• Update on Interchange Fee Settlement

  • Update on Interchange Fee Settlement

    Recently, the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an 80-page Opinion and Order granting preliminary approval to the pending $6.24 billion settlement in the consolidated payment card interchange fee class action case (In Re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, MDL-1720). The settlement class is comprised of all merchants that accepted Visa and Mastercard payment cards from Jan. 1, 2004 to Jan. 25, 2019. The settlement fund is designed to compensate class members for the interchange fees they paid, which were allegedly inflated as a result of certain violations of the antitrust laws by Visa and Mastercard and their participating banks.

    Last December, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) filed objections to the settlement over concerns that branded fuel marketers would not receive notice or payment because their major oil company suppliers are the only entity known to credit card processors. Notice of the settlement should go out shortly and opt-outs may be filed until July.  Finally, a Court hearing will be held on Nov. 7, 2019 to decide whether to approve the settlement. 

    Given that branded fuel marketers ultimately paid the fees, a template has been developed for you to send to your supplier(s) requesting that any settlement monies they receive be paid on a pro rata basis to your company from the Visa/MasterCard interchange fee settlement case.  

    Upon receiving the Court-approved Notice, branded and unbranded marketers will have three options.
    They are:

    1) Opt out of the Settlement Class.  Marketers who would like to continue to pursue the litigation against Visa and MasterCard, in lieu of settling their claims, will have an opportunity to opt out of the settlement class by providing the court with an opt out notice.  The Notice you receive from the Court will advise you how to opt out and provide you with a deadline for opting out and the address to which the opt -out notice should be sent.  If you opt out, you will not be able to file objections to the settlement, and you will not be eligible to file a claim against the settlement fund when and if the settlement receives “final” approval from the Court.  In other words, you will receive no compensation from the settlement fund if you opt out. If you continue to pursue litigation against Visa and MasterCard by opting out, you must retain counsel at your own expense.  The current class counsel will no longer represent you.

    2) Object to The Settlement.  You may file objections to the settlement without waiving your right to file a claim against the settlement fund after final approval is given.  You may not object to the settlement if you opt out.  The deadline to file your objections is July 23, 2019.  Click here and go to page 12 to learn how to object or call 1-800-625-6440.  

    3.  Do Nothing.  If you neither opt out of the settlement class nor file an objection, you will be eligible to file a claim against the settlement fund at the appropriate time after final approval of the settlement is given by the Court. After final approval is given, either in November of 2019 or later, you will receive a claim form from the Court with instructions on how to fill it out and the address to which it should be sent by regular mail or electronically.  When you receive the Court-approved Notice, read it carefully to decide whether to opt out, to file objections, or to simply do nothing.  As long as you do not opt out of the settlement class, you will be eligible to file a claim against the settlement fund at the appropriate time, provided you are a retailer who accepted Visa or MasterCard.

    If you accepted the cards during the settlement period and do not receive the Court approved notice by March 15th, please contact the Class Administrator: Call the toll-free number: 1-800-625-6440; Visit www.PaymentCardSettlement.com; Write to: Payment Card Interchange Fee Settlement, P.O. Box 2530, Portland, OR 97208-2530; Email: info@PaymentCardSettlement.com.

    This notice was originally developed by PMAA and has modified by TFFA.