Voice-command purchasing is enabled as a default on the Alexa devices and we have read several stories of Alexa following commands from the TV to place orders online. Many households in America were confused when Dollhouses started turning up on their doorsteps for it to be traced back to a segment on a TV show that featured a story of a family who were confused as to why a Dollhouse had appeared and then discovered their little girl had asked Alexa “can you play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?”
The device was simply following a command however when the show aired many other Alexa devices also followed the command and the influx of Dollhouses started! Since then it has been impressed upon owners that adding a security code to confirm purchases is essential, you should check that you have set up this feature to ensure you don’t get any surprises on your doorstep, too!
But what happens if you do receive a package that you definitely did not order?
We recently had this enquiry which raised an interesting question about consumer law around receiving items you haven’t requested or placed an order for.
Q: I recently received a vacuum cleaner – original price £120, now reduced to £89 – from Amazon which I did not order. The address is my own and it was delivered by DPD, but there was no packing note in the box.
I contacted Amazon but hit a brick wall. Firstly, it is not shown on my orders and, up to this point, there hasn’t been a charge. Secondly, Amazon says it doesn’t know who sent it as it was a logistics company who delivered for a merchant from Amazon Marketplace. Thirdly, it claims not to know who the retailer was that used the delivery service. Amazon says to keep the item, but my main concern is why my account address was used and the failure to say who placed the order.
A: These items are called “unsolicited goods” and you are completely within your rights to keep them, as detailed in the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.
If you subsequently receive a demand for payment, ignore it – it is a criminal offence.