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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Court ruled today that an appeal of the proposed class-action swipe fee settlement with Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and other financial institutions should wait until objections to the settlement are filed and heard in September, reported NACS, the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing. This allows settlement notices to continue to be distributed to retailers across the U.S.
"The court's decision to delay an appeal will motivate more retailers to oppose this proposed settlement," stated NACS Chairman Dave Carpenter, president and CEO of J.D. Carpenter Companies Inc. "The proposed settlement does little to address the broken system and could, in fact, make it worse. The courts ultimately cannot let that stand against the will of retailers."
The settlement would end a legal battle dating back to 2005, when retailers accused Visa and MasterCard of violating anti-trust law by fixing swipe fees. In July 2012, a settlement was proposed in which the credit card companies would pay $6 billion to a class of stores and reduce swipe fees by $1.2 billion total for eight months.
NACS rejected the settlement, along with most other named plaintiffs, on the basis that it would fail to introduce competition and transparency into the market. In September 2012, a coalition of retail trade groups including NACS, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and others detailed the reasons for their objection in a letter to leaders in the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
Retailers can opt out of the monetary portion of the case and/or object to the settlement. NACS has provided details regarding the various options here on its website.
"It is important to note that if you do nothing, it will be presumed by the court that you accept the terms of the proposed settlement," said NACS President and CEO Hank Armour. "Even if you submitted a declaration objecting to the proposed settlement last fall, you must respond to the notice and submit something in writing again if you want to opt-out of or object to the proposed settlement."