Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cancellation Hell

Last night I finally got it together to call up XM and cancel my subscription. I was already moody about it because I'd been really prepared to wire up my house to get the music, as well as my car. No changing channels to accommodate getting out of range of stations, able to surf to find a favorite artist... really it was excellent equipment and a great idea.
When the music didn't suddenly suck.
The thing was, when I bought in to satellite radio it was because I didn't want to hear commercials or radio DJs or any sort of talking. I was happy that on XM they had talk shows on a channel just for talk shows. If you liked it, well, you could turn in to that. Otherwise? Back to back to back music. And it would be nice, mellow music with very, very few repeats (if any). It wasn't where they played the same 5 songs every hour over and over and over again. I loathed that about radio, the obvious commercial drilling of the songs that paid the most for marketing in to our skulls during commutes, road trips, or what have you.
The merger with Sirius destroyed that, with them taking every opportunity to splash their 2 second slick intro between songs, throwing bullshit DJs in on channels I used to like, and completely deleting the channels that I had loved to listen to. Basically, they imported everything about regular radio that I hated, except that I was ~paying~ to listen to it.
So when I called up last night, I expected there would be some resistance to it. I expected to be passed off to a special department that would try to schmooze me.
I did not expect to be dumped in to space to get a loud buzzing sound in my ear twice as I was hung up on.
After the initial shock of having this happen back to back occured, I opted to just wait and ask to speak to a representative instead of giving my account number straight off. That led me to a very nice young lady in India who was very polite in taking down my info, but who told me that she couldn't help me and would get me to someone who could, making sure that I was delivered to someone without being hung up on.
Instead, I was dumped in to a phone line with utter silence, followed by an irritated "Uh...yeah? Hello?" to greet me.
This was pretty much a good indicator of the individual's temperament and how the next half hour was going to go.
I thanked him for trying to work with me on my hatred of the music change when he attempted to tell me they were working on it, but told him I wasn't interested in paying $40 while they got their act together and I wasn't assured I would like what they finally decided on, something I'd been told 2 months ago, amusingly, in an email from their vice president. This made me realize immediately they had nothing original to say in argument. In fact, he quoted virtually all of the vice president's email to me over the course of the conversation, irking me.
He then asked if it was the cost, to which I (foolishly) agreed was part of the issue. He then began on 15 minutes of not letting me talk while telling me he would give me 3 months at $20. Each time I said no, he would just talk over me. I finally got to the point where I simply kept talking the longer he kept talking, something I'd never had to do before.
WE then wasted 5 minutes arguing over whether I'd really been hung up on twice, as he only showed the one call had been made and that was the one we were on. Why that even mattered, I don't know, except that he was probably looking for a way to unhinge my resolve and throw doubt in there somewhere.
That's fantastic, I told him except that if I pull up my phone records it'll clearly show I've dialed this number three times this evening in quick succession.
At the 22 minute mark in the conversation I was so angry I was shaking, and finally threw down the word "supervisor" in the form of a threat. If it registered, I'll never know, because he kept on for another minute and thirty seconds about just leaving it at 3 months for $20.
Finally... FINALLY, he said "Okay, I'll tell you what, you're paid until June and we'll just have it be canceled at the end of that."
What? No. I'm calling to cancel tonight. Not June. Also, there was utterly no way to guarantee I wouldn't have to call up and be harassed again for wanting to not give money for a service I wasn't using.
So I advised him that was unacceptable and we were doing it tonight so I could be refunded the money for the time not used.
What came next was...well, fucking ballsy
"I'm sorry, we can't do that. So let's put it out at June so it's not wasted."
No no... you're cancelling it tonight, I informed him. I was getting a refund. And I knew he could do that.
I'm not allowed to issue a refund, was his next ploy.
That was all fascinating, I told him, except that I had an email in front of me from Listener Care advising me that they could, in fact, do that, and that it was what was usually done in these instances. And if he wanted, I would happily forward it to him so he could see for himself...
And suddenly he was compliant, putting me on hold (really just mute, as no music came on) and I sat there for 6 more minutes in silence.
In that time I drank most of my soda, discussed with Bob if I was being bitchy to escalate this to the manager if he came back with anything but "yes ma'am", and checked my email.
He came back with a yes ma'am and thanks for calling, have a good day.
Whoooooa, I said, can I get a confirmation number?
This irritated him, but he created one for me (why hadn't he already?? If the transaction went through it should have been generated...) and gave it to me. Then it was back to trying to get me off the phone.
What's your name? I asked again, realizing he hadn't said it the entire time. (and a big faux-pas most places that do phone support.)
Lemar, he told me, then he just kept talking over me until he hung up.
So I sat there with the phone in my hands and the question unanswered about when I could expect to see the refund and how much it would be for.
I promptly went on the website and emailed them about how incensed I was at how I'd been treated, how pretty much I was done with their service forever, and that I wanted to know that info he so rudely hung up on me about.
Quite frankly, if the American support talks to XM's customers like that, I expect them to crash and burn in the next 2 months.

Yes, this was mostly to air my grievances with them, and to add to the rising sentiment of irritation and aggression at XM/Sirius. But also to warn others who might be considering signing on to their service for a "test run". It will be hell to get out of the contract, and if you're not firm, they will run you down.

Running through phone tree twice and being hung up on: 11 minutes
Sitting on hold waiting for rep a third time: 9 minutes
Talking with apologetic rep in India: 5 minutes
Dealing with ignorant customer service rep who lied multiple times and ignored what I was asking for: 28 minutes.
Total time to cancel and get my money back? 53 fucking minutes.

Seriously. Fuck you XM.

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