MasterCard is confronted with a record class action lawsuit in the UK, risking a multi-billion pound fine for imposing additional card charges to its customers. This is the first legal case carried out in the framework of the recent Consumer Rights Act 2015, which protects customers that have incurred losses in competition cases by enabling them to submit collective damage complaints.
The claim is the result of a long-winded legal battle started in 2014 between MasterCard and the European Commission over interchange fees imposed on cross-border debit and credit card transactions. MasterCard is believed to have illegally taxed its clients over 16 years, from 1992 to 2008, for a total of £19 billion. The cost of the fees has been passed from retailers to consumers, resulting in highest prices for goods and services.
Claimants are represented by the Quinn Emmanuel law firm. The trial should be held in 2018, starting with the first hearing in the coming months, and the claim will probably be submitted to the Competition Appeal Tribunal – a specialist court for competition law cases.
For its part, MasterCard is firmly opposed to the class action. The company stated that “electronic payments deliver real value to people online, instore and everywhere” and that they provide safe and secure payments to all its customers, including retailers and governments.
Source: Financial Times,”Mastercard faces one of the UK’s first class action lawsuit”, July 6 2016