Amazon says caller blocking for Alexa/Echo is coming, amid customer complaints

Echo Dot
Amazon’s Echo Dot is one of the devices that supports voice calling. (Amazon Photo)

Some early adopters of Amazon’s new Alexa voice-calling feature for the company’s Echo devices have been surprised to find that they can’t keep specific contacts from calling them when the feature is enabled, if those contacts have their phone number and have enabled Alexa voice-calling themselves.

“Among my contacts were old landlords, many co-workers, random vendor account managers, city councilmen, and of course, crazy ex-boyfriends,” said Alexa/Echo user Elise Oras in a Medium post, after an exchange with Amazon Support on Twitter about the issue. “And each one now has a direct line into my home.”

Oras, who had an exchange with Amazon Support about the issue, was also surprised that she wasn’t able to disable the Alexa calling and messaging feature without calling Amazon customer service to handle it.

Contacted by GeekWire about the issue, an Amazon spokesperson said, “If you enable Alexa calling and messaging and decide that you don’t want to use the feature, you can simply call Amazon customer service and they will disable it for you. We will introduce the ability to block callers in the coming weeks.”

The free Alexa voice-calling and messaging feature is available on Amazon’s existing Echo and Echo Dot, the Alexa smartphone app, and the forthcoming Echo Show, a $230 touch-screen device unveiled this week. Here is Amazon’s FAQ for Alexa calling for more information on the feature.

We tested out the Alexa calling feature from Echo to Echo on our GeekWire podcast this week, and you can listen below to what happened.