Judge halts £14bn Mastercard lawsuit
Written by Chris Lemmon
A £14 billion lawsuit filed against Mastercard claiming it collectively overcharged more than 45 million UK consumers over a 16-year period has been rejected by a judge.
The judge and the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) agreed with the global payments firm that the claims were not suitable under the current collective actions regime, meaning that the case will not go to trial.
A statement from Mastercard read: “We welcome the Competition Appeal Tribunal's judgment refusing certification for the proposed collective action.”
The lawsuit follows a ruling from a European Union court that Mastercard’s processing fees for cross-border transactions were unfair. It was filed by Walter Merricks, who led the UK organisation that handles consumer disputes with banks, and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.
Merricks said: “I am concerned that this new regime, designed to benefit consumers, may never get off the ground. The granting of the collective proceedings order in this case would have allowed 46 million consumers to recover the losses caused to them by Mastercard’s proven illegal conduct.
“It is, however, unfortunate that the tribunal considered that it was not satisfied that my experts would be able to get the evidence to show that the illegal fees charged by Mastercard to businesses were then passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.”
Commenting on the lack of success of collective actions regimes in the UK, Marc Israel, a partner at White & Case, said: “This is a real setback for the collective proceedings regime. It may well deter other potential class representatives from seeking to act on behalf of potential claimants and incurring the time and expense in seeking to become a representative in such cases.”