Merchants Seek to Void $6 Billion Antitrust Settlement with Visa, MasterCard
July 30, 2015
Nearly 100 merchants are seeking to void a $6 billion antitrust settlement against Visa, MasterCard and many of the largest U.S. credit-card issuers that won court approval in December 2013 . The settlement, which had been almost a decade in the making, was for damages incurred by merchants due to excessive interchange fees, disadvantageous network routing rules and provisions that forced retailers to accept all a brand’s cards if they were going to accept any. Even at the time of the settlement, many merchants chose to opt out of receiving their share because they would have given up their right to take any other legal action against the card brands and issuers.
A sealed filing in federal court in Brooklyn, according to reports, indicates that the settlement was manipulated by two lawyers on opposing sides of the case who had a personal relationship. Improper email communications regarding the massive settlement were uncovered during a criminal investigation of one of the attorneys charged with stealing from her firm and from MasterCard, who she represented in the antitrust case.
At the time of the settlement in 2013, The National Retail Federation, a trade association representing U.S. retailers, called it “deeply flawed.”
In addition to the MasterCard/Visa settlement, merchants also are using the discovery to reopen a similar, but much smaller settlement with American Express.