SiriusXM Canada fined $3.3 million for “misleading” customers with hidden fee

SiriusXM Canada has been fined $3.3 million after an investigation found the company engaged in misleading pricing practices.

The Competition Bureau said the subscription-based satellite and online radio company has agreed to pay the fine following an investigation into its subscription price representations.

The Bureau found that Sirius was engaging in a practice known as “drip pricing.”

The agency determined that outside of Quebec, Sirius was advertising its satellite radio and streaming plans at prices that were not attainable because of a mandatory fee.

The Music Royalty and Administrative fee increased the monthly cost of a plan by 10-20%, meaning consumers couldn’t purchase subscription plans at the advertised price.

Under Canada’s Competition Act, drip pricing has been ruled as “false or misleading … unless the additional fixed charges or fees are imposed by the government, such as sales tax.”

Drip pricing was officially recognized as a harmful business practice under Canadian law in June 2022, following amendments to the Competition Act.

In addition to paying the $3.3 million fine, Sirius will pay $30,000 to cover the cost of the Bureau’s investigation.

It has also agreed to stop engaging in drip pricing or promoting unattainable subscription plan prices and pledged to enhance its compliance program.

In a statement, Matthew Boswell, Canada’s commissioner of competition, said consumers “should be able to trust that the price they see is the one they pay.”

“Consumers are entitled to clear and precise information and should never be surprised by hidden or additional fees,” he stated.