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SiriusXM settles consumer fraud claims

Digital radio giant SiriusXM has promised to repay customers affected by its fraudulent business practices, change its subscription cancellation policies and pay a $3.8 million fine to settle accusations filed by attorneys general in 44 states. The company had been accused of not cancelling subscriptions after promising customers they would do so.

A multistate investigation into SiriusXM’s business practices concluded that customers from about mid-2008 to the present routinely had a hard time cancelling their contracts. Many times, SiriusXM would tell customers that their contract was cancelled, but then renew it without notice or consent. The company would charge unauthorized fees, and jack up the price after a low introductory rate. These practices violated consumer protection laws, officials said.

The $3.8 million fine will go to the states. Customers who believe they were affected by the fraud can file a complaint to seek compensation. Their harm must have taken place between July 28, 2008 and Dec. 4 of this year, according to one of the attorneys general involved.

It would be nice to be able to trust large businesses to honor their contracts, and give customers what they say they will. But the fact is, some companies defraud their customers, which is why the law must keep their practices in check. One way the law does this is by allowing victims to take action by suing the company that defrauded them.

Of course, if a business rips off one person, it is highly likely that many people endured the same treatment. A class-action lawsuit may be the best way to obtain justice from a dishonest business.

Source: AZCentral.com, “SiriusXM fined $3.8 million in consumer fraud case,” Robert Anglen, Dec. 5, 2014

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