Daily Express

46 million Britons may get £300 each in Mastercard case

- By Mark Reynolds

SOME 46 million Mastercard customers could each see repayments of around £300 after a court cleared the way for the credit card firm to face the UK’s largest group lawsuit.

The previously rejected action was formally certified to go to trial by the Competitio­n Appeal Tribunal in London.

It means the credit card company now faces being sued over its past allegedly high payment fees, which main claimant Walter Merricks – the former financial ombudsman – argues led to customers being charged higher prices by businesses.

It is alleged that Mastercard had excessive “interchang­e” fees, the money retailers pay credit card companies when consumers use plastic to shop, between May 1992 and June 2008.

Those costs were reportedly passed on to shoppers as retailers raised their prices.

Mr Merricks’ case is being brought on behalf of all people aged 16 and over who bought goods and services from a UK business that accepted Mastercard between these dates, unless they opt out of the lawsuit.

They will not have to do anything to receive the payments except await the outcome of the action.

Mr Merricks said he had hoped to expand the scope of the case to include the estates of the deceased and compound interest but this was rejected by judges.

Mastercard said this reduced the claim’s size to around £10billion – but Mr Merricks’ team argued it was closer to £15billion. It is hoped the decision to finally authorise the five-year case as a collective action will establish a standard for a string of other proposed class actions that have been stalled in its wake.

Mr Merricks said in a statement: “Mastercard has thrown everything at trying to prevent this claim going forward but today its efforts have failed.

“The tribunal’s ruling heralds the start of an era of consumerfo­cused class actions, which will help to hold big business to account in areas that really matter.”

Mastercard yesterday said the “spurious” claim was being driven by lawyers and backed by organisati­ons “primarily focused on making money for themselves”.

The company added in a statement: “The decision today reduces the value of this spurious claim by more than 35 per cent.

“Mastercard is confident that over the coming months a review of key facts will further significan­tly reduce the size and viability of the claim.”

 ??  ?? Cashing in...card holders from 1992 to 2008
Cashing in...card holders from 1992 to 2008

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