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Parker Waichman LLP Takes on the Credit Card Companies, Fights for Smaller Retailers that Form the U.S. Economy’s ‘Backbone’
Date:5/20/2013

estaurants, clothing stores, oil and gas companies, and convenience stores, among other types of tradesmen, and are located in numerous states, including New York, Vermont, Maryland, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. These retailers and merchants, which sell goods to consumers in exchange for credit card payments, pay interchange (“swipe”) fees.

Reasons for the objection to this proposed class settlement are as follows, according to the court papers: The settlement proposes to bind absent class members and release any future claims related to the swipe fees, while providing immunity to Visa/MasterCard and member banks for future anti-competitive behavior; it also releases Visa/MasterCard from liability for conduct unrelated to matters litigated in this case; and it provides illusory, non-uniform and class-wide relief via a surcharge, which many absent class members won’t impose on customers.

Additionally, according to the court papers, the settlement violates class members' due process rights by not providing them with a legitimate right to opt-out. The papers also noted that United States Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois had expressed on the Senate floor: “This proposed settlement does not make our credit card system better. Instead, it gives Visa and MasterCard free reign to carry on their anti-competitive swipe-fee system with no real constraints and no legal accountability to the millions of American businesses that are forced to pay their fees. This is a stunning giveaway to Visa and MasterCard, all for a payout of a mere two months' worth of swipe fees. This is a bad deal.”

“This lawsuit is comprised of the objection of the small retailers that make up the backbone of the American mercantile system. It’s the store on the corner, the local car dealer, and the place where you buy the everyday items that make charge card use so easy and valuable,” said Jerrold S.
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