Apple asks iPhone 7 customer to prove he isn’t Saddam Hussein
Apple has apologised after an admin gaffe saw one bewildered customer being asked to prove he wasn’t the deceased despot Saddam Hussein.
When Sharakat Hussain tried to get a refund for a new iPhone 7 he’d bought, he was absolutely sure he’d never been a Middle Eastern dictator. But Apple wasn’t so convinced about the Birmingham, England resident’s identity, and demanded that he prove he wasn’t an infamous Iraqi tyrant that was hanged back in 2006.
Hussain originally bought the £800 smartphone for his sister last month, but she decided she didn’t want it – maybe she saw our 3.5/5 score? He took it back to the store, according to the Sun, and gave staff his details to get a refund by bank transfer, owing to the large size of the transaction.
But when no cash arrived, Hussain called up Apple to demand an answer. Only then was he sent an e-mail that asked him to confirm he wasn’t dead Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. According to the e-mail, Apple believed Hussain may have been on a ‘Government Denied Parties list’, which would mean they’d be unable to make any sales or refunds.
“I thought the email was spam, I was stunned to learn it was real. I was furious to be linked to Saddam,” the 26-year-old dad-of-two told the Sun.
When Apple tries to make a large transaction (like this refund), it triggers a requirement to check the international sanctions list – human error meant Hussain was incorrectly flagged up as a ‘denied party’. Apple has since promised to refund Hussain, and has apologised for the major bungle. In a statement given to TrustedReviews, an Apple spokesperson said:
“We offer our sincerest apologies to Mr Hussain. Though we are required to check identity while processing a refund, the letter he received was an error and should not have been sent.”
Related: iPhone 8
Watch: iPhone 7 Plus video review
Do you have a story about an unbelievable customer service gaffe? Let us know in the comments.