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Biden Announces Multistate Consumer Protection Settlement With Sirius XM

Date Posted: Thursday, December 4th, 2014
Categories:  Consumer Protection Department of Justice DOJ Press Releases

DOVER – Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced today that he and colleagues in 44 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have reached a settlement with Sirius XM Radio Inc. that requires the satellite radio company to pay $3.8 million to the states and to provide restitution to eligible consumers to resolve claims that the satellite radio company engaged in misleading advertising and billing practices.

 

The attorneys general allege that Sirius XM engaged in misleading, unfair, and deceptive acts or practices in violation of state consumer protection laws.

 

Specifically, 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 who have not previously filed a complaint with their attorney general for the practices covered by this settlement have 150 days after the settlement’s execution date to file a complaint to be considered for restitution.

 

“Companies that do not follow the rules and mislead consumers will be held accountable,” Biden said.

Under the terms of the settlement, an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, Sirius XM 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 the $3.8 million that Sirius XM will pay the states, Sirius XM also will 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 Dec. 4, 2014, involving an identifiable loss that has not been previously resolved with their state attorney general.

To file a complaint, consumers should contact Biden’s Consumer Protection Unit by emailing consumer.protection@state.de.us or call 1-800-220-5424. Consumers can also contact Sirius XM directly with their complaints. Complaints can be mailed to PO Box 33059, Detroit, MI 48232 or by going to www.siriusxm.com/settlementprogram.

The Executive Committee of the investigation consisted of Ohio, the lead, Arizona, Connecticut, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Additionally, participating in the settlement are the attorneys general of: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, 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.

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