MLEX – Author: Simon Zekaria –

IN BRIEF

Visa and Mastercard are facing antitrust damages claims in the UK from automotive tire
retailer  Euromaster  and  several  of  its  units  over  alleged  anticompetitive  card-payment
fees,  MLex  has  learned.  A  High  Court  listing  shows  that  the  companies  face  separate
actions from more than 10 claimants related to Euromaster, which is owned by Michelin.

Visa  and  Mastercard  are  facing  antitrust  damages  claims  in  the  UK  from  automotive  tire retailer  Euromaster  and  several  of  its  units  over  alleged  anticompetitive  card-payment fees, MLex has learned.

The  two  payment-card  operators  face  separate  claims  from  more  than  10  plaintiffs  at  the High  Court  in  London,  with  actions  lodged  by  Euromaster  —  a  unit  of  tire  maker  Michelin — and subsidiaries including UK operation ATS Euromaster and Euromaster France.

The actions, filed with the court on Sept. 14, are listed as “competition” cases, but there are no further details about them.

Visa and Mastercard are already facing several competition-related actions from retailers over
their “multilateral interchange” fees. Transactions with credit and debit cards 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 a European Commission ruling  in 2007  that  said  that  Mastercard’s  fees  on  cross-border  credit  and  debit  card  sales  breached antitrust  rules and inflated the cost of card use for retailers and shoppers.  The commission also charged Visa over its own fees in 2002.

The claims are listed as Euromaster France and others v Visa Europe Limited and others and Euromaster France and others v MasterCard Incorporated and others.

Related case file(s)

Antitrust – Visa Inc – MIF – Litigation

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