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13 June 2011 @ 12:51 pm
In which I rant about XM/Sirus billing  
I am mad and need to vent. TL;DR XM keeps charging me for a dead radio and won't stop.

In 2008, XM went from a monthly billing cycle to a annual billing cycle. Then they raised our rates. In October of 2009, our XM radio in our GM vehicle went dead. It came with our 2006 Saturn and is part of the dashboard. For six months, we kept going back and forth trying to get it to work with their Keystone Cops tech antics. The long of the short is, either my wife and I would be on hold for a long time, and they would give us stuff to try, and it never worked. They sent half a dozen "reactivation signals." Whatever. They kept trying to sell us a new radio, but as it's part of our dashboard, it was $499 for a new radio plus whatever fee the dealership would charge us to rip out the dashboard and replace it. My wife had lost her job, and money was tight, so I canceled the service. They charged me a fee anyway, and I got them to remove the fee after a lot of yelling and screaming. I must have known something "didn't seem right," because I saved my timeline and when they sent me the "Your account has been canceled" notice via e-mail, I saved it.

I got a call this morning from my credit card company. "An unusual charge" showed up, and they wanted to alert me. XM charged me $160 for an annual renewal.

Those fucktards.

I searched my e-mail, and found my ominous soothsaying from June of 2010. "I bet you they fuck this uuuuppp..." said my ghost doing a bad Hamlet's father impression, who was probably listening to Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull - "I Like It" or distracted by the Obama administration warning that BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could continue until August.

These June 2010 reference jokes working for you?

Anyway, I called XM, and was on hold for 20 minutes so I had time to build up an angst bomb that would surely kill a large woodland creature at close range. Finally got the stereotype of an Indian call center, with a girl name "Kayla" (who could not spell her name when I asked her to, or even understand the request) that sounded like she was residing in a standard GI metal filing cabinet with the cast of "Stomp the Yard." A lot of the shouting I was doing was not just because I was mad, but because she couldn't hear me. Finally, after 10 minutes of coating my office phone with hate saliva, she said she'd transfer me and to please hold.

Ironically, the hold music for XM Radio is neither pleasant nor memorable. Now here's a side rant: I hate hold music that is interrupted every minute with some announcement practically begging you to hang up and try some online version of their customer service. This fanned my already inflamed anathema with mind puzzles: every few announcements, I had to either "hold on the line" or "press one to continue holding." So I had to listen to see which one it was every minute, and the pattern seemed to be about 1 our of 3 announcements. Thus, I couldn't zone out and do actual work.

I am at work, see? I don't have an office, even a proper pod, or even a taped dotted line with a gap representing where a door would be if I had walls. So any time I spoke, everyone could hear it, and I don't even have the coveted "Silver Sow Award" (for excellence in farm news, particularly hog reports). People were snickering of making peanut gallery comments like, "Gawd dayum..." at the Band-aid surely forming on my forehead.

These WKRP Les Nessman callback jokes doing anything for you?

Finally, I get some woman named "Cindy," which I am sure is pronounced differently in its native Hindi, who sounded like her office was windy, and maybe in Rawalpindi. Wait, that's in Pakistan, but no matter, I ran out of rhymes. So, she's obviously the three headed billing hound that guards the gates of "Please Don't Cancel Hell." Her chief weapon was to interrupt me every time I spoke, but that could have been the 1960s era satellite connection we had. Like speaking to Skylab through a relay in Pine Gap, Australia. She denies we canceled in June of 2010, even though a few sentences later, she claimed my wife "reinstated the account in July 22." My wife was in Japan that month, I lied (it was actually May), but it didn't matter, she lied first. I had the cancellation notice in front of me. I also had been deleting the floods of "please come back, it's only $4.99 a month if you reactivate*" spam for about a year. She denies it still, saying it was "not in the database." I told her I am not responsible for her database, I had a database that cataloged bartender recipes for exotic drinks for overweight housewives visiting Cancun, and she wasn't in that one, so her argument was moot. I also asked her, "if we did not cancel, how come you just said my wife reinstated the account that was never canceled?" She was silent, and then said, "because she asked for a signal to do so on the radio itself."

Worst lie ever!**

So I said, "I do not care what's in your database, this is what you're going to do. You are going to refund the $160 you charged to my card. You are going to do it in 24 hours." She did her best to talk over me, and then pulled out the ballsiest move ever. So massive were her balls to ask this, that they might have altered the earth's gravitational pull on nearby comets.

"Well, we can sell you a new radio, and you can put that one in, and then you will have a working radio."

No. No, you fucking call center tart, I want a refund for service I never got! I am not paying $499 for a new radio, plus installation fees, plus a day without my SUV for a service I lived a year without having and noticed no visible psychological damage. Then she treated to cancel my account. Let me say this again, because it bears repeating:

The customer care consultant, when told to cancel my account, threatened to cancel my account as a counter-move.

Like playing chess with a cat who swats the pieces under the couch and completely ignores any of Kaspersky's strategies. So, I said with the incredulous volume on my voice set to 11, that was what I wanted in the first place. Again, she said she was going to deactivate my already broken radio, and said she could sell me a new one. It is this kind of move that probably led to the Sirius/XM Class Action Lawsuit. They probably used that as a threat when someone said they'd pull a Class Action Lawsuit against them.

After she lost the battle with her "Play-Skool: My First Debate" finger-paint set versus my bronze-welder argument sculpture, she relented but gave out a last gasp of a fight with saying it would take 7-10 days to process. I told her that if I didn't get a refund in 24 hours, I would go ahead and tell my bank to process this as a transaction fraud (which Visa had reported this as), and contact the Better Business Bureau. I told her Visa required me to try this route first before I filed charges. But I knew a defeated "I don't have control over this" voice when I heard one. Okay, fine. 7-10 business days.

I call my bank back, told them what happened. They said they'd give them until the 28th to reverse the charge. Then they will file a fraud claim.

Good.

My coworkers have been avoiding me all day.

Good.

---
* $4.99 for the first three months, "regular monthly fee," after that, paid in advance for a year at a time with a 2-year contract.
** This week...