By Chad Bray
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--A subscriber filed an antitrust lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio Inc. (SIRI) on Monday, alleging the merger of Sirius and XM last year created an abusive monopoly that has raised prices "above competitive levels."
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Monday, alleges the combined company has raised its prices and failed to increase consumer program choices despite its commitments to regulators before the merger was approved.
"The company's illegal and deceptive conduct has harmed competition and injured customers in the (satellite digital audio radio service) market in the United States," the complaint said.
The lawsuit claims Sirius XM committed to the Federal Communications Commission not to raise prices of its basic package for 36 months after the merger was completed.
Instead, Sirius XM has used its monopoly power to raise fees not governed by the FCC's order, such as the fee for multi-radio subscribers, according to the complaint. The lawsuit claims a multi-radio subscriber with one additional radio has seen their subscription fees increase by 40% since the merger.
The complaint, which is seeking class-action status, was filed on behalf of Carl Blessing, a Florida resident and Sirius XM subscriber, by law firms Grant & Eisenhofer PA in New York and Cook, Hall & Lampros LLP in Atlanta.
The lawsuit claims Sirius XM violated federal antitrust laws and state consumer protection statutes.
A Sirius XM spokesman didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment late Monday.
-By Chad Bray, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-227-2017; firstname.lastname@example.org