The lawsuit detailed on this page was sent to individual arbitration after an appellate panel found that the plaintiff had agreed to an arbitration provision by continuing to use Sirius’ services after receiving several copies of a customer agreement containing the provision.
In a January 18 decision, the appellate panel agreed with the lower court’s finding that the plaintiff was bound by Sirius’ arbitration provision, noting that he had used the satellite radio provider’s services on and off over the course of 15 years and had been sent several hard copies of the agreement governing his relationship with Sirius.
“The totality of plaintiff’s actions over the fifteen-year relationship with defendants establishes implied assent,” the panel wrote.
While the plaintiff argued that the agreement containing the arbitration provision was written in small font and did not sufficiently explain that he was waiving his right to trial, the appellate panel disagreed. The panel noted that there is no requirement for specific language, font size or format for contracts under New Jersey’s Plain Language Act. Moreover, the arbitration agreement stated in “clear, simple language” that any dispute would be resolved through binding arbitration, the panel wrote.
Sirius XM Satellite Radio and its CEO are on the receiving end of a proposed class action wherein the plaintiff claims the company violated New Jersey consumer protection law by baiting and switching subscribers as a means to sell “select service” radio packages for higher prices and shorter lengths of time than advertised.
Filed in New Jersey Superior Court and removed to federal court, the lawsuit says that Sirius has agreements in place with every major automaker to offer satellite radio in certain vehicles, an avenue through which the company reportedly acquires the majority of its customers. The initial costs of Sirius XM subscriptions are usually bundled into the sale or lease price of a vehicle, the case states.
Sometime after the plaintiff deactivated his Sirius XM service, he received from the company in December 2017 an offer to reactivate it at a “select service” discount of only $99, a price the man says he was told would lock him in for three years of uninterrupted Sirius XM select service, the lawsuit says. According to the defendants’ offer, the plaintiff would purportedly pay only $2.75 per month until 2020, or 82 percent of the current monthly rate for a Sirius XM subscription, and would be able to cancel at any time without having to pay a reactivation fee. Allegedly included in the plaintiff’s offer was a letter signed by the Sirius XM CEO.
Upon heading to the Sirius XM site to sign up for the offer, the plaintiff, after entering his account number supplied through the advertisement, was presented only with “a less-attractive and more-expensive offer,” the lawsuit says. The plaintiff claims he called Sirius XM’s customer service and informed them the “select service” offer was unavailable online, only to be told the company’s computer system showed no options for the advertisement account number he provided. Instead of receiving the plan outlined in the advertisement, Sirius XM customer service attempted to sell the plaintiff a one-year plan at a cost of $60, the lawsuit says.
Though the plaintiff accepted the more expensive offer, albeit under the condition that the customer service representative escalate his grievance to a superior, the lawsuit stresses that the above-described situation is “the same and/or substantially similar to the course of conduct engaged in” by Sirius XM with other consumers in New Jersey.