American multinational financial services corporation MasterCard has been accused of overcharging 46 million customers in Britain. – A lawsuit was filed by law firm Quinn Emanuel on behalf of multiple claimants to sue MasterCard for £14 billion, marking the largest legal claim in British history, The Guardian reported Thursday.
from Press TV:
The company apparently set charges, known as “interchange fees,” at an unlawfully high rate, according to the lawsuit filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
The UK’s former chief financial services ombudsman, Walter Merricks, initially brought up the allegations on behalf of 46 million consumers, saying, “The filing of this claim is the first step towards consumers obtaining compensation for what MasterCard did.”
“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,” he noted. “There is no basis upon which MasterCard can contend that its card fees were not unlawful.”
MasterCard had just been done with a ten year long lawsuit from the European Commission, in which the European court of justice ultimately determined in 2014 that the company’s fees for cross-border transactions were too high.
“MasterCard lost this battle at every level and showed complete disregard for its cardholders and consumers at large, focusing instead on generating unlawful profits,” Quinn Emanuel said in a statement.
The company responded to the new allegations by releasing a statement, alleging, “Now that the claim has been filed, we will take time to review it in detail, however we continue to firmly disagree with the basis of this claim and we intend to oppose it vigorously.”
“We deliver real value through the benefits of security, convenience and consumer protection, and we are committed to investing in our payment services in order to continue to meet the rapidly evolving needs of all our customers.”
Headquartered in the MasterCard International Global Headquarters, Purchase, New York, the company said such cases are thrown out of the court in the United States, adding that interchange fees are good for consumers
“They are now preparing for a tough legal battle which we estimate will go to trial in 2018 unless they are prepared to make UK consumers a fair settlement offer before then,” said Boris Bronfentrinker, a Quinn Emanuel partner. “It is not clear how MasterCard can now turn around and argue the opposite to prevent our case from succeeding.”