Retailer Group to Appeal Card Fee Settlement
In the latest development of the ongoing credit card interchange fee dispute between merchants and Visa and MasterCard, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has appealed a $5.7 billion settlement with the payment card networks. This comes after a procedural delay from the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City, which told the NRF to wait until the District Court granted final approval of the settlement before moving forward with its plan to appeal. The NRF obliged, filing its appeal after District Court Judge John Gleeson gave final approval of the settlement last month.
In its appeal, the NRF criticized the settlement for failing to reform the price fixing payments system that has led to increased credit card swipe fees. Instead of lowering fees, the NRF claimed the settlement encouraged merchants to pass them along to consumers in the form of a surcharge, which major retailers have rejected.
As previously reported, a group of retailers brought the original class-action suit in 2005, claiming that the payment card networks illegally colluded to fix interchange fees charged to retailers who accept credit card payments. Since the announcement of the settlement in July of 2012, a number of retail groups voiced dissatisfaction, with about 8,000 opting out of the settlement agreement primarily due to their claim that the settlement granted too broad a release from future interchange related suits. To date, the NRF is the only party to appeal the settlement.