Class-Action Suit Alleges Visa, MasterCard Fix Fees

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An antitrust class-action lawsuit has been filed against Visa, MasterCard and several major U.S. banks on behalf of a group of merchants, alleging the fixing of credit card fees, law firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP said yesterday.


Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, Minneapolis, is representing merchants in the suit, such as 30 Minute Photos Etc., Irvine, CA; Traditions Classic Home Furnishings, St. Paul, MN; CHS Inc., also of St. Paul; A Dash of Salt, Bridgeport, CT; and KSARRA, Newtown, CT.


The suit, filed June 22 in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, alleges practices by the defendants that cause merchants to pay "supra-competitive, exorbitant and fixed interchange fees for the acceptance of credit card payments," according to the law firm.


"Merchants have little or no ability to negotiate with Visa and MasterCard for lower interchange fees, and these fees are a 'hidden tax' that raise prices paid by consumers for almost every product they buy," Robins partner K. Craig Wildfang said in a statement.


Also named in the suit are Bank of America, Citibank, Bank One, Chase Manhattan Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Fleet Bank, Capital One and other banks.


This move was undertaken because prior litigation proved ineffective and regulatory action is unlikely, Wildfang said in the statement.


Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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