Inside This Issue - News
NRF asks court to fix credit card fee deal
October 7th, 2013
WASHINGTON – The National Retail Association (NRA) has asked a federal judge to "right or reject" a proposed settlement of an antitrust lawsuit over credit card swipe fees.
NRF says the measure needs to be rewritten to do more to bring what it calls soaring fees under control and that retailers who don’t support it should be allowed to completely opt out.
"The proposed settlement is next to worthless," NRF senior vice president and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. "It does nothing to reduce swipe fees or keep them from rising in the future, it offers retailers pennies on the dollar for the damage that has already been done, and it tries to tie merchants’ hands from ever suing again.
"This is actually worse than no settlement at all, because it further entrenches the monopoly held by the card companies."
He added that the proposal has not been agreed to by the retail industry.
"Thousands of retailers have flatly rejected the settlement, including many of the nation’s best-known brands. This is a backroom deal being pushed by the card industry and trial lawyers more concerned about their fees than protecting retailers or consumers," declared Duncan.
Attorneys representing NRF appeared before federal district court judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn, N.Y., who presided over a hearing on final approval of the settlement.
NRF argued in a brief filed this spring that the proposal "gives the credit card networks carte blanche to set and manipulate interchange rates" while giving retailers nothing in return.
Gleeson questioned attorneys from both sides during the daylong session and said he would take their arguments into consideration but did not say how soon he would rule on the case, which has sharply divided the credit card and retail industries.