Last summer, some of the country’s largest retailers reached a settlment with Visa and MasterCard that was supposed to put to rest qualms the businesses had with the credit card companies’ alleged practice of fee-fixing. The $7.2 billion settlement didn’t sit well with some, including Target and Macy’s, prompting a group of retailers to file a new lawsuit this week, effectively rejecting that previous agreement.
It all started back in 2005 with retailers claiming that the credit card companies were colluding on the swipe fees they tacked on every time a store accepted a customer’s credit cards, wiping out any competition and keeping those fees high.
When the retailers finally agreed to the settlement last July, we were worried we’d see extra surcharges popping up on our bills. But it seemed, even back then, that not all companies were onboard with the deal, and didn’t want to heap credit card surcharges on customers.
Things are coming to a head with this new lawsuit, which could stem from the provision in the settlement that bars retailers from filing future lawsuits over swipe fees, reports the Associated Press. Welcome to an instance of a future lawsuit, everyone.
The National Retail Federation urged its more than 9,000 retailer members to reject the settlement earlier this week. Included in yesterday’s lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, are TJX Cos., Office Depot Inc., Kohl’s Corp., Abercrombie & Fitch Co., and several others, as well as Target and Macy’s.
Visa’s staying mum on the new legal brouhaha while a MasterCard spokesman only told the AP that his company remains confident that the settlement will ultimately be approved.
Other retailers in the original settlement have until Tuesday to opt out if they want to pursue their own legal action. Those who don’t will automatically be bound by the settlement, and as such, might start tacking those credit card surcharges on to customers’ totals.
Big stores nix credit card settlement, file suit [Associated Press]