Belfast Telegraph

£14bn damages claim faced by MasterCard

By Josie Clarke

A damages case worth £14bn has been filed against MasterCard in a UK collective action over card charges that were passed on to shoppers.

The claim - led by former financial services ombudsman Walter Merricks, who has instructed US-based law firm Quinn Emanuel - was filed yesterday at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London under the new Consumer Rights Act 2015.

The plaintiffs claim that MasterCard set unlawfully high interchange fees - charged to stores when shoppers swipe their debit or credit cards - for 16 years, which were passed on to consumers in the form of inflated prices for goods and services.

In 2014, the European Court of Justice declared that such fees were in violation of EU antitrust regulations.

On April 29 last year, both the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted the Interchange Fee Regulation, and caps of 0.2% for debit cards and 0.3% for credit cards came were introduced on December 9.

MasterCard has said that it "firmly disagrees" with the basis of the claim.

Speaking about the case, Mr Merricks said: "MasterCard charged billions of pounds of unlawfully high fees for its sole benefit and to the detriment of consumers.

"It has already been found to have broken competition law, the basis of which was to protect consumers, and that cannot be disputed."

Belfast Telegraph