If you paid extra for the privilege of making Alexa sound like a celebrity, bad news: The option is going away. The good news? You can get your money back, if you ask.
As The Verge reports, notices have appeared on the Alexa celebrity voice pages for Samuel L. Jackson, Melissa McCarthy, and Shaquille O’Neal warning that the voice skills are no longer available for purchase.
What’s more, the notices say that those who did purchase the McCarthy and O’Neal voices will only be able to use them until September 30, while the option to use the Samuel L. Jackson voice expired back in April.
Here’s the full text on the Alexa celebrity voice page for Melissa McCarthy:
Melissa McCarthy’s Alexa voice is no longer available for purchase. Customers who previously purchased the experience may continue to use the skill until Sept 30, 2023 by saying “Hey Melissa”.
It wasn’t initially clear if users who bought the celebrity voice skills would get refunds once the voices are pulled from Alexa.
But contacted for comment, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed you can get a refund, so long as you ask.
“After three years, we’re winding down celebrity voices,” the Amazon spokesperson said. “Customers will be able to continue using these voices for a limited time, and can contact our customer service team for a refund.”
The Amazon rep added that Alexa users who had purchased the Samuel L. Jackson voice for Alexa had been notified in December that the voice would be pulled, while those who paid for the McCarthy and Shaq voices will get “four month’s notice” that the voices will be going away.
Each Alexa celebrity voice costs $4.99, although Samuel L. Jackson’s voice initially cost just 99 cents.
Alexa celebrity voices debuted back in 2019, starting with Jackson’s voice. At first, you had to say “Alexa, ask Samuel” to make Alexa answer queries using Samuel L. Jackson’s voice, but by 2020, you could simply say “Hey Samuel.”
When using a celebrity voice, Alexa can tell jokes, tell you the weather, and acknowledge the performance of basic tasks (“OK’), among other things. Shopping, lists, reminders, and skills were not supported, however.
Besides celebrity voices, Alexa finally added the option for a male voice in 2021.
Updated shortly after publication with comments from Amazon, including confirmation that refunds will be given to those who paid for the Alexa celebrity voices.