Retailers Appeal Interchange Settlement
Retailers displeased with U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson’s adjudicated settlement of litigation surrounding credit card interchange appealed his decision Monday.
Judge Gleeson, pictured at left, approved a negotiated settlement between retailers and defendants Visa, MasterCard and six major banks. Lawyers representing 13 individual retailers and six trade associations ranging from convenience stores to restaurants announced a $7.25 billion proposed settlement in 2013.
The National Retail Federation, which had not been party to the original suit, announced its intent to appeal the settlement in January. Monday’s filing follows up the announcement. The Retail Industry Leaders Association joined in the filing.
“The truth is that there is no settlement with the retail industry, only an agreement with a handful of merchants who do not represent the industry as a whole,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said in a release about the appeal.“Given that the judge knew this backroom deal was opposed by a broad range of small and large retailers alike and allows these fees to continue to skyrocket, it clearly should never have been approved. This is a serious mistake the appellate court needs to correct.”
“The retail community remains fully committed to fighting this flawed settlement and addressing the fundamental lack of competition in the electronic payments market,” RILA Executive Vice President and General Counsel Deborah White said in the same release. “Quite simply, the proposed settlement not only undermines merchants’ legal rights and fails to restrain Visa and MasterCard’s ability to increase swipe fees with impunity, but it also has broad implications on the rights of others in future meritorious class action cases.”
The Electronic Payments Association has contended the retailer’s complaints about the settlement ring false because retailers who brought suit had been present in all the negotiations. And, the group said, the firms had agreed to the court-approved deal.