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December 20, 2013

American Express to pay $75m to settle class action litigations

American Express has agreed to settle two putative antitrust class actions filed by US merchants that challenged the company’s card acceptance agreements.

By Verdict Staff

American Express has agreed to settle two putative antitrust class actions filed by US merchants that challenged the company’s card acceptance agreements.

The settlement agreement will address both merchants and its American Express Card members, claims the company.

The first lawsuit, In re American Express Anti-Steering Rules Antitrust Litigation, challenged the non-discrimination provisions in the company’s merchant contracts. The lawsuit dates back to 2006 and is pending in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The second lawsuit, In re Marcus Corporation, challenged American Express’ Honor All Cards Provisions. This lawsuit dates back to 2004 and is pending in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

American Express managing counsel Tim Heine said that they believe the terms of the settlement continue to balance the interests of card members and merchants.

"While the modification of our contract provisions gives merchants some additional flexibility, many merchants continue to believe, as we do, that surcharging is fundamentally anti-consumer. Few merchants have taken advantage of earlier opportunities to surcharge out of concern that it could risk alienating customers, and drive them to patronize competitors who do not surcharge," Heine added.

"Resolving these lawsuits will allow us to stay focused on helping merchants build their business and strengthen their customer relationships."

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