Apple Inc. has apologized to a father of two after they refused to immediately give him a refund unless he proved he was not Saddam Hussein — the despotic ruler of Iraq who died a decade ago.
Sharakat Hussain, a 26-year-old from Birmingham, United Kingdom, thought it was spam when he received the accusatory email. He had bought a £799 ($972) iPhone for his sister a month ago, but decided to return it. Because of the high cost of the device, he was told he would receive money through bank transfer, but instead, he got the bizarre email.
The tech giant claimed Hussain was on the government’s Denied Parties list, because of his surname — which means he wasn’t allowed to purchase an iPhone — and to prove he was not the Iraqi dictator.
“I thought the email was spam, I was stunned to learn it was real. I was furious to be linked to Saddam,” Hussain told The Sun.
The event occurred because of a requirement to check large refunds against the international sanctions list, but a human error resulted in Hussain being mistaken for the late president — who was hanged at an army base in 2006 and whose name is spelled differently.
So, it’s quite surprising the staff at Apple Inc. still managed to mix up the two.
Since the bizarre mix-up, the company has promised to refund the phone and apologized for the mistake.
“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,” Apple Inc. responded to The Independent.