When I bought my car, it came with a trial subscription to satellite radio. Neat product, but I don’t drive enough to justify the alternative to my trusty iPod.

As my trial nears the end, I’m getting letters from SiriusXM, letting me know that the trial is ending and offering subscriptions. I remembered the annual cost being around $200, so when the latest letter included the annual option with a price of $159.39, I thought that wasn’t too bad, and considered subscribing.

But what’s that? An asterisk, with a companion attached to the six-point type below. It seems my assumption that what says “Price $159.39” was the price isn’t quite accurate. Their itty-bitty addendum: “Prices shown in the chart above are base prices for these packages. The total amount due, shown on the tear-off Form below, includes a U.S. Music Royalty Fee and applicable taxes.”

And just what was the amount on that tear-off Form (their capitalization, not mine)? For a year, it’s $191.86. So I guess that’s the real price. That’s a difference of thirty-two bucks and change, in case you don’t feel like doing the math.

I should have guessed they were up to no good from the ominous “STATEMENT” printed on the envelope — implying that I was receiving a bill for something I requested. Shame on you on both counts, SiriusXM (or #fail, as some would say). You have a high-quality product, but you’re resorting to low-end trickery to sell it. And given that you showed your true colors, I wouldn’t even give you $50 for it now.


  1. I have experience with this little issue. I wasn’t going to subscribe at the end of my trial period, but eventually I got a mailer offering it for half price (something like $86). So I did it. The next year, I got another notice, which said to send in to renew my subscription. At nearly $200, we said no way. A few weeks later, my account was overdrawn (I shuffle money between a couple) and I was surprised but didn’t think much about it until I saw my bank statement with a charge from Sirius. Apparently it’s auto-renew. So I called and said I’d only subscribe at the same rate I got last year. They were able to match it, but promised me I would not get the deal again. Then they tried to charge me $120 or something for my one year — claiming that they were pro-rating the two months I’d had it (unbenownst to me) at the higher price. Huh uh. So they dropped that, too, and I paid I think $99 after fees. I don’t even listen to it, but my husband does. He drives it when we’re all together so I decided he was probably worth half price. I was annoyed with Sirius — I hate that way of doing business — but I had to confess that I subscribed anyway. Probably because my person was very friendly and helpful. Sort of. And I have it marked on my calendar next year to cancel a week before the auto-renew kicks in :-).

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