Mastercard Hit with U.K. Interchange Damage Claim
Mastercard faces a £14 billion claim ($18.6 billion) in the U.K. over interchange fees in a case filed with the country’s Competition Appeal Tribunal. The claim comes two years after the European Union labeled the interchange charged by the payment card network as unfair. European interchange caps went into effect in December of 2015.
The suit stems from former U.K. consumer financial services ombudsman Walter Merricks, who has hired U.S.-based law firm Quinn Emanuel to sue Mastercard under the British Consumer Rights Act of 2015, which enables class action status. Merricks claims the payment card network’s interchange is illegally high and seeks refunds for consumers.
“Consumers were unaware of the level of these fees or that they were illegal,” the law firm said. “The fees were a significant cost for retailers that was then passed on through increased prices of goods and services. All U.K. consumers, including cash purchasers—and not just Mastercard holders—have lost money as a result.”
Mastercard offered no immediate comment but a spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that “we continue to firmly disagree with the basis of this claim and we intend to oppose it vigorously.”