By December 31, 2009

XM Rudio, amirite?

I’ve been an XM Radio subscriber twice. When I started driving to work last year during the fall I called in and got the “open secret” $77 annual membership deal. Service is usually $13 a month, so I was glad paying more than 50% off. However, as the weather got better I rode my motorcycle so much I didn’t listen to XM for months at a time. Even then, I wasn’t a big fan of their music selection and wound up listening to just two channels, something I wrote about almost four years ago when I tried XM for the first time.

Anyway, my year subscription expired about three months ago. I called in and spent forty-five minutes on the phone with an account representative and canceled my membership (which was set to auto-renew at $13/month).

What followed was a ninety-plus day barrage of sales calls trying to get me to become an XM customer again.

I’ve worked a fair number of shitty jobs in my day, including retail, food service, and tech support in a call center. I try to be patient with people who ride an autodialer for a living. I know they often sit shoulder to shoulder with headsets on, judged on how many calls they complete or customers they get to shut up or sales they close. However, XM Radio set the new standard for annoying telemarketing calls.

XM started calling a week after my cancellation. I typically don’t answer telephone calls from numbers I don’t recognize. 888-245-4396 called two times a day, every day, for four days before I finally picked up.

I was calm and polite. No, I did not want to renew. No, there was nothing wrong with my service, I ride a motorcycle and don’t listen to XM while I ride. Thank you, have a nice day.

Two weeks later I started getting calls from 888-245-4396 again. I opened my phone, set it to speaker, and let my music at work blast. They hung up after ninety seconds. I did this three times, peppering in an episode where I chain-murmured “Pablo?” in the smallest-sounding voice I could conjure.

The phone jockeys at XM were resilient and kept calling. Eventually I caved and talked to them.

I was calm and polite. No, I did not want to renew. No, there was nothing wrong with my service, I ride a motorcycle and don’t listen to XM while I ride. Thank you, have a nice day.

Fast forward a month. 888-245-4396 rang me twice a day, every day. I picked up on day three. This time I kept my voice even, but said I did not want to renew, that this was a mobile phone, and to stop calling. The person said thank you and hung up.

The calls from 888-245-4396 started again on December 29th. I guess times are tough at XM, as they called me three times in one day instead of twice. I knew who was calling and picked up. I started talking before they could ask to speak to me.

“Listen, I know that this is your job. I’m not angry with you, but this number has been calling me for over three months. I don’t want to renew, and I don’t want you to call me again. I know it’s not your fault, but you need to do something to make sure I never get another call from this number.”

“Oh,” the lady on the other end of the line said. “I’m sorry, sir. I get annoyed when that happens, too. I’ll put you on the ‘do not call’ list.”

This was the first time I heard mention of a “do not call” list. Hopefully that will keep future calls from happening. I said thank you, wished her a happy new year, and hung up.

This is a major reason that every phone should have the ability to white list or black list, something I wrote about over four years ago and was finally able to do on my now-retired Windows Mobile phone.

Has anyone else out there had success in getting XM to leave them alone, and did it take a do not call list to keep the ringer quiet?

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1 Comment on "XM Rudio, amirite?"

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  1. David in MS says:

    I am about to end my XM subscription after quite a few years. I like a couple of their music stations and also liked the comedy stations. I got flustered with the commercials on the comedy stations, though. I didn’t time it, but would bet that the commercial time is close to actual comedy time. Twelve months ago I called to discontinue the service. The rep offered me 3 months for no charge. I agreed knowing full well they expected me to forget to call and cancel. I didn’t. When I called to cancel after 5.75 months, they then offered me 6 months for $20. Again, I accepted. When I called back to cancel in August and also cancel my wife’s service, they again offered me three free months. Again, I accepted it. But, this time they hosed up my wife’s cancellation, erroneously charging my credit card. By the time I finished that call, I had an extra month of free service with the guarantee of the service to terminate 1/24/10 with no more calls. We’ll see. But, I did get over a year’s worth of service for $20. I’m kind of sorry to see it all end, though. I was wondering how long they’d continue to offer me near zero cost service.

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