April 4, 2018

Notice of settlements with Visa, Mastercard, National Bank in credit card interchange fees class actions

VANCOUVER--Class action lawsuits were brought in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Québec against Visa, Mastercard and a number of banks that issue their credit cards on behalf of all merchants in Canada who accept those credit cards. The lawsuits allege a conspiracy in setting higher interchange fees paid by merchants to accept Visa and Mastercard credit cards, and other restrictions. The allegations are denied.

Settlements of class action lawsuits must be approved by the Courts before they are effective. To date, four settlements with Issuing Banks have been approved, and the net proceeds of those settlements are being held for distribution at a later date. There are three new settlements with National Bank, Visa and Mastercard which provide for payments of CAD $6 million (by National Bank), and CAD$19.5 million (by each of Visa and Mastercard) for a total of $45 million for the benefit of the Settlement Class, and cooperation in the continuing action against the defendants that have not settled. The settlements with Visa and Mastercard also provide modification of "no surcharge rules" that prevented merchants from surcharging credit card use. In exchange, Settlement Class Members give the settling parties and related entities a full release.

Hearings to consider whether these proposed settlements should be approved, and if so, the amounts payable to class action lawyers will take place as follows:

Vancouver

Calgary

Regina

Toronto

Montréal

June 25, 2018
10:00 a.m.

July 5, 2018
10:00 a.m.

July 6, 2018
10:00 a.m.

July 12, 2018
10:00 a.m.

August 21, 2018
8:45 a.m.

Supreme Court of 
British Columbia

Alberta Court of 
Queen's Bench

Court of Queen's 
Bench for 
Saskatchewan

Ontario Superior 
Court of Justice

Superior Court of 
Québec

A merchan is considered a settlement class member if they are a merchant who accepted Visa or Mastercard credit cards after march 23, 2001.

Others may have different options depending on where they reside and when they began accepting Visa or Mastercard credit cards.

All settlement class members can comment on the proposed settlement. You can do so by delivering comments to the court-appointed Administrator at PO Box 2312, 349 W Georgia St., Vancouver BC V6B 1Y0 by JUNE 21, 2018.

Some merchants are being called upon to decide whether to continue to participate in the lawsuits (and benefit from the settlements). Participation is automatic unless the merchant opts out.

For most merchants, the right to opt out was given with past settlements and has expired. However, merchants in Québec and "new merchants" (who only began accepting credit cards after September 4, 2015) have a limited time to decide whether to opt out from the lawsuits (and from the settlements). Opt out requests must be received by MAY 31, 2018.

This is just a summary. Full details of the proposed settlement and information about Settlement Class membership and options including how to attend hearings and opt out are posted on www.creditcardsettlements.ca, or are available from one of the Class Action Lawyers.

 

 

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