DENVER– To resolve claims its advertising and billing practices were misleading, Sirius XM Radio, Inc. will pay eligible customers restitution under the terms of a settlement agreement announced today by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Colorado joined with 44 other state attorney general’s offices and the District of Columbia in announcing that Sirius will also pay $3.8 million to the participating states. The satellite radio company has agreed to make changes to its business practices after attorneys general alleged that Sirius engaged in misleading, unfair, and deceptive acts or practices in violation of state consumer protection laws.
“Rather than get its customers’ express consent to extend their contracts, Sirius took their silence as agreement,” said Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection Jan Zavislan. “Customers of Sirius who found themselves stuck in these ‘negative option’ contracts are entitled to restitution and need to file a complaint with our office to begin that process.”
The states’ investigation focused on consumer complaints regarding: difficulty canceling contracts; cancellation requests that were not honored; misrepresentations that their service would be canceled and not renewed; contracts that were automatically renewed without notice or consent; unauthorized fees; higher, unanticipated rates after a low introductory rate; and failure to provide timely refunds.
Under the terms of the settlement, an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, 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;
• accurately represent the available plans in its advertisements;
• provide advance customer notice via mail or email about upcoming automatic renewals for plans lasting longer than six months;
• revise procedures to make it easier for consumers to cancel service;
• prohibit incentive compensation for customer service representatives based solely on “saves,” or retaining current customers attempting to cancel.
The time period covered by the settlement is July 28, 2008, to Dec. 4, 2014. In order to be considered for restitution, Colorado consumers have 150 days – or until May 3, 2015 – to file a complaint with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office at www.stopfraudcolorado.gov. Consumers may also contact Sirius XM directly with their complaints. Complaints can be sent by mail to PO Box 33059, Detroit MI 48232-5059 or by going to the following web address: www.siriusxm.com/settlementprogram.
Led by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, attorneys general the following participated in the settlement agreement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, 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, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C West, Virginia and Wisconsin.
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