Visa/MasterCard Interchange Fee Litigation
Visa and MasterCard (the “Networks”) have been embroiled in antitrust litigation for the better part of a decade. Merchant plaintiffs have alleged that the Networks have colluded with their member banks (many of the largest known banks in the world) to fix interchange fees (the cost merchants pay to accept credit and debit cards) at supracompetitive levels. Not only have the banks served on the boards of directors for the Networks and approved high, fixed interchange fees, the banks have agreed not to compete for merchant card acceptance business. To prevent effective competition between the banks and take away the tools merchants need to get the banks to compete for their business, the banks (and the Networks) have agreed to impose certain Rules (competitive restraints) on the merchants, including the Honor All Cards Rule (if accept one Visa card, merchant must accept them all – even the most expensive cards to accept), No Discount Rule (merchant cannot discount Chase bank cards, for example, to get banks to compete for their business), and the No Surcharge Rule (merchant cannot surcharge credit or debit cards to drive consumers to lower cost forms of payment like cash or lower cost credit, i.e. one without extensive rewards).
Merchants reached a class settlement with the Networks and their member banks regarding these claims and provided a deadline for merchants to opt-out of the settlement by May 28, 2013.
David Wynne successfully represented a billion dollar fuel distribution and convenience store conglomerate against the Networks and related banks, using innovative and creative litigation strategies to maximize the value of our client’s claims. Our firm has extensive knowledge regarding the Network industry and has retained the foremost, preeminent experts in the field. We won significant legal victories against the Networks and bank defendants – victories no other firm in the country has been able to achieve during the course of the interchange fee litigation.
The Second Court of Appeals recently voided the class certification and related settlement agreement on June 30, 2016. The Second Circuit found in part that merchants who were unable to opt out of the injunctive relief class and who were forced to provide a release that continued into the future (the Rule 23(b)(2) injunctive relief class) were not adequately represented and that there was an intra-class conflict between merchants who received monetary damage relief and those who received only injunctive relief.
A new window is now available for retailers to opt out of the class action and pursue their claims on an individual basis. Please contact David Wynne at our firm if you are interested in learning about our creative and innovative strategies to effectively pursue these antitrust claims.