The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents America’s largest retail companies, announced today that it will opt out and object to the proposed swipe fee class action settlement with Visa and MasterCard. The proposed settlement stems from lawsuits challenging the interchange practices of Visa and MasterCard and is pending before the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York.
“RILA and the overwhelming majority of our members agree that the proposed class action settlement is a bad deal for retailers,” said Deborah White, executive vice president and general counsel. “The proposed settlement undermines merchants’ legal rights forever and fails to restrain the continued growth of swipe fees increases.”
By opting-out and objecting RILA not only registers its opposition to the terms of the deal, but also rejects the financial reward available to it under the terms of the proposed settlement.
Merchants argue that the proposed settlement fails to address the anticompetitive practices that were the genesis for the lawsuits and denies merchants their right to challenge these practices ever again in court. Specifically RILA believes that the proposed settlement is unacceptable because it:
- Locks in the Visa/MasterCard duopoly,
- Provides no relief from interchange rate setting or other rules,
- Denies all current and future retailers their right to bring future legal action related to interchange rules and rate setting, among other things against Visa, MasterCard and the banks, and
- Could limit emerging innovations that can bring meaningful competition to the marketplace, such as mobile payments.
In November 2012, RILA joined a majority of named class plaintiffs and nearly 1,200 others urging the court to deny preliminary approval to a proposed settlement.
Each member of the merchant class, which includes estimated 8 million merchants, has until May 28 to weigh in with the court in advance of a September 12 hearing in federal district court.
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.