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More than 100 Merchants Sue Visa; MasterCard
Friday, August 16, 2013 6:55 AM

More than 100 large merchants have sued Visa and MasterCard, alleging the credit card companies forced them to pay excessive fees amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, reports The Dallas Morning News.

The suit claims that Visa and MasterCard membership rules prevent banks that issue credit and debit cards from competing for merchant acceptance of those cards. The suit, in part, is an attempt by the merchants to opt out of a settlement reached in a New York class action case last year. At the center of the suit is the level of interchange fees, charges assessed to merchants each time a customer uses a credit card.

The suit was filed Tuesday in federal district court in Marshall.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is the lead plaintiff in the case. The suit claims that credit card fees are among a merchant’s largest expense items. It says the merchants have paid the card companies excessive fees totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Eliminating them and restoring competition would lower retailer costs and benefit consumers, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are reportedly seeking unspecified damages as compensation for the supposedly unlawful behavior of Visa and MasterCard, along with punitive damages and attorneys’ fees, court documents show.