A recent report called chargebacks a “crisis” for online merchants, but they can also be blamed for putting Goldman Sachs, and perhaps Apple, into the crosshairs of a U.S. government investigation. The New York City-based financial institution has acknowledged it is facing a probe by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rooted in its chargeback process.
In 2019, Goldman Sachs partnered with Apple on a consumer credit card tied to users’ iPhones. While the card runs on Mastercard’s payment rails, it is not branded. Goldman said the “rapid growth” of the card has overwhelmed its process for resolving disputes between cardholders and merchants that end up as chargebacks—often the first indication a merchant has of fraud.
An anonymous source told CNBC that the CFPB investigation was initiated because Goldman was having trouble resolving disputes within timelines required by federal regulations and that customers were being given conflicting information and being subjected to long wait times.
According to the source, Goldman has received “more disputes than it counted on,” which online merchants likely could have predicted for them. In 2021, according to a recent survey, 67 percent of U.S. consumers filed a chargeback.
Goldman disclosed the investigation in its quarterly form 10-Q filed with the US 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,” the bank confirmed in a statement, “including with respect to the application of refunds, crediting of nonconforming payments, billing error resolution, advertisements, and reporting to credit bureaus.”