A pet parrot went on a bit of an online shopping spree and ended up getting gift boxes for its owner by mimicking its owner and tricking Amazon's Alexa.
Corinne Pretorius was surprised when a £10 order for gift boxes arrived at her home and quickly figured out that neither her 45-year-old husband Jan nor her eight-year-old son Jaden had ordered them.
It turned out that the family's African Grey Parrot, Buddy, had mimicked her voice and made the order on her behalf.
"I couldn't believe it when I realised that it was Buddy who had used Alexa to make an Amazon order," Pretorius, of Greenwich, told the Mirror. "None of us even knew how to use her for that."
She continued: "We've had the Echo for about four months and I use it to play music or make to do lists but I've never ordered anything online.
"On Sunday we had popped out of the house for a couple of hours, but when I came home, I could hear Buddy talking but couldn't quite make out what he was saying," she said. "Then I heard Alexa say 'sorry I didn't quite get that'. Buddy then said, 'Alexa' and some gibberish, and she replied, 'What is it you want to order?'"
The 39-year-old said she did not think much of the exchange until she received a notification that her Amazon order had been placed.
"I hadn't ordered anything and couldn't figure out what had been ordered," she said. "I asked my husband and my son who didn't know what I was talking about so then I asked Alexa: 'What was my last order?' and she said it was these golden gift boxes.
"I laughed out loud because I knew then and there that it must have been Buddy."
An Amazon spokesman told the Mirror that customers using Alexa to make voice purchasing must confirm the order by saying "yes". Users can also turn off voice purchasing or require a confirmation code before each order.
"Additionally, orders placed with Alexa for physical products are eligible for free returns," he said.
Pretorius said she originally bought Buddy on a whim in 2013. The four-year-old bird always mimics her when she is out of the room, she said.
"He is hilarious - we have a cat and he mimic the cat too, he's such an attention seeker," she said. "With me, he never speaks when I'm in the room because he is listening intently and trying to pick up what I have to say."