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    NRF Files Swipe Fee Settlement Appeal

    Retail industry rejects consumer surcharges: trade org

    The National Retail Federation has formally filed an appeal of the antitrust lawsuit settlement covering credit card swipe fees, in which it requests that the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturn a lower court’s decision granting the settlement final approval.

    “The settlement does nothing to reform the price-fixing payments system that has let credit card swipe fees skyrocket over the past decade and nothing to keep them from continuing to soar in the future,” explained Mallory Duncan, SVP and general counsel at Washington, D.C.-based NRF (above left). “Instead of lowering fees, the card industry’s settlement proposes that merchants pass them along to consumers in the form of surcharges. That is absolutely the opposite of what retailers sought, and major retailers have soundly rejected surcharging.”

    Class Action System ‘Abuse’

    Duncan noted that rather than widespread retail industry agreement with the ruling, “there’s a settlement with nine individual retailers whose views are not representative of the collective industry. A majority of the original plaintiffs in the case repudiated the settlement as soon as they saw its terms, the nation’s largest retailers have spoken out against it, and close to 8,000 retailers and merchants have formally rejected the proposal. This is an abuse of the class action system and should never have been approved.”

    According to Duncan, the only entities to be satisfied by the settlement “are Visa and MasterCard, because it means they can continue collecting tens of billions of dollars in hidden fees, the class action lawyers who stand to collect half a billion dollars in fees without fixing the problem, and a lower court, which has cleared a time-consuming case off its docket, but has done a serious disservice to merchants and the public in the process.”

    The Arlington, Va.-based National Grocers Association, representing U.S. independent grocers, said last month it would also appeal the settlement.
     

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