Most customer support snafus are honest mistakes or misunderstandings. I have had a number of situations in talking with customer support representatives where things just went wrong. Nine times out of ten, it’s a situation of things being out of the control of the customer service department. Even with my recent frustrations with my Google/HTC NexusOne, I was still met with courteous care in spite of the difficult situation I was in.
Today, however, I witnessed the most spectacular failure in customer service that I have ever seen or heard of.
Since I allowed my XM radio subscription to lapse, I’ve received an offer on two different occasions to get a year of service for $77. For those who might be doing math, that roughly half the price of their XM Everything package. Personally, I don’t think it is that bad of a deal. So I attempted to take advantage of this offer. SiriusXM has an online option, so I tried to register via that method. Unfortunately, the website was broken. That’s fine, I think, I’ll just call the customer support line. Simple enough, right?
On my first attempt at reaching SiriusXM customer support, I was put on hold for 15 minutes with no success at talking to a human. I didn’t think it should be a peak time, but I wrote it off as bad luck. I hung up and decided to try again later. Later ended up coming about two or three hours later. This time I got a real human on the phone. We went through the routine questions. Who are you? What is your phone number? Can you verify your address please? Sure enough, in short order he was able to locate my account and see that he could, in fact, offer me the $77 deal. Subsequent to confirming that he could credit that offer to my account, he began reciting an obviously scripted explanation that the actual cost to me would be about $86. When I stopped him and asked him to repeat what he just said slower, he informed me that while the subscription fee is $77, there is an additional charge that is associated with the new “Music Royalty Fee”.
When I inquired about the Music Royalty Fee, I was informed that the Royalty fee was something implemented by the US Government. A little later on, I was able to confirm this with a little bit of quick research. I found a blog post that provided a little background.
What troubled me was that there was no mention of this increased fee in the fine print of the offer that was sent to me. To be honest, it didn’t bug me that much. I was willing to pay the increased price, but I thought that I should at least ask the guy why it wasn’t included in their offer. So, I did. I started explaining that this little tidbit was not included in the offer details that is in the fine print of their offer. Mid-sentence, I’m interrupted by a click.
And then the phone line was dead.
At first I couldn’t believe it. I actually double checked a couple of times, on the off chance that I was mistaken and there was just a pop on the wire. I was wrong. I was actually hung up on by a customer support representative. Overall, I’m wholly disappointed in the treatment I received from SiriusXM. I shot them an email through their online contact form, so if I hear something interesting from them, I’ll let you guys know.
Just as a point of interest, what has been your worst customer service experience? Let me know by leaving me some comment love below!