So I had XM in my Honda Accord and I subscribed to it on for one year after I found a really good coupon to use with it. When I turned it on, I figured since I was paying for a year in advance, I would not pay for it again if I don’t use it enough. My wife drives the Accord now and she barely ever uses XM. So we decided to let the subscription expire, thinking that if we did not renew it, they would simply not renew the radio again and life would be dandy.
Boy were we wrong! A week after the radio truly expired, we received a letter in the mail stating that our credit card on file was not valid (we had used a one time use) and that our subscription was going to be canceled if we did not call and present a new credit card. Well that meant to us that we should just ignore the issue and it will be canceled. Wrong! This was followed by regular phone messages on my cell phone without a real person on the other side. I figured this was another way to force a call back that would take effort and they were banking on the fact that people would forget. Phone calls became more frequent, till this week in July when I started receiving two messages a day.
Finally I called back today from work and was told that my “contract” was valid forever and I had agreed to the fact that my service would be renewed every year if I did not call and cancel. While I do not recall that I had agreed to this, I have no doubt that it was read to me when I signed up. However, I had verbally agreed to only pay for the first year and there was no written contract signed. I was also told that their letter might have stated that the service would be canceled but it also meant that I would still owe for the month(s) that it sat unused without being canceled. But really, they would not cancel the service until I called and canceled. They would just make harassing phone calls till I responded. Since I had called back a month after my paid period, I would have to pay for that months’ use, at the full price.
To add insult to injury, the lady on the phone asked me if I would like to continue using the service if she made it free for three months. I asked her to use one of those three free months and redact my bill but she started getting snooty and snarky. Rather than get irritated, I decided to let it go. I asked them to send me a paper bill and I will put a check in the mail. Then I told her I wanted nothing else to do with XM again, ever!
I know very little about US law, but I remember reading somewhere that these phone sales and verbal agreements do not hold water in court. They really need to get a written signature in order for them to enforce their contracts. Does anyone have any relevant information that explain the details of phone call based contractual obligations and their enforceability?