SiriusXM quietly adds option to cancel service online

The logo of SiriusXM.
The logo of SiriusXM. (Image: Handout)

For much of its existence, SiriusXM has allowed new customers the ability to sign up for their service online while forcing those subscribers to dial a toll-free number, reach an outsourced call center and answer a few questions when they were ready to cancel their service.

But a little-known option quietly rolled out by the company now allows customers to chat with a service representative and cancel their service online — and it’s thanks in large part to a consumer law passed two years ago.

The option to cancel via chat isn’t listed on SiriusXM’s web page dedicated to account management — the company still says you have to call a 1-866 number and reach a representative to discuss options for cancelling or suspending a subscription — but several users told The Desk they’ve had success cancelling via web chat after telling the service agent they live in California.

That last part might sound strange, but it likely has to do with a state law passed in 2018 that requires companies who offer customers the option to sign up for service or a free trial online the option to cancel their service the same way.

The law, Senate Bill 313, impacts SiriusXM and its sister service Pandora because both companies offer users free trials of their service online and allow customers to sign up for full subscriptions the same way. Given that customer payments are handled online and automatically renew the same way, SiriusXM and Pandora have to offer customers the option to cancel their service online, too.

The law only applies to California-based residents, but customers say they’ve had success getting a chat agent to cancel their service online simply by telling the agent they reside in California, even if their billing address shows a different state.

But there’s one reason why customers may want to call SiriusXM instead of contacting a chat agent: Phone-based agents are more likely to offer current subscribers a significant deal in exchange for keeping their service active, even if they’re on a free trial. These deals are known to range from $30 for six months of SiriusXM’s premium streaming service to around $100 a year for car radio subscriptions — a huge discount on the company’s normal $15 a month to $25 a month plans for each.

Customers said chat-based agents didn’t offer those discounts and instead told them their subscription would lapse at the end of their billing cycle.

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