Amazon Alexa mistakenly orders USD 160 dollhouse

Occurred: January 2017

A six-year-old girl in Dallas, Texas, mistakenly ordered an expensive dollhouse via her Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo device, leaving her parents with an expensive bill.

Megan Neitzel’s daughter was talking to Alexa about a dollhouse and cookies when Alexa mistook the conversation as a request to purchase the goods and ordered a KidKraft Sparkle mansion dollhouse and four pounds of sugar cookies.

Megan later admitted she had never read the manual or learned about Alexa's child lock properties. The system offers the ability to add a passcode to prevent accidental purchases. She later donated the dollhouse to a local hospital.

A San Diego TV report about the incident caused Echoes in viewers' homes to also attempt to order dollhouses. 

Operator: Megan Neitzel
Developer: Amazon
Country: USA
Sector: Consumer goods
Purpose: Provide information, services
Technology: NLP/text analysis; Natural language understanding (NLU); Speech recognition
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Safety
Transparency: Governance