Editors’ observe, May 12 This put up has been up to date with remark from Amazon.
Amazon expanded Echo’s characteristic set this week with a seemingly benign. Thanks to an replace to the Alexa app that got here down this week, now you can use your Echo to name different Echo customers in your contact listing, hands-free.
It sounds very handy, however there is a catch.. It sounds inconceivable, however Amazon has included no method to block particular person contacts within the app replace. It additionally has no method inside the app to disable the calling characteristic wholesale when you flip it on. Fortunately there is a resolution, however it’s slightly clumsy.
How does Alexa deal with your contacts within the first place?
Through the Alexa app in your telephone, you could first allow Alexa calling, then grant Amazon permission to scan your telephone’s contact listing. Once it completes that scan, Amazon builds an Alexa-specific contact listing based mostly in your contacts who’ve additionally enabled the Alexa calling characteristic.
That means anybody in your telephone’s contact listing — your plumber, your dentist, your boss or an ex — can name your Echo instantly, even in the event you’ve blocked their calling privileges in your telephone’s contacts.
Elise Oras, a advertising and occasions supervisor in Raleigh, North Carolina, first documented this issue and Amazon’s clumsy resolution in a Medium put up earlier in the present day. Here’s what you will have to do.
Head over to Amazon’s contact web page
For now, your solely possibility to shield your Echo from unwanted calls is to disable the calling characteristic utterly. To try this, you want to name Amazon instantly.
To get the proper division at Amazon, head to the Amazon contact page and be certain to log in to your account. From there you want to navigate by way of a set of primary questions to filter down to this particular situation. Select “Amazon Devices and Kindle Apps” on the high of the web page, choose your Echo, then choose Echo Devices from the second a part of the questionnaire. For “Issue details” there is no such thing as a particular “Alexa calling” possibility, so go along with “Something Else.”
In part three, select the telephone possibility, which is able to take you to a web page the place you’ll be able to enter a telephone quantity by which Amazon buyer assist can attain you. I obtained a callback about 10 seconds after I entered my quantity.
What occurs while you name?
Once you are on the telephone, you will be prompted to press “1” to show you are an actual human and never a bot. I referred to as at round 5:10 PM ET on a Friday, and had to maintain for a couple of minute (and was prompted to push “1” once more) earlier than a human picked up. Your maintain time could fluctuate relying on the time of your name.
The service rep who finally answered the telephone was pleasant, regardless that she appeared stunned by my request to cancel Alexa calling. She requested me to wait whereas she seemed up the answer, and at first thought I would want to submit a type. She put me on maintain for a couple of minute, after which obtained again on to inform me that she did certainly have the power to disable Alexa calling from her workstation. She gave me no pushback on my request, which was a nice shock.
Once she disabled calling on her finish, she knowledgeable me that I’d have to log off of the Alexa app on my telephone and log again in to full the disabling course of. I personal just one Echo, an Echo Dot, however she instructed me that if I had a number of Echo models, the method can be the identical.
You want to name once more in order for you to flip the service again on (as soon as you have deleted any unwanted contacts out of your telephone’s contact listing).
This scorched-earth method to contact administration is clearly a poor substitute for a contact-by-contact method. An Amazon consultant knowledgeable me a call-blocking characteristic is within the works, and it will likely be launched “in the coming weeks.”