When I bought a gently used SUV last year, it came with a 6 month free trial of SiriusXM radio. Unlike my husband, I don’t have to listen to the sports channels, but I did get used to spending up to 3 hours of a long drive with Dr. Laura. When my free trial expired, I called to cancel – I had even written the date down in my dayplanner to make sure I didn’t auto renew – but couldn’t resist the offer to extend my subscription for another 6 months for only $39.99.
This time, I neglected to set a reminder to myself to cancel, and I ended up paying $16.30 a month for a few months before I noticed it on my credit card statement. Since I am rarely in my own car due to my heavy air travel schedule, I probably only listen to my radio a few times a week on the way back and forth to the airport. When I am in my vehicle, I typically only listen to 3 channels: 2 (Top Hits), 16 (Blend), and 106 (Dr. Laura). I can listen to the same music on FM radio and even get lucky once in a while to find Dr. Laura on an AM channel, so it isn’t worth it to me to pay almost $200 a year when I can get the same audio entertainment for free on AM/FM radio.
When I called to cancel a few days ago, the customer service representative said I could always “get back in the groove” by calling to reinstate my subscription, and they’d have a special deal for me as a returning listener. The goal of these special deals and free trial offers is twofold. First, SiriusXM hopes I get hooked on some of the channels I wouldn’t have available on the regular radio stations. For example, there is no way my husband would give up his Orioles on the MLB channel or his Ravens on the NFL channel. Second, the hope is that subscribers will overlook their auto renewal, as I did.
So how do you avoid these traps? The best way is to decline the “free trial” offers to begin with. But if you want to test out the tunes, talk, and traffic coverage, make sure to set a reminder on your calendar so you cancel prior to the trial ending, or else you will be stuck paying to be commercial free.