An investigation was reportedly conducted by Attorney General Letitia James' office in the wake of consumer complaints.
Officials accused the company of making subscribers who want to cancel wait in an automated system. They're then allegedly forced to have an extended instant message or phone interaction with employees who are trained in the best ways to keep customers from canceling.
"Having to endure a lengthy and frustrating process to cancel a subscription is a stressful burden no one looks forward to, and when companies make it hard to cancel subscriptions, it’s illegal," James said in a press release announcing the suit filed on Wednesday, Dec. 20.
"Consumers should be able to cancel a subscription they no longer use or need without any issues, and companies have a legal duty to make their cancellation process easy."
The lawsuit claims more than 578,000 customers who tried to cancel their service in 2019 and 2021 ended up abandoning their efforts after waiting to speak to an agent.
A SiriusXM spokesperson denied many of the allegations in a statement provided to Q.
"It’s telling that the New York Attorney General issued a press release before providing SiriusXM with a copy of the complaint," the note said.
"Like a number of consumer businesses, we offer a variety of options for customers to sign up for or cancel their SiriusXM subscription and, upon receiving and reviewing the complaint, we intend to vigorously defend against these baseless allegations that grossly mischaracterize SiriusXM’s practices."
Customers who are only subscribed to the company's online radio streaming service can cancel without the help of an associate via the account management dashboard. Canceling an in-car plan is a more hands-on process for SiriusXM.
An unnamed customer recounted their alleged experience for an affidavit quoted in the lawsuit.
"Sirius XM doesn’t allow users to cancel their service in their online portal without speaking to a customer service representative," the customer claimed. "Then, when trying to speak to a customer service representative in order to cancel, the wait times are exorbitant. When I finally spoke to the first customer representative and explained that I had been waiting nearly a half an hour, I was promptly hung up on. Which means I had to wait again. Another 30 minutes, just to cancel a service I would have preferred to cancel online."
The suit is seeking financial penalties including compensation for the time customers spent online during the cancellation process.
SiriusXM is headquartered in New York City. Two million of its approximately 34 million subscribers are based in New York State, the lawsuit says.
The company is where iconic Southern California DJ Jim Ladd spent the final years of his career. He died earlier this week at age 75 after suffering a fatal heart attack. Ladd was referenced in the track "The Last DJ" by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.