Online store rep calls Arab customer a ‘dog,’ ‘terrorist’

Online store rep calls Arab customer a ‘dog,’ ‘terrorist’

Haifa resident sues Class-Deal for NIS 200,000 after customer service tells him, ‘We don’t sell to Arabs’

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

The Class-deal online shopping website, an arm of the  Dingli Industry Group. (Raoul Wootliff/Times of Israel)
The Class-deal online shopping website, an arm of the Dingli Industry Group. (Raoul Wootliff/Times of Israel)

When Fadi Geries called the Class-Deal customer service, he hoped he would receive the pair of shoes he had ordered months earlier from the online shopping site. Instead, what he got was a barrage of racist abuse with the sales assistant telling him, “We don’t sell to Arabs.”

According to a report in the Ynet news site, the 26-year-old Haifa resident placed an order with the site, part of the Dingli Industry Group, in July with the promise he would receive the delivery within 15-35 working days. Geries told Ynet that when he first called to inquire about the order he was told the delay was caused by a backlog of orders and the notoriously slow Israeli postal service.

When he called again a week later, Geries, who works as the head cashier at a branch of the Mega supermarket chain, was met with an unexpected response when a sales representative told him over the line, “Listen, you Arab, we don’t sell to Arabs, death to Arabs. You dog, you terrorist.”

Geries said he tried to remain calm but the abuse continued. When he asked where the company was based he was told “Where will you go to, you Arab? We’re in London.” As Geries tried to argue against the treatment he was receiving, the sales representative told him, “Go, you Arab, there is no product, we don’t sell to stinking Arabs here. Go fuck yourself,” before hanging up on him.

Gereis told Ynet that he called the customer service number again but was met with laughter from other sales representatives when he told them what had happened. When he asked to speak to a manager he was transferred back to the first representative he had spoken to, who told him, “Did you hear? We don’t sell to Arabs. If I’d known you were an Arab I wouldn’t have approved your order. Because you’re a stinking Arab.”

Following the incident, Geries filed a lawsuit against the company for NIS 200,000 ($52,400), according to Ynet.

Dani Oren, a representative for The Dingli Industry Group, said the incident did not represent company policy and the delay in delivering the package was due to the postal system.

“All packages arrive, this is absolutely guaranteed. The parcels arrive from Holland. It’s true that a few packages have been held up in postal systems abroad, and they are on their way to Israel, he said.

Responding to Gereis’ specific claims, Oren said, “Regarding the complaint, I want to stress that there has never previously been a problem with customers from the Arab sector. The representative in question had been with us temporarily and did not receive all the instruction necessary, but he used awful words that came into his head without any oversight from the site management.

“On behalf of the company abroad, we strongly condemn the attitude of this junior employee and I will personally make sure that he is fired immediately. We take very seriously the racist behavior of the employee, which disrespected one of our customers, and will take care to ensure that such incidents will not recur in the future.”

Dingli is traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Class-Deal is the company’s Israeli distributor.

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