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US: Visa, MasterCard fail to block renewed swipe-fee suits

 |  July 21, 2014

A federal judge decided Friday to not throw out renewed lawsuits against Visa and MasterCard over their interchange fees, allowing the suits filed by various merchants that opted out of the credit card giants’ $5.7 billion settlement to proceed.

Visa and MasterCard had filed a motion to have more than 30 lawsuits dismissed. The cases were filed by companies including Target, Macy’s and Wal-Mart after the stores opted out of the record-setting settlement offer.

Retailers revised their suits against the credit card firms earlier this month and, in a filing, argue that the firms “have obtained and maintained market power in the market for merchant acceptance of credit cards,” and that the credit card companies have strong-armed merchants into paying “excessive interchange fees.”

In a similar lawsuit, Wal-Mart is seeking $4 billion in damages from Visa for such swipe-fees on grounds that “Visa’s monopoly power has enabled it to dictate price and inhibit competition.”

US District Judge John Gleeson decided not to toss the new lawsuits after approving Visa and MasterCard’s proposed settlement offer last December.

While a small victory for the merchants, Judge Gleeson also decided not to dismiss countersuits filed by Visa and MasterCard against Wal-Mart and other retailers aimed at stopping the litigation against the swipe-fees.

Full content: Bloomberg

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