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January 3, 2014

NRF appeals to overrule flawed credit card swipe fee settlement

The National Retail Federation (NRF), a US-based retail trade association, has filed an appeal with the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule the decision by lower court over a controversial antitrust lawsuit settlement case involving credit card swipe fees.

By Verdict Staff

The National Retail Federation (NRF), a US-based retail trade association, has filed an appeal with the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule the decision by lower court over a controversial antitrust lawsuit settlement case involving credit card swipe fees.

According to NRF senior vice president and general counsel, Mallory Duncan, the settlement does nothing to reform the price-fixing payments system that has let credit card swipe fees skyrocket over the past decade and nothing to keep them from continuing to soar in the future.

"Instead of lowering fees, the card industry’s settlement proposes that merchants pass them along to consumers in the form of surcharges. That is absolutely the opposite of what retailers sought, and major retailers have soundly rejected surcharging," Duncan added.

NRF also pointed out that the verdict was given based on settlement with few individual retailers and not the whole retail industry.

Duncan said a majority of the original plaintiffs in the case repudiated the settlement as soon as they saw its terms. The nation’s largest retailers have spoken out against it, and close to 8,000 retailers and merchants have formally rejected the proposal.

"The only people pleased with this settlement are Visa and MasterCard, because it means they can continue collecting tens of billions of dollars in hidden fees, the class action lawyers who stand to collect half a billion dollars in fees without fixing the problem, and a lower court, which has cleared a time-consuming case off its docket, but has done a serious disservice to merchants and the public in the process," Duncan added.

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