“The settlement permanently ties the hands of thousands of businesses who wanted nothing to do with this misguided case, and a decision to approve it violates established law and common sense,” says NRF spokesperson.
The National Retail Federation noted its disappointment after U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson, on Friday, Dec. 13, approved an estimated $5.7 billion class-action settlement between merchants and Visa and MasterCard over credit card fees.
The lawsuit is believed to be the largest settlement in a U.S. antitrust class action, reported NBCNews Business.
“We are very disappointed that this deeply flawed settlement has been approved,” said The National Retail Federation (NRF)’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan in a statement. “It is not supported by the retail industry and would do nothing to reduce swipe fees or keep them from rising in the future. The settlement permanently ties the hands of thousands of businesses who wanted nothing to do with this misguided case, and a decision to approve it violates established law and common sense. We are reviewing the ruling and will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the rights of merchants and safeguard the pocketbooks of their customers.”
NRF argued against approval of the settlement at a hearing in September. Credit card swipe fees cost merchants and their customers and estimated $30 billion a year and have tripled over the past decade.
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the U.S. and more than 45 countries.
U.S. District Judge John Gleeson dismissed some of the objections made by merchants. “I conclude that the proposed settlement secures both a significant damage award and meaningful injunctive relief for a class of merchants that would face a substantial likelihood of securing no relief at all if this case were to proceed,” Gleeson wrote.
The value of the settlement, reached last year, decreased to $5.7 billion from roughly $7.2 billion after thousands of merchants opted out of the deal, Craig Wildfang, an attorney for the plaintiffs told NBCNews Business.
Duncan said in a statement that NRF was reviewing Gleeson’s ruling and expected to file an appeal.