Class-action settlements often involve websites with information for the class members.
But in the case of a multibillion-dollar class action lawsuit against Visa and Mastercard, plaintiffs’ lawyers said there’s something unusual about a website tied to that litigation: It apparently offers false and misleading information.
As Reuters reported Monday (Nov. 13), a federal judge has agreed to investigate the site, which lawyers argued is presenting bogus info about the $5.6 billion settlement that merchants reached with the two card companies over credit and debit card fees.
When the companies reached the settlement in 2019, the court authorized a website for class members, according to the report. The other site in question closely resembles this one.
In a court filing earlier this month, plaintiffs’ attorneys reported what they called a “highly suspicious” website called settlement2023.org.
“This website was brought to our attention because another company received a voicemail purportedly from rap legend Snoop Dogg that promotes the settlement and leads to the settlement2023.org website,” the filing said.
The probe by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Marutollo in Brooklyn could shut down the unauthorized site and void any client contracts that resulted from it, the report said.
The class-action suit resulted from merchants’ claims that the card networks overcharged them on interchange fees and blocked them from steering their customers to other payment methods that did not charge fees.
An appeals court in March upheld the original settlement, ordering the card companies to pay $5.6 billion. Visa and Mastercard have denied any wrongdoing.
That settlement was approved by a court in 2019 after a $7.25 billion settlement granted by a different judge was voided by an appeals court because it gave insufficient consideration to some of the retailers.
The threats “created a wave of new technologies that evolved quickly,” Fabara said, “and generative AI may be among the technologies that are ‘the next frontier’ in terms of protection for transactions and the payments ecosystem.”