A £10 billion class action lawsuit against Mastercard over interchange fee charges is finally set to go ahead after getting certified by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).
The CAT has ruled that former head of the UK Financial Ombudsman Service Walter Merricks can represent the 46 million claimants in the case, who would receive around £300 each if successful.
Merricks originally launched the legal challenge in 2016 on behalf of 46 million customers and based on the European Commission’s 2007 finding that the card scheme charged inflated card fees on consumer card transactions between 1992 and 2008.
The claim was brought as an opt-out collective or class action, made possible by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
In December, a previous dismissal of the suit by CAT was judged by the Supreme Court to include five errors of law.
Says Merrick in a statement: “Mastercard has thrown everything at trying to prevent this claim going forward, but today its efforts have failed. The tribunal’s ruling heralds the start of an era of consumer-focused class actions which will help to hold big business to account in areas that really matter.”
Calling the claim “spurious”, Mastercard says that the latest decision reduces the size of suit by more than a third, from almost £16 billion.
Says the payment giant: “This claim isn’t being brought by UK consumers but is being driven by lawyers, backed by organisations primarily focused on making money for themselves.”