A Current Pet Peeve

Inflation is a real thing. The economy ebbs and flows. There are good years and bad years where expenses and income are in one form of balance for another. Everyone outside of the world's top 1% of the elite has to stay familiar with current cost trends and adjust as needed to maximize their wealth, or lack thereof. This isn't a new concept but one that seems more relative today than in other years. Blame the politicians. Blame greedy corporations. Blame greedy workers who demand more money for doing trivial jobs. Blame the rich for getting richer at your expense. Blame whoever you want, it won't change anything but if it makes you feel better, whatever.

Regardless of why the current economic state is what it is or whatever your individual financial state is, we should all take periodic reviews of our expenses and see where we might be more fiscally responsible. We can't hoot and holler about government spending if we aren't responsible with our own.

That said, my family recently made 2 financial changes in an effort to save money in our annual expenses. And let me tell you, those experiences were both eye-opening and infuriating.

Firstly, after having SiriusXM in my wife's cars for the last 8 years, we decided to cancel it. With each annual renewal, the yearly price for the service increased. What was costing us less than $100/year original was now attempting to bill us nearly $300. I usually would subscribe for multiple years to get a discount but this latest price increase, even with my discounts applied, represented a significant increase on the annual price from previous years.

Recently, I signed us up for Apple Music (we all use Apple devices around here). For one small annual fee we can all use the service in all of our cars and on our devices outside the cars. SiriusXM was for a specific vehicle. If we wanted the service for other cars then we had to pay largely the same amount annually for each car. Apple Music represented a significant savings over the old price but the savings were even more pronounced with the price increase for my upcoming renewal. After some discussion with my wife and some experience with Apple Music, the decision was reached to cancel the satellite radio service to save money while giving us greater flexibility for our listening pleasure at the same time.

SiriusXM, like most providers, do not have an option to cancel services through their website for security reasons. Instead, they require the subscriber to call into their customer service center to process the request verbally. This was not a surprise to me. The hour long phone call to complete the process was the real surprise.

The rep and I went through the standard rigamarole of verifying my information, the purpose of my call, the reason I wanted to cancel, blah, blah, blah. But it was what happened next that shocked me. After explaining that I was tired of getting hit with massive price increases every time my renewal came up to the point that I was paying double what I was a few years ago for the same service, the representative offered me a price that was lower than my original subscription price from years before.

"We don't want to lose your service. We hate to hear that you want to cancel but what if we can offer you the same great service and channels that you have now for the price of X?"

Are you shitting me? If you can sell me your service for that price without blinking then why the fuck are you trying to charge me 3x that by default? That's just insane. Obviously, you can provide the service at the cost you're willing to give me so why would you raise my prices on an automatic renewal? Are you just banking on me paying the bill and you making a few extra bucks just for the hell of it? Are you skimming loyal subscribers to subsidize these basement rates you're just freely giving away to anybody who wants to quit being fucked over?

But as irritating as that realization was, that wasn't what pissed me off about that call. The representative kept reading things to me that I needed to verbally agree to before they could cancel my service. I had issues with a lot of what she said. Things about "other charges" without being specific about what those charges were, what they were valued at, or anything. No. I'm not paying "other charges". I'm cutting your shit off and not paying you a damn thing. That's what canceling my service means.

And then after several minutes of back and forth over their less than ideal language in their cancellation terms, the agent spent the next several minutes trying to convince me to not cancel and sign up for their services at this reduced rate that I've already declined. I had to spend several minutes just reiterating that I wanted to cancel my service and that was it. This was then proceeded by me getting calls from SiriusXM for the next few days wanting me to resubscribe. I ignored the calls for the first few days but then answered and spoke to the rep in hopes of getting them to leave me alone. That call was more of the same. They were offering me a rate that if they had just offered that as my renewal price instead of a figure that was significantly higher then I would still have their service (probably). I declined their offer and just said that I had already replaced their service with another service option that was priced better with greater terms of use but they wouldn't let it go. I was adamant about not resubscribing but the agent would not stop. I ended up hanging up on her because she just wasn't listening to me. They called again the other day while I was with my wife. I answered and just said, "I'm not interested. Quit calling me," and hung up. My wife was shocked because that's not something I normally do but this was getting absurd.

And then when we made the decision to cancel our satellite TV and replace it with streaming services it was the same thing. The rep at DirecTV was far nicer and understanding than the lady at SiriusXM but again he tried to get me to keep from canceling my service if they dropped their rate. They went from wanting to charge me $225/month to less than $80/month for the same package. I just told the rep that I wasn't interested in playing their game because I knew that it was a limited time offer and that he would want me to agree to a service term contract longer than what that price was good for. I wasn't interested in paying that higher price later any more than I was interested in paying it today. I thanked him for the effort but declined. He processed my request without any more ado.

All in all, that was a much faster and pleasant phone call but it still brings to light the same scenario: providers want to raise rates and rape loyal customers while giving away the service to people fed up with being taken advantage of in hopes of retaining access to their bank accounts. Instead of having to constantly play these games, why not just stick to a fair fucking rate for everyone. Customers will be less likely to leave if you don't jack up their rates every year.

This isn't property taxes, geesh!

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