PhotoWe've heard repeatedly from Sirius XM customers who say they have a difficult, if not impossible time cancelling the service when they no longer want to subscribe.

"I called to cancel the renewal of my service," Richard, of Poughquag, N.Y., told ConsumerAffairs.com. "However, customer care personnel said they could not handle the request. They transferred my call, or so they said, to the proper agent. After waiting 30 minutes I received no response. I tried the same procedure several times and the same situation occurred - that is, no response."

Richard says he called back another time and relayed the message and told the agent that they were responsible for cancelling his service, as he was not gong to try again.

"That evening I received three calls from customer care personnel informing me that that my service was not cancelled," Richard said. "When I again told them to cancel the renewal service they hung up on me."

It's hard to believe Sirius XM customer service people are so busy they don't have time to process a cancellation. Chances are they would really rather not give up a customer. We've been told by more than one consumer that, when dealing with customer service representatives, threatening to file a complaint with their state attorney general appears to be a magic phrase. We suggest Richard do that, and actually follow through with a complaint to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Hands off

When a company takes more money than it is supposed to from your bank account, it is very hard to get a refund. Companies don't like to give money back and many, in recent years, have established internal safeguards against employee fraud that can make it a difficult and complex process.

"My debit card was charged two times for my AAA membership and they won't refund me my money," said Roseller, of Las Vegas, Nev. "I've called several times and they said that they will give me a refund but it has been nine days. My husband is on his Army duty for two weeks in California and I told AAA that he needs money for gas and food and my checks are going to bounce if I don't get my refund and they keep telling me they will refund me my money but until now I haven't seen a single cent put back into my bank account."

If you can possibly avoid it, you should never give a company the ability to deduct monthly payments directly from your bank account. It is better to set up an auto bill pay through your bank, or if the company insists on a direct charge, give them a credit card instead of a debit card. A credit card charge can be disputed.

A fee for everything

Spirit Airlines makes no apologies for its fees - the highest of almost any other airline. The company points out that people who don't want to pay a lot to fly can avoid doing things that carry fees. But for travelers, like Leanna, of Delta, Colo., the first time flying Spirit can be something of a shock.

"At the time of booking I was not informed of any unusual charges," Leanna told ConsumerAffairs.com. "However when I went to check in I was shocked to be hit with the following unexpected and ridiculous charges which are not a part of any other airline that I know of; $40 for first check-in - more than double that of most airlines; Additional $33 for my carry-on! A $14 seat charge! Am I supposed to ride on the wing? Sit on the floor?"

Leanne says airlines need to make fees more transparent at the time of booking. Department of Transportation rules to do just that are in the works.

Crammed

Margaret, of Rockville, Md., said she opened her Verizon bill to discover she had been"crammed" by ILD Teleservices, which billed her $12.95 for a service called Compufix.

"I called the 800 number provided to demand the service be cancelled and the charge reversed," Margaret said. "The woman who answered tried to sell me on the service, saying that my husband had signed me up. He did not. I got a 'confirmation number' for the cancellation, but was told it would take three billing cycles for the charge to be reversed. Immediately after hanging up I called Verizon to report the issue, gave them the cancellation confirmation number and asked them to remove the charge and block all third-party billing on the account. I was told by the Verizon rep that my balance due on the account now reflected correctly, but I guess I will have to see."

In May of this year consumers filed a class-action suit against ILD, accusing the Florida-based company submitted fraudulent affidavits to the local telephone companies claiming that it had the required proper information for each transaction. The suit charged the actions violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly known as RICO.


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