Schlanger Law Group recently filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of New York on behalf of businesses that claim Visa and MasterCard, combined with certain banks, violated antitrust laws and caused the plaintiffs to pay excessive transaction fees.
Last year, a federal court approved a multibillion-dollar class-action lawsuit settlement between the defendants and around twelve million retailers nationwide. Retailers that opted out of the settlement chose not to accept class settlement funds and instead sue the defendants individually.
Schlanger Law Group – along with co-counsel Cuneo, Gilbert & LaDuka and Chhabra Gibbs & Herrington PLLC – represents more than two dozen opt-out retailers seeking independent resolution of the claims brought in the class action suit.
Visa and Mastercard Agreed to Largest-Ever Class Action Antitrust Settlement
In 2018, Visa, MasterCard, and banks that include Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay up to $6.2 billion to settle an antitrust lawsuit (In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation) that was litigated for more than a decade. The case originally settled in 2012 but was rejected by an appeals court, which found the agreement unfair because some retailers would receive little or no benefit.
The plaintiffs alleged that Visa and MasterCard conspired to fix debit and credit card transaction fees, in violation of federal antitrust law. They argued the companies used their market dominance to force merchants to pay inflated fees that benefited big banks. Plaintiffs also said Visa, MasterCard, and other banks enforced rules that limited merchants from directing consumers toward other payment methods.
Although they did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, Visa and MasterCard set aside funds to compensate any merchant that accepted Visa or MasterCard credit or debit cards between January 1, 2004, and January 25, 2019.
Some Plaintiffs Rejected Settlement to Pursue Own Lawsuits
Under the settlement, retailers who wished to exclude themselves had until July 23, 2019 to opt-out. Some large retailers, such as Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Kroger, opted out of the settlement. Many smaller retailers—including those represented by Schlanger Law—also chose to opt-out. Any business that opted out may still pursue its own lawsuit.
In addition to seeking damages for our clients that reflect the true amount of their lost profits from defendants’ anticompetitive activities, Schlanger Law Group and its co-counsel seek a court order (an injunction) that would prevent the defendants from continuing their harmful behavior.
Schlanger Law Group Levels the Playing Field
Schlanger Law was founded to defend the financial rights of everyday Americans. We have a track record of leveling the playing field for Main Street businesses and consumers against some of the largest companies in the world. Our consumer protection attorneys in New York City have the resources and skills to take on big business—and win. With help from Schlanger Law, Main Street businesses and everyday consumers have a fighting chance in court, even when up against the large and sophisticated businesses.
If you have been the victim of illegal business practices, we want to talk to you. Call today for a free case evaluation.