Alexa can be the roach motel of skills; They go IN but don’t come OUT

Developers unable to remove their skills from the Alexa Store

 

We had an instance where we needed to remove a skill from the Alexa store for a period of time. Normally, this is easy: just click the button to remove and a day or so later it’s removed. Simple.

Not so with this particular skill.

We submitted the request to remove the skill from the Alexa Store. Afterwards we would decommission the AWS server that it was running on so we could stop incurring charges while the skill was not live.

We waited a few days. Nothing. We waited a week. Nothing. The skill is still live and we’re racking up AWS charges.

We opened a ticket for Amazon to look at what’s happening. They responded with “click the remove button”. Huh? Um, that’s what we did – multiple times.

More back and forth with Amazon.

Another week later, they responded again saying “it’s an Amazon bug, we’re developing a fix for it”.

I reminded them that if they couldn’t remove the skill, we kept incurring AWS charges. We didn’t want to simply kill the server and leave a live skill hanging for users to get failures on. Not our style.

Then, they closed the ticket. When I clicked on the link they provided to reopen it, I got:
You’ve got to be kidding! Amazon can’t remove our skill and now their ticket system is broken! This just keeps getting better and better.

 

I opened a NEW ticket and referenced the original ticket. A few days go by again and they respond again with “it’s an Amazon bug, we’re developing a fix for it” and closed the ticket. I again tried to reopen it and got the same response “A problem has occurred. Either the session has timed out or we are unable to display the information. Please refresh this page and sign in, or try again later.

 

It’s going on a month and a half since we started this process. We’re continuing to incur AWS charges on a skill that we wanted to remove but Amazon can’t. And, we can’t talk to Amazon about it.

 

This is another good example as to why people should think twice about trying to build and manage their own skills! We absorb the frustration so you won’t have to.

 

Let’s see how many months this plays out, and how much it costs us. Updates to come.

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