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Almost All UK Adults Could Get £300 From Mastercard, After Court Ruling

Almost All UK Adults Could Get £300 From Mastercard, After Court Ruling
A court ruling in the United Kingdom that has allowed the filing initiation of a £14bn class action lawsuit against Mastercard has raised the possibility of every adult citizen in the country getting a payout of up to £300 from the payments company.
It has been alleged that over a period of 16 years, Mastercard had charged excessive transaction fees from about 46 million UK consumers which ended up in the consumers [paying higher prices than necessary. The legal action was taken by former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks.
Merricks’ claim was rejected two years ago by the Competition Appeal Tribunal and ruled that no verdict for continuation of the trial against the company would be given by it. However after the case reached the court of appeal there has been a dramatic turnaround in the case and the tribunal has been ordered to reconsider the case. This is arguably the largest ever class action case filed in the legal history of UK.
Confidence about the action being certified by the tribunal was expressed by Merricks, which would then allow the case to be sent to court and if successful, Mastercard would potentially have to make a multibillion-pound payout.
“I am very pleased with today’s decision,” said Merricks. “It is nearly 12 years since Mastercard was clearly told that they had broken the law by imposing excessive card transaction charges, damaging consumers over a prolonged period. When challenged, all they have done is to raise technical legal arguments that turn out to have no merit – as the court of appeal has shown today. It’s now time for Mastercard to admit the damage they did, to apologise to the British public, and to agree to pay the compensation they owe,” he said.
Mastercard has however vowed to fight the case even up to the Supreme court if necessary. “This decision is not a final ruling and the proposed claim is not approved to move forward, rather the court has simply said a re-hearing on certain issues should happen. Mastercard continues to disagree fundamentally with the basis of the claim and we believe UK consumers receive real value from the security, convenience and consumer protection of our payment services,” the company said in a statement.
Merricks’ original claim was rejected by the tribunal court there were no clear evidence about the process by which the higher fees charged by Mastercard had been passed on to the customers or whether the additional charges had been absorbed by the retailers. The tribunal court also could not find ways to calculate the amount of individual losses for customers. The court of appeal however argued that the argument by the tribunal court to reject the case formed no basis for the rejection of a court action.
He also said that irrespective of whether an individual British national held a Mastercard ever or not, 46 million adults could qualify for the payment. The argument for the calculation is that all of the customers could have paid the higher prices because of the higher charges during the period under consideration.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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