Author: Simon Zekaria –
Mastercard and Visa have today been hit with fresh claims for damages after Firmdale Hotels, a US- and UK-located boutique hotel operator, filed lawsuits at the UK’s High Court over alleged anticompetitive payment-card fees, MLex has learned. Firmdale is seeking compensation of more than 200,000 pounds from the payment-card companies, according to information obtained by MLex.
Mastercard and Visa have today been hit with fresh claims for damages after Firmdale Hotels, a US- and UK-located boutique hotel operator, filed lawsuits at the UK’s High Court over alleged anticompetitive payment-card fees, MLex has learned.
The two claims, filed separately, say payment charges made by Firmdale were at a level “at all times higher than it would otherwise have been.” Firmdale is claiming damages for losses suffered “as a result of the unlawful fees and rules.”
According to the claims, Firmdale also seeks a “declaration” that the relevant fee arrangements “are and have at all material times been void and unenforceable.”
Firmdale is seeking compensation of more than 200,000 pounds ($263,000) — more than
100,000 pounds from each of Mastercard and Visa, according to information seen by MLex.
The actions were filed with the UK’s High Court on Sept. 19.
As well as owning hotels in London and New York, Firmdale has restaurants and bars in the
Mastercard and Visa have faced a slew of competition-related actions over their “interchange”
Credit- and debit-card transactions worldwide are engineered around the charges — set by the card networks — which are paid by a retailer’s “acquiring” bank to the cardholder’s “issuing” bank. The acquiring bank then deducts a “merchant service charge,” including interchange and other costs, before passing payments on to the retailer.
Multiple companies started actions over the fees following European Commission rulings against Mastercard and Visa over them.
The decisions have sparked years of litigation.
Companies, regulators and courts have scrutinized whether such fees break competition rules.
Opponents say they pinch competition between acquiring banks in breach of antitrust rules, and drive up costs for retailers and consumers bound to the system. The card networks say the charges don’t impact on competition and that they create benefits across the payment system that outweigh any negative effects.
Related case file(s)
Antitrust – Visa Inc – MIF – Litigation
Antitrust – Mastercard – MIF – Litigation
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