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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Ferguson Announces Multi-state Resolution With Sirius XM

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Satellite radio company accused of misleading advertising, billing

 Last Friday, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, along with the attorneys general of 44 states and the District of Columbia, announced yesterday that Sirius XM Radio Inc. of New York has agreed to provide money back to eligible consumers and pay $3.8 million to the states to resolve claims that the satellite radio company engaged in misleading advertising and billing practices.

“I will not tolerate deceptive business practices,” Ferguson said. “I will pursue any company that doesn’t clearly disclose the terms of its services.”

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

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.

Overview of resolution

Washington’s share of the $3.8 million resolution is $71,603, to be used for the recovery of costs and attorneys’ fees in investigating the allegations.

Under the terms of the resolution, an Assurance of Discontinuance (AOD), Sirius XM will make significant changes to its business practices. Specifically, Sirius XM agrees to:

* clearly 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; and

* prohibit incentive compensation for customer service representatives based solely on “saves,” or retaining current customers who attempt to cancel.

Consumers can file a complaint for money back

In addition to the $3.8 million Sirius XM will pay to the states, the company also will refund money back to eligible consumers who file a complaint about the business practices addressed by the AOD.

The amount of money a consumer may receive depends on the amount of each individual consumer’s identifiable loss.

To be considered for restitution under this agreement, 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.

Consumers have until May 3, 2015 to file a complaint to be considered for restitution.

To file a complaint, consumers should contact the Attorney General’s Office by visiting www.atg.wa.gov and clicking on the “Consumer Complaint” tab, or by calling 1-800-551-4636 to request a complaint form.

Consumers also can file complaints with Sirius XM directly at www.siriusxm.com/settlementprogram, or at P.O. Box 33059, Detroit MI 48232-5059.

States involved in the multi-state resolution include  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, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

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