UK Retailers Declare War on Visa and Mastercard Over Transaction Fees

A group of large retail brands is seeking to be compensated for historical charging fees that they incurred in violation of competition laws

Retailers are waging a fierce battle against Visa and Mastercard, with over a dozen brands filing new legal claims regarding card payment fees.
Following Amazon’s attack on Visa’s high transaction costs last month, the High Court writs will put pressure on both credit card giants.

Stephenson Harwood lawyers advised the fashion chains in seeking damages for historical charging fees that were not compliant with competition laws.

These claims were made just days after Amazon stated that it would stop customers shopping on the UK website with Visa credit cards. According to the e-commerce giant, it will stop accepting credit cards starting Jan 19.

Visa claimed that the legal dispute over interchange fees had nothing to do with Amazon’s decision. It stated previously that it was “disappointed” that Amazon threatened to limit consumer choice in the future.

Visa spokesperson added that all claims related to interchange are considered unmerited by Visa and will be vigorously protected.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that fees Visa and Mastercard imposed on retailers for each card transaction were in violation of EU and UK competition laws.

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, Asda, and Morrisons were amongst the first to bring Visa and Mastercard to court. Sainsbury’s reached an August settlement with Mastercard, but the claim against Visa remains active.

It is still unknown how much damage could be incurred by retailers.

According to industry insiders, it was not surprising that Visa and Mastercard have been sued more people. The original cases are expected to be resolved by next year. Others believe they might be able to settle out of court before then.

Mastercard stated that they believe retailers of all sizes get real value from their network. They also said that they are committed to helping our retail partners adapt and grow their businesses during this difficult time.

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