WHEN AN OLDER WOMAN ASKED ALEXA TO SAY HAIL MARY, IT CHARGED HER A RECURRING SUBSCRIPTION
Some people really do seem to love Amazon’s assistant, Alexa. At first blush, I do, too. But I’m old enough to remember old TV shows and movies where the idea of an automated assistant was a pipe dream. Yet this technology is not only real, it’s now fairly common. Yet so far, I’ve demurred from satisfying my inner geek child. This story only reinforces why. An older woman England is a devout Catholic and has an Alexa. So one day, she asked Alexa to say the Hail Mary. Alexa did just that, delighting the woman. She even made it a daily habit. And that turned into a recurring subscription?
DAUGHTER JOKED ONE HAIL MARY BETTER THAN ALEXA RECITING THE ROSARY, AMAZON SHRUGS
This is why I hate free trials! But this is even worse, and by design. The woman’s son explained that his mom had inadvertently agreed to a subscription that would charge her £2 a month just to play a recording of the Hail Mary. That’s money for Amazon, the kind of money that adds up into a large pile when people don’t catch the accidental charge for months. The woman’s daughter joked that it was a good thing her mom hadn’t asked Alexa to say the Rosary. For you heathens out there, that’s a set of prayers that includes the Hail Mary 53 times.
BUT AMAZON LOVES MONEY, EVEN IF ACCIDENTS ARE BY DESIGN, EVEN FOR HAIL MARY AT HOME
But again, this is why I don’t have a digital assistant like the high-end ones from Amazon or Google. Even if you are tech savvy, it’s too easy to make a simple error you don’t know about for months (or longer!) that cost you real money. And it sure seems to be by design. If you say yes to confirm a command, that can be all the agreement Amazon needs to confirm a contract. And when it comes to privacy concerns, these assistants leave everything to be desired. For me, this story is about how asking for a Hail Mary made it clear this is about heil, money for Amazon.