A fresh bid to claim £14bn for Mastercard customers has today been launched.
Walter Merricks, a former chief ombudsman of the Financial Ombudsman Service, filed a claim against the credit card provider in September 2016.
He argued that Mastercard owed UK consumers a collective £14 billion for charging “unlawfully high” ‘interchange fees’ between 1992 and 2007.
The case was rejected by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in July as it believed the claim wasn’t eligible for a “collective proceeding” (class action).
However, Mr Merricks and his legal team have today filed an application with the CAT asking for permission to appeal its original decision. They believe that if the CAT agrees that the Court of Appeal can consider the case, the Court will agree the claim should be allowed to proceed.
Boris Bronfentrinker, the Quinn Emanuel partner representing Mr Merricks, says: “Together with Mr Merricks’s team of highly experienced barristers, we have carefully analysed and considered the Tribunal’s judgment and identified a number of manifest errors in the reasoning and approach of the Tribunal.
“We consider that when the Court of Appeal gets the opportunity to consider the detailed legal arguments we have prepared, it will rule in Mr Merricks’s favour and allow the claims against Mastercard to proceed.”
Mr Merricks adds: “I am very pleased that the fight for compensation for the substantial losses that Mastercard has caused to UK consumers continues.”
What are inter-change fees?
So-called interchange fees are levied by credit card companies and paid by retailers when processing card transactions. However, retailers pass these fees on to consumers in the prices they charge for goods. So, while you will never be asked to pay an interchange fee yourself when using a debit or credit card, you indirectly do so – even when paying by cash.
Mr Merricks says UK consumers, including cash purchasers – and not just Mastercard holders – have lost money as a result. In 2007, the European Commission told Mastercard to reduce the level of its fees.