Oct. 26, 2012 – Opponents of a $7.25 billion class action settlement between merchants and Visa, MasterCard and several large banks have until Oct. 31 – not mid-November as previously thought – to file their written objections, according to news reports.
Reuters and other news organizations reported Wednesday that U.S. District Judge John Gleeson has officially set the hearing date on the motion for preliminary approval for Nov. 9. A magistrate judge had previously indicated during recent hearings that opponents of the settlement would have until mid-November to file written objections, and that a hearing would be scheduled in either December or January.
News reports also quoted Gleeson as saying that “at first blush, [the settlement] appears to satisfy the threshold requirements for preliminary approval.”
In the lawsuit that led to the settlement, retail companies alleged that the banks and credit card companies colluded to maintain higher credit card interchange fees. The suit sought compensation for alleged overcharges.
The class in this suit includes more than 7 million merchants. The settlement could be rejected only if more than 25 percent of class members opted out. If the settlement is accepted, a court order granting final approval will follow.
Under the settlement, not only would the banks and credit card companies be required to pay an estimated $6.05 billion to retailers, Visa and MasterCard would be required to reduce interchange fees for eight months by an amount equal to $1.2 billion. Merchants would also be permitted to assess a surcharge on credit card transactions.
If it receives final approval, the settlement would be the largest of its kind in U.S. history.
NAFCU continues to monitor developments.