MasterCard could Pay 14 Billion Pounds over Lawsuit Fees, in Britain

MasterCard is currently being sued 14 billion pounds (approximately $18.6 billion USD) in Britain for allegedly charging customers excess fees on several million transactions over a period of 16 years.

According to a report from the BBC, this lawsuit regards a 2014 ruling by the European Court of Justice, who found that regulators who had originally condemned the charges were right to do so.  These are the fees that retailers pay banks to process their credit card transactions.  MasterCard has since lowered their fees, but this claim—from UK consumers—is over the damages from the fees charged between 1992 to 2008.

The first stage of the ruling is to take the judgment to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), in London.  Financial Ombudsman Walter Merricks, who is backed by the law firm Quinn Emanual, under the new Consumer Rights Act notes, “The filing of this claim is the first step towards consumers obtaining compensation for what MasterCard did. I am confident that the CAT will authorize the claim to go forward, and I look forward to the opportunity to present our case. This is a watershed moment for consumers redress in this country.”

Under the new Consumer Rights Act, all consumers in the UK who had paid the charges and who currently live in Britain will automatically qualify to be part of the group of claimants—and, of course, all will be eligible for compensation.

In response, MasterCard has said: “Now that the claim has been filed, we will take time to review it in detail. However, we continue to firmly disagree with the basis of this claim, and we intend to oppose it vigorously. We deliver real value through the benefits of security, convenience and consumer protection, and we are committed to investing in our payment services in order to continue to meet the rapidly evolving needs of all our customers.”

MasterCard also says, “we continue to firmly disagree with the basis of this claim and we intend to oppose it vigorously.”

Should the consumers succeed in this first stage, the full trial hearing would probably not happen until 2018.