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Sirius XM to pay $3.8 million to settle consumer complaints

Sirius XM Radio has agreed to pay at least $3.8 million to settle complaints about misleading billing practices, and some subscribers in Illinois could see refunds.

Attorneys general from 45 states — including Illinois — and Washington, D.C., claimed the satellite radio provider engaged in “misleading, unfair and deceptive practices” that violated state consumer protection laws.

Some customers said they had a hard time canceling their contracts, or that their cancellation requests were not honored, according to a statement from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.

Others said Sirius XM automatically renewed their contracts without notifying them, charged unauthorized fees or charged them a higher, unexpected rate after a low introductory rate ran out, Madigan’s office said.

Under the terms of the settlement, Sirius XM has agreed to change its business practices, and will prohibit paying incentives to its customer service reps based solely on their “saves,” or retaining customers who attempt to cancel, the statement said.

The company has also agreed to disclose all terms and conditions — including billing, automatic renewal and cancellation policies — at the point of sale. Customers with plans lasting longer than six months will also receive warnings about upcoming automatic renewals, Madigan’s office said.

“This settlement will put a stop to the numerous unfair and deceptive practices Sirius employed to overcharge customers,” Madigan said.

In addition to the $3.8 million that Sirius XM must pay the states, the company will provide restitution to eligible consumers who have complaints about the problems addressed by the settlement agreement, the statement said.

Consumers can seek restitution for losses dating back to July 28, 2008, which have not yet been resolved by the attorney general’s office. To qualify, consumers must file a complaint by May 3, 2015, and should contact Madigan’s office at 1-800-243-0618 or visit http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.

Anyone who previously complained about Sirius XM to Madigan’s office does not need to re-file his or her complaint in order to be considered for restitution, the statement said.