So you’ve heard about Apple’s new credit card, and you want to give it a try. Before you sign on the dotted line, there is at least one aspect of Apple’s agreement (besides any fees and percentage rates) that you’ll want to pay attention to: the arbitration clause.
Arbitration clauses have become extremely popular in agreements between companies and consumers — and for good reason. When you agree to arbitration, you are basically putting most of the advantages in the company’s court. For example, most arbitration clauses deny you the opportunity to become part of a class action suit or to individually sue the company. Instead, an arbitrator (often chosen by the company) reviews the case and then makes a ruling that cannot be appealed.
In the case of Apple’s new credit card, the agreement that you would be asked to sign is the standard agreement offered by Goldman Sachs (which is backing up the Apple Card). Specifically, the arbitration clause starts as follows:
By accepting this Agreement or using your Account, unless you reject arbitration as provided below, you acknowledge that YOU ARE GIVING UP THE RIGHT TO LITIGATE CLAIMS (AS DEFINED BELOW) AND THE RIGHT TO INITIATE OR PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION. You hereby knowingly and voluntarily WAIVE THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD IN COURT OR HAVE A JURY TRIAL on all Claims subject to this Agreement. You further acknowledge that you have read this arbitration provision carefully, agree to its terms, and are entering into this Agreement voluntarily and not in reliance on any promises or representations whatsoever except those contained in this Agreement.
And that’s just the introduction.
But you can opt out of this arbitration clause. The agreement that you sign for the Apple Card gives specific directions on how to do it. Basically, it says that you’ll have to contact the company within 90 days after you open the account, using Messages, calling 877-255-5923 toll-free, or writing to Lockbox 6112, P.O. Box 7247, Philadelphia, PA 19170-6112. It will want the following information.
- Your name
- The email address associated with your account
- The mailing address associated with your account
- A statement that you are “exercising your right to reject this arbitration provision”
That’s it! If you don’t have the time to read the entire agreement (it’s 15 pages of small print), this will take care of the arbitration clause. However, it may be worth your while to take the time to read the whole thing since going through the agreements for these credit cards is an education in itself.