Mastercard battles return of $19 billion UK class action

Mastercard battles return of $19 billion UK class action
  • Clock-gray 15:41
  • calendar-gray 25 March 2021

A specialist London court will this week re-consider allowing an historic 14 billion pound ($19 billion) class action against Mastercard to proceed, which could entitle adults in Britain to about 300 pounds each if successful, APA reports citing Reuters.

Former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks, who alleges that Mastercard overcharged more than 46 million people in Britain over nearly 16 years, hopes the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) will certify the case after the UK Supreme Court overruled objections to it proceeding in December.

A two-day court hearing will kick off on Thursday and will determine the fate of Britain’s first mass consumer claim -- and clarify the rules for a string of other competition class actions that have stalled in its wake.

Merricks, who is being advised by U.S.-headquartered law firm Quinn Emanuel, alleges Mastercard charged excessive “interchange” fees – the fees retailers pay credit card companies when consumers use a card to shop - between May 1992 and June 2008 and that those fees were passed on to consumers as retailers raised prices.

Mastercard says the claim should not be brought, that people received valuable benefits from its payments technology and that the lawsuit is driven by U.S. lawyers and backed by organisations focused on making money for themselves.

“We fundamentally disagree with this claim...,” it said.

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