A family in Texas discovered a big flaw in the design of Amazon Echo when $162 worth of treats including a dollhouse and cookies started showing up at their door.
Per ABC News, Megan Neitzel – a mother from Texas – discovered her six-year-old had accidentally ordered $162 worth of treats using Amazon Echo – a popular voice-activated device – without the permission of her parents last week.
According to the mother from Texas, while having a conversation with Amazon Echo, her six-year-old ordered a Kidkraft dollhouse and four pounds of sugar cookies. The accidental Amazon order was delivered to their Texas home the following day.
Megan Neitzel claims she was stunned to learn her six-year-old was able to place an order with Amazon Echo without needing the permission of an adult. The mother from Texas made the decision to share the story of her Amazon Echo mishap with the hopes of other families using it as a learning experience.
“The box was about as big as Brooke (the daughter). We had to use a dolly to get it in the house.”
According to the Texas mother, her six-year-old denied ordering anything from Amazon. The six-year-old, however, did admit to having a conversation with the Amazon Echo about both cookies and a dollhouse.
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The mother from Texas and her husband had just received the Amazon Echo as a gift shortly before the mishap had occurred. The Texas couple set it up in their kitchen without taking the time to read the manual – or enabling the child lock feature. Megan Neitzel and her husband didn’t know very much about the Amazon Echo. They believed their children likely knew more about how it worked than they did.
“We didn’t know the capabilities of the device. I think our kids knew more about it then we did,” the Texas mother admitted.
One of the many features of the Amazon Echo made it possible for Megan to access a transcript of the conversation her six-year-old had with the Amazon device. Part of the conversation included Brooke saying, “I love you so much.” Alexa – the name of the voice – responded by saying, “That’s nice of you to say.”
Megan Neitzel revealed her six-year-old got off the hook for the Amazon Echo mishap pretty easily because she believed the accident was more of a design flaw in the gadget.
“We were able to laugh about it. She’s such a rule follower, and we actually never set a rule saying that she couldn’t order anything.”
In making the decision to use the experience as both a learning and teaching opportunity, the parents from Texas donated the dollhouse to a local children’s hospital.
“In this season of giving, we thought it was important to teach them a lesson about giving. She already has a dollhouse, and those children could use it much more.”
Megan hopes the one thing other parents take away from her story is how fast technology is evolving and how much of an impact it can have on what a child can do from his (or her) own home.
“Technology is evolving amazingly fast, and that’s a good thing, but we need to stay one step ahead of it as parents. It’s important to know all the capabilities of these devices.”
Amazon did release a statement to ABC News expressing that a customer is required to ask the Echo to place an order. The Echo also requires the customer to confirm they wish to make a purchase. The official statement from Amazon regarding the mishap can be viewed below.
“You must ask Alexa to order a product and then confirm the purchase with a ‘yes’ response to purchase via voice. If you asked Alexa to order something on accident, simply say ‘no’ when asked to confirm. You can also manage your shopping settings in the Alexa app, such as turning off voice purchasing or requiring a confirmation code before every order.”
Amazon, however, did not make a statement regarding whether the company will be making any changes to the Echo to make it harder for a child to access the device and all of its functions without the permission of a parent.
[Featured Image by David Becker/Getty Images]