Grocers Opt Out of Interchange Settlement
The National Grocers Association, one of the groups which first brought an anti-trust suit against large credit card-issuing banks and the major card brands, has opted out of the preliminary settlement of its case and has urged other litigating retailers to do so as well.
The case charges that the issuers and card brands violated anti-trust laws in setting interchange rates.
"The NGA Board carefully considered not only what is in the best interests of the retailers and wholesalers it serves, but also all other merchants who will be adversely affected by the proposed settlement,” said NGA CEO Peter Larkin.
“It is clear to NGA that by deciding to opt out and object to the proposed settlement it sends a clear and unequivocal message that the proposed settlement should be rejected at the fairness hearing on Sept. 12, 2013,” Larkin said.
The NGA said it opposes the proposed settlement because it “does not achieve the fundamental objective of restructuring and reforming anticompetitive credit card swipe fees and payment rules, and will only make matters worse for consumers and merchants.” The association also charged that the settlement “does not meet the (legal) standard for being fair, adequate and reasonable. It is unfair because it violates due process. It is inadequate and unreasonable because of the illusory nature of the relief and overly broad reach of the release from future antitrust violations.”
NGA said its opposition to the settlement dated back to back to when it was first proposed as a settlement, according to NGA Director of Communications Lauren Hefner.
“NGA did not initially support the settlement,” Hefner said. “The settlement was proposed on July 12, 2012 and the NGA Board voted last July to reject and oppose the settlement agreement. But in November, Judge John Gleeson preliminarily approved the proposed settlement.
“Between now and May 28, class members can let Judge Gleeson know what they think of the settlement via opting out, objecting, etc. and NGA has officially decided to both opt out and object. A fairness hearing is scheduled for Sept. 12 to determine if the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate.”