In Britain’s first-ever mass consumer claim, the class-action lawsuit against Mastercard is going to be heard by a specialist court in London, which will decide if the case can be proceeded with.
The lawsuit, which was instituted by former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks, who is being advised by the U.S. law firm “Quinn Emanuel”, imposes a liability of a record £14 billion, for overcharging more than 46 million people over a period of 16 years.
It is alleged that Mastercard overcharged retailers for credit card fees, which were then passed down to the customers in the form of higher prices for their merchandise. If successful, the suit is likely to entitle every adult in Britain to about £300. It is also to be
heard whether or not compound interest should accrue on the outstanding amount, as well as the concern regarding the estates of the deceased. Interestingly, more than a dozen years ago, the European Commission too had ruled that Mastercard charged “unlawful cross-border interchange fees” in these 16 years.
Mastercard, however, denies these claims and states that countless people have benefitted from its payments technology.
This is the first major lawsuit to be filed under the Consumer Rights Act of 2015, which imposes penalties for anti-competitive behaviour, and the outcome might set the stage for other such lawsuits in the future.