In a significant development, a court in London has approved a $14 billion-plus (10 billion pound-plus) class action lawsuit against Mastercard. According to claimants, 46 million British adults could receive 300 pounds each if it is successful.
The class action lawsuit, brought on by former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks, comes in the wake of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) impending certification on Britain’s first mass consumer class action lawsuit, which was filed after the UK Supreme Court overruled objections to it in December 2020.
The decision to finally authorise the five-year case as a collective action establishes a standard for a string of other proposed class actions that have been stalled in its wake.
“Mastercard has thrown everything at trying to prevent this claim going forward, but today its efforts have failed,” said Merricks in a statement. “The tribunal’s ruling heralds the start of an era of consumer-focused class actions which will help to hold big business to account in areas that really matter.”
In a statement Mastercard said, the “spurious” claim was being driven by lawyers and backed by organizations “primarily focused on making money for themselves”.
Allegations raised by Merricks accuse Mastercard of charging excessive “interchange” fees, between May 1992 and June 2008; it has also accused the global payment processor of passing on these fees on to consumers when retailers raised prices.
($1 = 0.7265 pounds)