Your products are a pain in the butt. No seriously, a real pain in the butt. I had the most incredibly frustrating time trying to get your products into my car.
I had an original Sirius Sportster. I never liked the way I had to suction cup attach it to the window of my car but it worked fine.
I have a cobalt LS, not my first choice of cars, but it was what was available to me at the time I needed a car.
One day not too long ago my Sirius Sportster simply stops transmitting data. It would turn on, but I received no sound from the Radio station. At first I thought it was a bad antenna so I called Radio Shack and asked if I could buy a replacement antenna.
They guy on the phone told me they don’t make antennas for that model anymore, however, I could buy a whole new unit for the price of the antenna that I could find on ebay.
Wow I thought a whole new unit for under $30, well what it turned out to be was a smaller, less featured packed unit. However I was going on a long road trip and I needed the radio so I bought the Starmate unit. What I found was it was impossible to find a station to listen with the unit. Every station I tried either had overlap at some point or the sound quality sounded worse than AM with horrific static!
I even went on the website to try and find some stations I could use in my area and even those seem to have overlap. With that the unit itself did not seem to be producing enough power to overcome the standard FM signal.
So I decided at this point to try and put a whole new radio in my car. I figured I might as well get this done right. I called Best Buy and asked them if I could purchase a unit for my car, that would give me satellite radio and get it installed that day.
They of course said ‘yes’.
I went to Best Buy, walked in the front of the store, bought a Pioneer radio, bought the Sirius tuner, and walked around back to get my radio installed. After the guy at the store gave me a weird look he told me that he needed a special adapter that he would have to re-pin to get the radio into my car. This added to the cost of the installation. After agreeing to this, I left my car and I didn’t get more than 4 minutes away on foot before he called me and indicated that they did not have the part for this re-pin and would have to special order it.
Disgusted I went home and tried calling around for this part and no other store has this special harness. I called another Best Buy store they not only told me it would cost more, but that they used different parts?
I decided to call Columbus Car Audio and see what they could offer. The guy on the phone indicated he would have to look at the car to get an idea on what was needed. I also called two Chevy dealerships and neither knew how to install a radio into a Cobalt, and one even said it might be impossible to be done.
After going to Columbus Car Audio they indicated they could do this install, but once again it required special equipment. In fact the adapter for the radio, required an adapter.
At this point my total cost for this project was coming to just under $800. Disgusted I took all the equipment back, canceled my special order and called Sirius to cancel my subscription because the device was useless.
The woman on the phone indicated that yes the new radios were less powerful due to the FCC and that what I could do is get a FM direct adapter to the radio. This would directly into the antenna of my car and override the FM signal. However investigation proved once again that I needed an adapter, FOR the adapter just because my car was the Cobalt.
Granted my amount was now $140 instead of $800, but seriously how hard is it to get a simple radio in the car. I became completely frustrated and disenchanted with this process. It shouldn’t be this hard to take out radio, and put in another. I cannot express to you the amount of frustration of not being able to put anything compatible into this car to get this radio system to work!
After talking to some friends at work, I was told that the general way cars work now is that the radio stores most of the computer logic for the car. The one guy at work even showed me how easy it is to install this FM adapter myself. Saving me over $200 in labor!
First off, both your companies should basically sue the FCC for inability to have your product. Second you both could learn a lot from Apple in terms of design. I would image that some better design on the cars and radios would provide a much better way for someone to install a radio. I hate the outside radio attachment, it just looks ridiculous, and really wanted something internal and built into the radio. I found this impossible and was told over and over again that the Chevy Cobalt seems to be the one car that you can’t do ANYTHING with.
I am definitely NOT buying Chevy next time, and I purchased a FM transmitter for my iPOD to play my music. After purchasing a FM transmitter for my iPhone I found that it had auto seek and was able to find stations that were available in my area, but even this FM transmitter has better sound quality and more power than my Sirius Starmate radio.
I don’t wish to place blame, but I highly recommend you take these problems and frustrations I have into consideration with your products and work to make them more suitable for buyers. All I wanted was commercial free radio in my car, and it became the biggest ordeal I ever had to deal with.
Anthony S. Anselmo