On Wednesday, March 15, a federal appeals court upheld a $5.6 billion antitrust class-action settlement with more than 12 million retailers that accused Visa and MasterCard of improperly fixing credit and debit card fees, according to Reuters.
The second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan rejected claims that a class action should not have been certified because of confusion over who deserved compensation and that the $523 million of legal fees awarded to the retailers’ lawyers was too high.
Among the objectors were a group of gas station operators for oil companies, including Chevron and Shell. The operators and the companies both claimed to have been affected after accepting Visa and MasterCard for gas sales.
Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs said that although their dispute may need to be resolved in court, it was “no reason” to delay payouts to other class members.
The settlement resolved claims that Visa and MasterCard overcharged retailers on interchange fees or swipe fees when shoppers used credit or debit cards and barred retailers from directing customers toward cheaper means of payment.
Settling retailers would be barred from bringing further claims from within the 15-year class period and for five more years after the settlement became final, court papers show.