I tried to cancel my Sirius XM Satellite radio that came included with my car purchase today. They automatically start billing after the trial ends. After muddling through their website, I found the only way to cancel the subscription is via chat or phone. I opted for chat, here's the transcript:
Sam (17:45:38 GMT): Thank you for your patience! My name is Sam and I'm here tohelp you now. I see you're looking to cancel your subscription. May I know the reason of the cancellation please? I hope you've had an opportunity to review the discount offers we have available for you. Do you have any questions about the offer?
You (17:45:48 GMT): I would like to cancel.
Sam (17:46:14 GMT): I can help you with that. Sam (17:46:14 GMT): May I know the reason of the cancellation please?
You (17:46:28 GMT): No, please cancel my subscription.
Sam (17:47:35 GMT): This is just for documentation purposes Seth May I know the reason of the cancellation please?
You (17:48:03 GMT): No, you do not need to know the reason. Please cancel my service.
Sam (17:49:26 GMT): Werespect that. But we just want to hear it from you directly what is the reason why because your opinion matter for us so that we can improve our service.
You (17:49:36 GMT): Please cancel my subscription.
Sam (17:51:35 GMT): I can help you with that. I can see here that you are paying $14.27 a month however, we just don't want you to miss our great offers Sam (17:51:35 GMT): And as one of our valued customer we have this All Access which is our premium package for only $10.72 per month for the next 12 months. Sam (17:51:40 GMT): This is 62% saving of the regular price, So instead of paying the regular rate of $28.57 per month, This will give you access to over XXX+ channels, Howard Stern NFL NASCAR and you can personalize station powered by PANDORA this also includes unlimited streaming, So not just on your car but also on your phone, computer, Alexa, Smart TV, Google Nest or any online streaming devices without paying extra Sam (17:51:43 GMT): its an open contract and you can cancel it anytime you want. We will also send you a renewal notice 60 days before it renew so that youre aware Sam (17:51:43 GMT): its an open contract and you can cancel it anytime you want. We will also send you a renewal notice 60 days before it renew so that youre aware
(yes, that last message was sent twice)
You (17:51:55 GMT): Please cancel my subscription.
Sam (17:52:48 GMT): I understand if this will not work for you I hope you can still consider I can give you our select package for only $6.48 a month incluidng fees and taxes for 12 months which you can still listen your favorite channel in our outside of your car using any devices Sam (17:52:49 GMT): you can save 70% off against of the regular price of $22.07 a month . This will give you access to over XXX + channels, includes unlimited streaming, So not just on your car but also on your phone, computer, Alexa, Smart TV, Google Nest or any online treaming devices without paying extra
You (17:52:57 GMT): Please cancel my subscription.
Sam (17:53:49 GMT): I understand and we respect that and as a simple way of thank you before you leave us I would like you to take this as a gift of appreciation from us and sign you up on our All Access premium package for just $2 good for the next 3 months which is until 01/28 Sam (17:53:50 GMT): by the way, on this plan that I'm giving you, you don't need to add or pay additional since you still have enough credits to extend our service until January 28 Sam (17:53:55 GMT): In fact you will still get a refund of $4.30 which I can refund back to your card.
You (17:54:13 GMT): Please cancel my subscription. You (17:54:32 GMT): Do not apply additional services to my account. You (17:54:42 GMT): Refund any remaining balance to my card on file.
Sam (17:54:44 GMT): I understand and thank you for listening to my offers I appreciate that. Dont get me wrong thank you for letting me do my job. Let me process your request would you like to cancel effective today or at the end of the current plan?
You (17:55:00 GMT): Yes. Please cancel my plan effective today.
Sam (17:55:21 GMT): Today I cancelled Radio ID <redacted>. You have a remaining refundable credit of $6.44 which is going to be issued to your credit card on file in the next 3-5 business days. Your confirmation number of this cancellation is <redacted>. A confirmation of this transaction will be sent to the email address on file, for your account within 5 days.
You (17:55:32 GMT): Thank you.
On the bright side, I was taken back to my childhood of trying to cancel AOL subscriptions. On the dark side, this type of behavior is how less technical folks end up renewing their subscriptions for even higher premiums, and I wish there were laws and regulations around this type of behavior.
Photo: Jose Navarro / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
Seth Vargo is an engineer at Google Cloud. Previously he worked at HashiCorp, Chef Software, CustomInk, and some Pittsburgh-based startups. He is the author of Learning Chef and is passionate about reducing inequality in technology. When he is not writing, working on open source, teaching, or speaking at conferences, Seth advises non-profits.