Customers vent at SpaceX with price increases

  • Starlink customers told Insider they are frustrated with the price increases announced in March.
  • Two said they had trouble getting their $100 deposit returned for uplink kits they didn’t receive.
  • A common complaint about Starlink is the lack of customer service.

Alan Sbi was fed up with his satellite


broadband

provider because


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meetings, live


streaming

, and other basic internet services just wouldn’t work. Then, in February 2021, Sbi, who lives in the mountains of North Carolina, paid a $100 deposit for a SpaceX Starlink uplink kit.

Sbi told Insider that since then he hasn’t heard from Elon Musk’s satellite internet company and hasn’t received his uplink kit. And to make matters worse, Starlink has just raised its prices at every level – even for customers who are still waiting to receive their hardware.

In March, SpaceX told its customers it was raising prices because of inflation, among other things. The price of a Starlink uplink kit has gone up from $500 to $550 for customers who have already paid a deposit, and from $500 to $600 for new customers. The monthly cost of a Starlink subscription has risen from $99 to $110 for all users.

In late March 2022, Sbi requested a refund of his Starlink deposit because of price increases – but had trouble getting his money back because he can’t get hold of the company.

“I feel like I was tricked by Starlink,” Sbi said. “This is not a fair business practice. The company has had my money for over a year, I need that money back, there shouldn’t be any conditions on how to get my money back.”

Sbi isn’t the only customer frustrated with Starlink’s delays, price increases and apparent lack of customer service.

Rich Kecher, in southern Virginia, said he had trouble refunding his Starlink deposit after about a year. He told Insider about an “outrageous miscommunication” from Starlink, which pushed its scheduled start date for service in its area from November 2021 to late 2022.

“The price increase was the last straw,” said Kecher.

After ordering Starlink in April 2021, Denise Elise said she received two emails from Starlink – one confirming payment and one about the price increase.

She told Insider, “I don’t want to cancel my order because I live in a rural area and I need some kind of internet. I really want to try this.” However, she said she was unhappy that Starlink had raised prices before receiving her uplink kit, adding that Musk was “making money on our money”.

Elise said that Starlink did not respond to any of her emails.

Tim Nash in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains received his Starlink kit in February 2022. A month later, he was hit by the Starlink service’s price hike.

Despite paying more than he initially expected, Nash said Starlink was “worth it” – but complained that customer service was “almost non-existent”.

“If your internet isn’t working, how do you get help?” said Nash. “Strange model.”

Lluc Palerm, an analyst at Northern Sky Research, said Starlink customers hit by price increases on products they hadn’t yet received “obviously” had “something to be angry about.” He said Starlink “wasn’t investing resources in customer service, so it’s only natural that you get these kinds of complaints.”

Palerm said, “They’re a startup, and their main focus is now on constellation and development, so it’s not surprising that their customers have received very little support.”

He suggested that Starlink terminals are worth far more than their inflated cost, with the industry putting the value of each terminal at around $2,000.

Insider verified the four Starlink customers’ complaints about the company through proof-of-purchase emails and correspondence they sent to SpaceX.

SpaceX did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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