Posted on June 13, 2023

A Tale of Unwanted Disruption: My Week Without Amazon

Brandon Jackson, Medium, June 4, 2023

On Wednesday, May 31, 2023, I finally regained access to my Amazon account after an unexpected and unwarranted lockout that lasted nearly a week, from Thursday, May 25. This wasn’t just a simple inconvenience, though. I have a smart home, and my primary means of interfacing with all the devices and automations is through Amazon Echo devices via Alexa. This incident left me with a house full of unresponsive devices, a silent Alexa, and a lot of questions.


The sequence of events that led to this digital exile began innocuously enough. A package was delivered to my house on Wednesday, May 24, and everything seemed fine. The following day, however, I found that my Echo Show had signed out, and I was unable to interact with my smart home devices. {snip}

{snip} Puzzled, I followed the advice of the Amazon app and dialed the customer service number it provided. That’s when things began to take a surreal turn.


The representative told me I should have received an email, which I indeed found in my inbox. It was from an executive at Amazon. As I dialed the number provided in the email, I half-wondered if Amazon was experiencing some issues and I was unwittingly falling into a scam.

When I connected with the executive, they asked if I knew why my account had been locked. When I answered I was unsure, their tone turned somewhat accusatory. I was told that the driver who had delivered my package reported receiving racist remarks from my “Ring doorbell” {snip}


Here’s where things got even more baffling. First, I have multiple cameras recording everything that happens on my property. If the driver’s claims were accurate, I could easily verify them with video footage. Second, most delivery drivers in my area share the same race as me and my family. It seemed highly unlikely that we would make such remarks. Finally, when I asked what time the alleged incident occurred, I realized it was practically impossible for anyone in my house to have made those comments, as nobody was home around that time (approximately 6:05 PM).

I reviewed the footage and confirmed that no such comments had been made. Instead, the Eufy doorbell had issued an automated response: “Excuse me, can I help you?” The driver, who was walking away and wearing headphones, must have misinterpreted the message. Nevertheless, by the following day, my Amazon account was locked, and all my Echo devices were logged out.


Despite promptly submitting video evidence immediately upon learning of the issue, my account remained locked. The timing couldn’t have been worse: the onset of Labor Day weekend was approaching, and I was keen to resolve the issue before the long weekend. However, despite numerous calls and emails, it wasn’t until Friday afternoon that I received confirmation that the investigation had started. {snip}

In the end, my account was unlocked on Wednesday, with no follow-up email to inform me of the resolution. {snip}