For decades, interchange fees imposed by Visa and Mastercard have been a source of concern for merchants and consumers. These fees are charged to merchants each time a transaction is made with a credit or debit card, and are intended to cover the costs of processing payments. Merchants often view these fees as excessive and unfairly imposed, as they have no opportunity to negotiate rates with the credit card networks.
The law firm Harcus Parker decided to take matters into their own hands by launching a class action against Visa and Mastercard in 2016. This class action seeks compensation for all individuals and businesses who made bank card payments in Europe between 1992 and 2018, due to the pricing of interchange fees.
In this text, we will look at the details of Harcus Parker’s class action against Visa and Mastercard, starting with an overview of the background to the case. We will then examine the arguments put forward by Harcus Parker and how individuals and businesses can join the class action.
Background to the case
Interchange fees imposed by Visa and Mastercard have been a concern for merchants and consumers for decades. In 2007, the European Commission launched an investigation into Visa and Mastercard’s interchange fees and concluded that the two companies had breached EU competition rules. In response, Visa and Mastercard agreed to reduce their interchange fees for intra-European transactions.
However, not all merchants and consumers were satisfied with the reduction, and several lawsuits were filed against Visa and Mastercard in the US. In 2012, Visa and Mastercard agreed to settle a lawsuit for $7.25 billion. This agreement was criticised by some as it did not guarantee that merchants would receive long-term interchange fee reductions.
It was against this backdrop that the law firm Harcus Parker launched its class action against Visa and Mastercard in 2016.
The arguments put forward by Harcus Parker
Harcus Parker argues that Visa and Mastercard have priced interchange fees at excessive levels, resulting in high costs for merchants and therefore consumers. The law firm claims that interchange fees were set anti-competitively, and that the credit card networks refused to negotiate rates with merchants.
Harcus Parker also claimed that Visa and Mastercard violated EU competition laws by setting high interchange fees and preventing competition among card issuers in Europe. According to the prosecution, the two companies acted together to impose uniform interchange fees, which were excessive and unrelated to the actual costs of processing transactions. This practice also prevented card issuers from offering lower fees, thereby limiting competition in the card payments industry.
Why this legal action?
The law firm Harcus Parker believes that Visa and Mastercard have illegally set interchange fees for credit card payments, resulting in excessive costs for consumers and merchants. Interchange fees are calculated as a percentage of the transaction amount and are intended to cover the costs of processing payments. Merchants often consider these fees to be excessive and unfairly imposed, as they do not have the opportunity to negotiate rates with Visa and Mastercard.
The impact of these fees on consumers has been the subject of much debate, with some going so far as to argue that prices of products and services have been artificially inflated to compensate for interchange fees.
Businesses have also incurred significant costs as a result of these fees, impacting on their profitability and ability to offer competitive prices. Charities have also been affected as they have had to pay interchange fees for donations they have received.
Law firm Harcus Parker believes that consumers and businesses have been victims of this illegal practice for almost 30 years, and that it is time to hold Visa and Mastercard to account.
How to join the class action?
The class action lawsuit by law firm Harcus Parker against Visa and Mastercard is open to all individuals and businesses who made payments by credit card in Europe between 1992 and 2018. This includes individuals, SMEs, large companies and charities.
To join the collective action, individuals and businesses can register on the Harcus Parker law firm website. Registration is open until September 2022. Individuals and businesses who register will only be invoiced if the class action is successful, and the invoice amount will be based on the amount of compensation received.
The law firm Harcus Parker says that registering for the class action is quick and easy, and only takes a few minutes. Individuals and businesses must provide information about the payments they made by credit card between 1992 and 2018, as well as information about their identity and business.
Law firm Harcus Parker says it is important for individuals and businesses to join the class action, as it allows them to assert their rights and hold Visa and Mastercard to account. The class action is an effective and affordable way to sue these large companies for their illegal practices, and it provides an opportunity for consumers and businesses to recover some of the money they have paid in interchange fees.
The Harcus Parker class action lawsuit against Visa and Mastercard is an important step in the fight against the illegal practices of big business. Interchange fees set by Visa and Mastercard have a significant impact on consumers and merchants, who are the real losers in this situation. Consumers pay higher prices for the products and services they buy, while merchants see their profit margins shrink because of high interchange fees.