I think he was trying to tell me about a deal they had for a cheaper yearly subscription, but it would have required me canceling all my current ones, getting a refund for them and paying for a new one. At this point, I was not going for it. Maybe it would have been better, but I was too frustrated to listen and they did not seem to understand where I was coming from.

So now, after 40 minutes on the phone, I canceled Jennifer's radio, my Sirius Internet Radio and will be moving my old radio into Jennifer's car. Just what I did not want to do. It is no wonder why Sirius stock is trading at $1.70 a share and has not been over $3 since early 2008. They are an overpriced, poorly-run company with bad customer service. A simple thing like transferring a subscription from one radio to another, without fees or hassles should not be a big deal. Nickel and diming your customer is not the way to build loyalty. I have a feeling come May 2012, if the Mayan world ending prediction does not come true, it will be the end of our family's Sirius subscriptions.


Anonymous said...

I quit reading after you said you listened to the crappy terrestial sports radio shows. Mad Dog's station is better than ESPN, and there's the NFL channel and one on college sports, etc. Satellite radio is GREAT. I've had it for over 6 years and love it.

Paul W Gillespie said...

Great, I am glad you like it and consider it a good value. You sound like a real satellite radio fanatic or employee. That is why the good old USA is awesome. We can each share our opinions freely.

I too have had satellite radio for over six years and for me, the money to value ratio became too big. Between my wife's and my radios it would have been almost $300 a year. Not worth it to me. Maybe if I had Mel Carmazin's money. They just seemed to keep raising rates/fees too high. That and the customer service is terrible.

I was a big supporter of the merger and Sirius, but no longer support the direction the company is going. We still have one radio in my wife's car, but after April that may change. If you would have read the post you would have known all this. Have fun with your Sirius.