The Apple Credit Card Provided through Goldman Sachs Has Created a Living Hell According to Consumer Complaints

Gunnar Larson g at
Wed Jan 25 07:20:37 PST 2023

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 10, 2022 ~

David Solomon, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs
David Solomon, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs

On August 4, Goldman Sachs provided the following disclosure when it filed
its quarterly report (10-Q) with the Securities and Exchange Commission:

“The firm is cooperating with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in
connection with an investigation of GS Bank USA’s credit card account
management practices, including with respect to the application of refunds,
crediting of nonconforming payments, billing error resolution,
advertisements, and reporting to credit bureaus.”

That bland statement doesn’t really do justice to the hundreds of
complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by
consumers using the Apple credit card that is provided by Goldman Sachs.
The Apple credit card holders are alleging being put through a living hell
by Goldman Sachs when fraudulent charges are made on their Apple credit
card and a host of other problems.

In typical Goldman Sachs style, it has managed to earn the hostility of
everyday consumers, airline pilots, and even a police officer with its
handling of credit card complaints. Unfortunately for Apple, its name and
reputation are being taking along for the ride – which raises the question,
what marketing zombie at Apple didn’t see this coming when he decided to
entangle Apple’s brand with “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face
of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that
smells like money,” as Matt Taibbi famously described Goldman Sachs at
Rolling Stone.

The complaints at the CFPB aren’t helping the J.D. Power brand either. J.D.
Power had announced in August of 2021 that the Apple credit card provided
through Goldman Sachs had ranked number one in customer satisfaction in the
midsize credit card segment. Goldman Sachs’ Chairman of Consumer Business,
Harit Talwar, had gushed as follows about the award:

“Nothing energizes us more than the affirmation that we are providing a
simple, transparent product that delivers value and that customers love.
Creating this experience with Apple has been incredibly rewarding, and we
are committed to continuing to deliver best-in-class service to our
customers. It takes a village, and I am grateful to my colleagues at
Goldman Sachs, the teams at Apple, and all of our partners who have helped
us be No. 1 in customer satisfaction in the U.S. credit card industry.”

But in the very same month of August 2021, as Goldman was celebrating its
J.D. Power award, egregious complaints were being filed with the CFPB.
Here’s a sampling: (the redacted information has been done by the CFPB;
typos are in the original):

A customer in California wrote this:

“This problem has been ongoing since XXXX, I have had to open multiple
disputes through Apple credit card (goldman Sachs) and every time I open
disputes, they ALWAYS favor the merchant ( XXXX ) There were multiple
unauthorized purchases on my card through XXXX, XXXX helped with most of
them besides one order that was {$1400.00}. My credit card issuer Goldman
Sachs is saying that the dispute keeps favoring them no matter what
evidence I give them. I really want to sue or something, I have no idea
what to do now…” (Read the full complaint here.)

A customer in Massachusetts told the CFPB this:

“My 11 year old computer died and I went online to to buy a
replacement one. Their site advertises that you can get an Apple credit
card with 0 % APR for the first 12 months and pay off the computer. When I
tried to redeem that offer, their Goldman Sachs website came back and
extended a {$2500.00} credit limit, which does not cover the cost of a
computer on their site. I called in to get the limit increased to
{$3200.00} because I make {$320000.00} a year and have a XXXX credit
rating. When I called in, their representative told me the only way to
request a credit limit increase to cover the cost of the computer was to
accept the credit card offer and open an account. So I did. He told me the
next day I had to call back to request a credit increase. There was no
other way to get an increase on the application. I have just done that, and
despite making a high salary, having zero credit debt and having an
excellent credit score, Goldman Sachs / Apple has denied the application
and not giving me a reason…” (Read the full complaint here.)

A resident of Virginia wrote this:

“On XX/XX/21, an unknown charge for {$840.00} was Pending on my Apple Card
(Goldman Sachs), I submitted a dispute the same day and was told that,
because the charge was still ‘pending’, they would monitor the charge and
if the charge posted, the dispute process would start with no further
action from me. If the charge did not post, it would just drop off of my
account. Since then, I have made dozens of calls and chat sessions with
Apple Card Support about this charge that posted to my account on XX/XX/21.
On this date, I received a ‘provisional credit’ and exactly one minute
later, the provisional credit was reversed. After many phone calls, I
finally learned that the dispute that I repeatedly called about had been
ruled in the merchant ‘s favor because, they stated, I ‘withdrew my
dispute’ — this is a complete falsehood…” (Read the full complaint here.)

The Apple credit card via Goldman Sachs was only launched three years ago
in August of 2019. Goldman wrote the following at the time:

“Goldman Sachs is the issuer of the card and is responsible for
underwriting, customer service, the underlying platform and all matters
related to regulatory compliance through Goldman Sachs Bank USA.”

For the credit card to have generated hundreds of complaints in such a
short span of time is remarkable and is apparently why Goldman Sachs is now
being investigated by the CFPB. Consider that only a small percentage of
Americans are aware that they can file a complaint with the CFPB to seek
resolution, and fewer still know where to go on the internet to do that. If
hundreds of Americans have filed a complaint, it is highly likely that
there are actually thousands of complaints that have not been filed. The
CFPB knows that from experience.

It’s possible that the folks at Apple are unfamiliar with the century of
abuses to customers by Goldman Sachs. Key milestones include the Goldman
Sachs Trading Company’s conduct in the asset bubble of 1928. The Trading
Company was a closed end fund (called a trust in those days) that Goldman
Sachs created and offered to the public at $104 a share, stuffed with
conflicted investments while paying Goldman a hefty management fee, only to
end up a few years after the 1929 stock market crash trading at a little
more than a dollar.

Then there were the 2010 Senate hearings where Goldman Sachs was shown to
have been allowing hedge fund titan, John Paulson, to pick subprime debt
likely to fail for one of Goldman’s securitized deals. Goldman sold the
product to its customers as a good investment. Paulson made approximately
$1 billion shorting the deal while those on the other side of the trade
lost about $1 billion, while never being advised of the hedge fund
manager’s role. According to the late U.S. Senator Carl Levin, Goldman was
itself shorting (betting on subprime derivative products to fail) while
actively promoting these products to clients. Comedian Jon Stewart started
calling Goldman Sachs “those f*!*!ing guys” during this period.

Equally notable was the 2012 incident when Greg Smith, a VP at Goldman,
tendered his resignation after 12 years with the firm on the OpEd pages of
the New York Times. Smith lamented on “how callously people talk about
ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five
different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets,’ ”
Smith wrote. The “muppets” characterization instantly went viral with
comedic internet memes, like this catchy musical video written by former
Wall Street veteran and law professor Frank Partnoy.

More recently, Goldman Sachs has upped its game to criminal felony charges
leveled by the U.S. Department of Justice in the 1MDB bribery case. The
Justice Department released this statement on October 22, 2020 in
conjunction with bringing the charges against Goldman Sachs:

“Over a period of five years, Goldman Sachs participated in a sweeping
international corruption scheme, conspiring to avail itself of more than
$1.6 billion in bribes to multiple high-level government officials across
several countries so that the company could reap hundreds of millions of
dollars in fees, all to the detriment of the people of Malaysia and the
reputation of American financial institutions operating abroad. Today’s
resolution, which includes a criminal guilty plea by Goldman Sachs’
subsidiary in Malaysia, demonstrates that the department will hold
accountable any institution that violates U.S. law anywhere in the world by
unfairly tilting the scales through corrupt practices.”

The message here is simple, if you’re a company with a good reputation, you
need to do a proper and thorough amount of due diligence before you align
your name and reputation with another company.

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