Walmart opted out of a $5.7 billion class action settlement approved by a federal judge in December between merchants, Visa and MasterCard over swipe fees charged to merchants when customers pay with debit or credit cards. Target and Amazon also opted out of the monetary part of the settlement in order to seek their own damages.
This fresh lawsuit was filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, where Walmart’s headquarters is based, reports Reuters, and Visa has yet to comment on it.
Part of the problem centered on a part of the settlement that would’ve held anyone agreeing with it from suing Visa and MasterCard in the future over the rules disputed in the case, or anything similar that could crop up along the line.
Walmart wants damages for price fixing that it claims took place between January 1, 2004 and November 27, 2012, saying Visa and other banks colluded to set high fees for card swiping, rubbing out any competition and essentially forcing retailers to accept the fees or potentially have to pass them on as surcharges to customers.
“The anticompetitive conduct of Visa and the banks forced Wal-Mart to raise retail prices paid by its customers and/or reduce retail services provided to its customers as a means of offsetting some of the artificially inflated interchange fees,” Walmart says in court documents. “As a result, Wal-Mart’s retail sales were below what they would have been otherwise.”
Walmart is staying mum on its plans to possibly file a similar suit against MasterCard, but it would seem likely that it will, considering past litigation.
Follow MBQ on Twitter where there are no fees for doing so: @marybethquirk