A Fulton County, GA Apple Store apparently refused to sell an iPad and an iPhone to a woman and her uncle because they were speaking Farsi to each other. The customers are saying the store racially profiled, and discriminated against them.
Sahar Sabet, 19, is a United States citizen and student at the University of Georgia. She and her uncle were recently shopping for an iPad and iPhone at an Apple Store in the North Pointe Mall. They were conversing in Farsi, an Iranian language, when an employee overheard them and asked what language they were speaking.
According to WSBTV, the woman answered, but then the Apple employee said, “I just can’t sell this to you. Our countries have bad relations.”
Another customer, Zack Jafarzadeh, reports that he received the same treatment at another Apple Store. He recently accompanied his friend to the Apple Store in Perimeter Mall to buy an iPhone.
“We never talked about him going back to Iran or anything like that. He was just speaking full-fledged Farsi and the representative came back and denied our sale,” said Jafarzadeh to WSBTV. “I would say if you’re trying to buy an iPhone, don’t tell them anything about Iran. That would be your best bet.”
Sabet returned to the Apple Store on Monday with a reporter, and they caught the same employee describing Apple policy that allegedly prohibits the sale of product to Iranians. A manager showed the duo the policy, which states that the exportation, sale, or supply of Apple products from U.S. to Iran is not allowed without prior authorization by the federal government. The manager said the stores have to “rely on customers to be honest.”
AppleInsider: “Sabet and Jafarzadeh asserted that the Apple Stores in question racially profiled Iranians and discriminated against them, while noting Apple’s policy is both confusing and inconsistent. Sabat even called corporate customer relations to complain. An employee apologized and suggested she purchase the iPad online.”
A representative for the U.S. State Department said it is illegal to enter Iran with “laptops or satellite cellphones” without U.S. consent, but she also admitted she knew nothing of “Apple enforcing that law.”