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    Supreme Court Rejects Visa, MasterCard Appeal

    WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected the appeal by Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard of a ruling that made 4 million retailers part of an antitrust lawsuit, Reuters reports.

    WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected the appeal by Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard of a ruling that made 4 million retailers part of an antitrust lawsuit, Reuters reports.

    The justices let stand a ruling by a U.S. appeals court in New York that gave the retailers class-action status in a 1996 lawsuit accusing Visa and MasterCard of using their power in the credit card industry to force merchants to accept their allegedly costly debit cards.

    The 1996 lawsuit, led by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., alleged that Visa and MasterCard forced the retailers to pay excessive transaction fees, driving up costs to consumers.

    In the Supreme Court appeal, Visa and MasterCard said the retailers seek damages of about $100 billion. The large class could make damages so high that the defendants will be coerced into settling, regardless of the merits of the claims, they said.

    The retailers called the $100 billion figure as "fanciful." They told the high court the case involved a preliminary damages estimate of $8 billion.

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