One person complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about Amazon’s Alexa recently, after an advert for the Echo Dot voice-activated speaker system apparently added some cat food to the owner’s shopping basket. The owner cancelled the order so didn’t actually receive any unsolicited cat food, but still.

The complaint suggested that it was “socially irresponsible” of Amazon to do such a thing, after having suffered the stress of seeing their little virtual shopping basket violated by the appearance of some Purina sachets. Amazon told the ASA that it has filters in place to stop advertising wording from triggering orders, which makes it sound a little like everyone’s suggesting this complainant might be making up the whole thing or was, at worst, slightly miffed at having cat food automatically inserted into his or her basket and took the complaining to the very top as a result.

Either way, the ASA says Amazon’s not at fault as any erroneously detected spoken orders have to be actively confirmed by the buyer before a man drops the actual product off, so this minor modern inconvenience may continue. [ASA]



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