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April 17, 2019

Court of Appeal revives £14bn damages claim filed against Mastercard

The £14bn damages claim filed against Mastercard by former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks on behalf of 46 million customers in the UK has got approval to proceed after the Court of Appeal reversed an earlier ruling of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).

In July 2017, CAT ruled that the lawsuit against MasterCard for overcharging 46 million customers cannot be processed as a class action lawsuit.

The Court of Appeal has, however, rejected this ruling now. It stated the tribunal had applied the wrong legal test in arriving to a decision.

Following the reversal of the earlier ruling, the CAT will now have to relook into the case.

Merricks earlier filed the claim under the Consumer Rights Act of 2015.

Lord Justice Patten, along with Lord Justice Hamblen and Lord Justice Coulson, said that CAT had “demanded too much” information regarding the fees charged on transactions using Mastercard and how these fees were passed on to customers.

According to the Court of Appeal, CAT had also misdirected itself on how any damages which might be awarded were to be divided among claimants.

Merricks was quoted by Law Society Gazette as saying: “It’s now time for Mastercard to admit the damage they did, to apologise to the British public, and to agree to pay the compensation they owe.”

Merricks’ solicitor Boris Bronfentrinker has been quoted by ManchesterEveningNews as saying: “Today is truly a landmark day for all UK consumers that Mr Merricks seeks to represent in a claim to recover the billions in damages caused to them by Mastercard’s unlawful anti-competitive conduct.”

Mastercard has been quoted by Financial Times as saying: “Mastercard continues to disagree fundamentally with the basis of the claim and we believe UK consumers receive real value from the security, convenience and consumer protection of our payment services.”

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