Export · Legal

Experience With DHS Targeting for Export Law Violations?

Tony Dykes CEO at NovolBio

June 3rd, 2015

We sell a sort of high tech eyewear for correcting color blindness and as soon as our product went on the market we began to be approached by people offering to place large orders if we would ship to Iran, which is a violation of US export controls. It is not subtle targeting. Our first month the glasses were on the market in 2012 we had four inquiries from the UK and 22 from "Iran." When informed that we will not ship to the country as it is illegal they usually return offering to trans-ship our product via another country. Not "oh, well how about I buy them for my other store in Dubai?" but "what if we route the shipment which will be sent to Iran through Dubai first?" The eyewear costs $400 (half what it was when all of this started) and the average Iranian makes $3,500 a year, it's not even remotely plausible.

Does anyone have experience in this kind of Customs/Department of Homeland Security targeting? Any idea how to get off of whatever list we are on or who to complain to? I would say we get about 40-50 requests a year now despite rejecting each and every one of them. There is clearly some kind of bounty system in play.