Customers fan out at SpaceX over price hikes


  • Starlink customers told Insider they were frustrated with price hikes announced in March.
  • Two said they had trouble getting their $100 deposits back for uplink kits they hadn’t received.
  • A common complaint about Starlink is its lack of customer service.

Alan Sbi was fed up with his satellite


broadband

supplier because


Zoom

meetings, live-


Diffusion

, and other basic internet services just wouldn’t work. So in February 2021, Sbi, who lives in the mountains of North Carolina, put down 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 just raised prices across the board, even for customers who are still waiting to receive their hardware.

In March, SpaceX announced to its customers that it was increasing its prices due to inflation, among other things. The price of a Starlink uplink kit has increased from $500 to $550 for customers who have already paid a deposit, and from $500 to $600 for new customers. Monthly Starlink subscription cost increased from $99 to $110 for all users.

At the end of March 2022, Sbi demanded a refund of its Starlink deposit due to price increases – but struggled to get its money back as it cannot get its hands on the company.

“I feel like I was scammed by Starlink,” Sbi said. “These are not fair business practices. The company has had my money for over a year, I need this money, there should be no strings attached on how to receive my money.”

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

Rich Kecher in southern Virginia said he struggled to get his Starlink deposit refunded after about a year. He told Insider of an “outrageous lack of communication” from Starlink, which had pushed back its planned start date for the service in its region from November 2021 to late 2022.

“The price increase was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Kecher said.

After ordering Starlink in April 2021, Denise Elise said she received two emails from Starlink – one a payment confirmation, the other about the price hike.

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

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

Tim Nash, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, received his Starlink kit in February 2022. A month later, he was hit by rising prices for Starlink service.

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

“If your Internet connection is not working, how do you get help? Nash said. “Weird model.”

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

Palerm said, “This is a startup, and their main focus now is constellation and development, so it’s no surprise that their customers have received very little support.”

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

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

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

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