MasterCard is facing a lawsuit for 14 billion pounds ($19 billion) from up to 46 million people throughout Britain for charging excessive fees between 1992 and 2008. The case was brought up by Walter Merricks, former chief financial services ombudsman and advised that MasterCard charged unlawfully high fees to stores when shoppers utilized their debit or credit cards, these fees were then passed on to the consumers. “MasterCard has behaved disgracefully in this. They have not had the reasonableness to accept that what this was doing was damaging UK consumers.”
A lawyer working on the case said MasterCard charged shops in excess of one percent for each card used on international transactions between 1992 and 2008. This lawsuit is the largest damages claim in British history and any person living in Britain that used a credit or debit card and was over 16 years old during that time period will automatically be part of the claim unless they opt out. Any consumer that not longer lives in Britain but lived in the country during that time frame can opt in to the claim against MasterCard.
MasterCard said in a statement they denied any wrongdoing. “We continue to firmly disagree with the basis of this claim and we intend to oppose it vigorously.”
The European Union’s anti-trust regulator ruled in 2014 that MasterCard’s fees were illegal and it impacted all British consumers so two years ago, they capped the fees that all retailers pay, 0.2 percent for debit cards and 0.3 percent for credit cards.
The first hearing is not expected until early 2018 unless MasterCard can settle it out of court.