Gift horse, mouth, etc.
November 19, 2009 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Why am I getting free Sirius?

I bought a Kia Soul+ in July (great car, just made the IIHS's 2010 top safety list!) and was graced with the 3 month free Sirius subscription. Awesome, but not awesome enough for me to pay for it, so when it ran out in October I wasn't terribly upset. I got myriad letters from SiriusXM asking me to come back, giving me offers, etc. but I ignored them and they stopped coming.

Then, like 3 days ago when I was turning on the stereo I hit a bump and my finger pushed the satellite radio. Low and behold, it loaded my stations right up and started playing!

Now, I went to check the Sirius website to see what status my subscription was at, but I realized I never made an account (confirmed by entering my Sirius ID, they didn't have an account on file for it,) and when you go to make an account it asks for your credit card number. I didn't want to accidentally end up actually paying for it, so I stopped there.

So my question is, has anyone seen something like this happen? Did they send me a letter that I missed offering me a free trial or something?
posted by InsanePenguin to Technology (17 answers total)
6 days ago I got an e-mail from Sirius saying that my radio (cancelled last year) is being re-activated for two weeks of free listening - that's probably what you're getting too, but they don't have contact info for you. More info on the Sirius Canada site.
posted by pocams at 9:57 AM on November 19, 2009

I bought a Soul+ Denim Edition about 4 months ago and it also had that 3 months radio is still going too! I am putting off calling them and asking why because I love FREE. Perhaps its a bug with the Souls?
posted by Jenny is Crafty at 10:00 AM on November 19, 2009

Like pocams says, it's a promotion - the party's over on Nov. 30.
posted by DandyRandy at 10:02 AM on November 19, 2009

My wild-ass guess is that when your service is up, they have to send a deactivation signal to your receiver (your receiver, after all, is presumably not transmitting anything back to a satellite). Maybe they only do this for a while, or periodically: i.e., it wouldn't be practical to send out deactivation signals to every lapsed subscription in perpetuity. The upshot might be that if you let your subscription lapse but don't use the set for a while (I would've guessed months or years, not weeks), it a) won't have ever received the deactivation signal and b) they won't still be sending it.

But, you know, just a guess.
posted by chalkbored at 10:07 AM on November 19, 2009

Response by poster: Hey Jenny, was your radio ever not working? Just curious, because mine definitely shut off when it was supposed to. I'm going with pocams and DandyRandy, I guess I'll find out on December 1st!
posted by InsanePenguin at 10:15 AM on November 19, 2009

I cancelled my Sirius Canada subscription in July 2009. It took several tries to do this: they offered me 2 free months, then another free month, but I still decided to cancel at the end of it.

A few days after the subscription lapsed, I turned on the radio and still got signal. I phoned them, concerned I was still being billed, and they told me that it would take "a while" for it to totally disconnect and I wasn't being charged. So I tuned in every week or so and listened in, guilt-free.

I had full service up until last week, when I started hearing little gaps in the signal, and just a couple of days ago, it completely disconnected and told me to call to get a subscription.

So enjoy your free time, whatever duration it turns out to be. I think that besides the technical reasons for sending out infrequent deactivation signals, it's to their benefit to tempt you to come back.
posted by maudlin at 10:39 AM on November 19, 2009

Response by poster: See, that's where I'm confused maudlin, because I got that little message telling me to call for a subscription right when I was supposed to. I'm guessing it's probably a promotion. Sucks, though.
posted by InsanePenguin at 10:46 AM on November 19, 2009

If it is that November 30 promotion, it's just another sign that Sirius has bizarre business sense. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason about how people get disconnected immediately or indefinitely, or how promotions are applied.
posted by maudlin at 10:58 AM on November 19, 2009

seem likely that they might need audience size more than subscription fees, and are letting some accounts slide. I've had this happen with daily newspapers, and assumed they needed the circulation numbers.
posted by bendybendy at 11:41 AM on November 19, 2009

My friend's sirius ran for 14 months after he stopped paying for it. Then one day driving down the road it shut off and wouldn't work any more. Methinks their system isn't bugproof.
posted by TomMelee at 12:07 PM on November 19, 2009

Numbers over fees make some sense for newspapers and magazines, as I remember a factoid saying they earn more from ad placement than subscriptions or newsstand sales, but Sirius has so little advertising (no ads at all on the music channels) that they wouldn't be able to leverage those numbers to higher ad rates that would make up for lack of subscriptions.
posted by maudlin at 12:07 PM on November 19, 2009

XM (same thing as Sirius now, no?) seems to have some really weird-ass business plan. I canceled my subscription on two radios about 4 months back. Since then I get regular calls and emails begging me to come back, the latest email offers me 6 months of service for $4 a month (yes, that's FOUR dollars a month). I am holding out for the 50 cent offer which I think can't be too far away.

I think they really want the subscriber numbers as opposed to the $$, but I have no idea why.
posted by 543DoublePlay at 12:32 PM on November 19, 2009

This article on XM encryption (from this askme) might be helpful. In essence it speculates that if you do not use your satellite radio for some time it might not get the signal telling it that it has been deauthorized and so will continue to get the signal for free. Some of the other answers sound reasonable, too.
posted by TedW at 12:48 PM on November 19, 2009

(For those wondering why: More subscribers = higher advertising revenue. An ad that runs on a station with 20,000 listeners costs $2,000, but a station with 50,000 listeners goes for $5,000.

Just pulling numbers out of my head, FWIW.)
posted by bhayes82 at 2:30 PM on November 19, 2009

Penguin - my radio has not stopped working...but incidentally I got a letter from Sirius today saying that they had extended me through December 15th and that I would be getting a notice in the mail in December with the option to renew. Darn.
posted by Jenny is Crafty at 3:34 PM on November 19, 2009

Same thing here. I am betting they want the subs' representation wether they are paying or not.
posted by bkeene12 at 8:12 PM on November 19, 2009

I bought a new (2009) Ford in July 2008 and it came with a free temporary Sirius subscription. I can't remember exactly how many months it was supposed to be ( 3 months I think), but it ran for about a year without me contacting them. Too bad too, the radio suddenly had static on it while a great song was playing. I wasn't billed or anything like that for the extra months.
posted by Taurid at 12:08 AM on November 20, 2009

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