This proposed class action alleges that Visa, Mastercard and a number of large credit card – issuing banks have participated in a conspiracy to increase or maintain the fees paid by merchants on every credit card transaction.
Class action lawsuits were commenced in British Columbia (the “BC Action”), Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario (collectively, the “Credit Card Class Actions”).
Visa and Mastercard, along with the card-issuing bank and the company that processes the payment, take a percentage fee each time a customer pays with a credit card. The claim alleges that Visa and Mastercard rules force merchants to accept every Visa or Mastercard credit card, even if those cards carry high fees for the merchant. The claim also alleges that these rules prevent merchants from charging more for payments with premium cards that carry a higher fee. As a result, merchants are forced to raise prices for all customers to cover the extra cost of transactions with premium cards.
The action seeks to recover the fees that Visa, Mastercard, and the banks are alleged to have collected illegally from merchants.
Although National Bank of Canada, Visa, and Mastercard deny liability, they have reached three additional national settlements with the Plaintiffs (the “National Bank Settlement,” the “Visa Settlement,” and the “Mastercard Settlement,” collectively, the “New Settlements”), subject to approval of the Courts. National Bank of Canada will pay CAD $6 million, and Visa and Mastercard will each pay CAD $19.5 million for a collective total of $45 million (the “Settlement Amounts”) for the benefit of the Settlement Class Members and provide certain cooperation to the Plaintiffs as described in their respective settlement agreements, in exchange for a full release of claims against each of them and their related entities. Visa and Mastercard will also be modifying their respective “no surcharge rules” that prevented merchants from charging a premium on credit card use, on terms set out in greater detail in their respective settlement agreements.
If the New Settlements are approved, the Class Lawyers will ask the Courts to approve the deduction of certain amounts (collectively, the “Court-approved Expenses”) from the Settlement Amounts, including costs incurred to distribute the Notice and process opt-out requests, comments and objections, the approved counsel fee of up to 25% of the recovered amounts, and disbursements.
As the Credit Card Class Actions will continue against the remaining Defendants, it is proposed that the amounts remaining from the Settlement Amounts after deduction of all Court-approved Expenses be added to the net proceeds from the Prior Settlements that are held in trust for Settlement Class Members pending receipt of further settlements or further order of the Court at the conclusion of the Credit Card Actions. At such time, a distribution protocol will be developed and submitted to the Courts for approval, and further notice will be provided of the proposed distribution system. If you would like to make sure you receive direct notice of any later distribution, contact one of the Class Lawyers.
National settlement agreements have been approved with the defendants Bank of America, Capital One, Citigroup and Desjardins. Under the terms of the settlement agreements, Bank of America has paid $7,750,000, Capital One has paid $4,250,000, Citigroup has paid $1,630,000 and Desjardins has paid $9,900,000 for the benefit of the Settlement Class Members for a total of $23.530 million. Court approved class counsel fees of 25%, disbursements were deducted from the settlement amounts. The settlement amounts are being held in trust for class members pending receipt of further settlements or awards that may justify a distribution effort. At such time, a distribution protocol will be created and submitted to the Courts for approval, and further notice will be provided to class members.
The BC Action was certified as a class proceeding as against all defendants except for the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec (“Desjardins”).
For most Settlement Class Members, the right to opt out of the Credit Card Class Actions was previously provided in connection with the approval of some of the Prior Settlements and has now expired. However, the deadline for Quebec Settlement Class Members and New Merchants (who only began accepting credit cards after September 4, 2015)to opt out is May 31, 2018. Regardless, all Settlement Class Members can still make their views known about the New Settlements as set out above.
For more information please contact Sharon Wong, Paralegal at (604) 689-7555 or by email at [email protected]. We also encourage you to go to the official website for this Credit Card Class Action at creditcardsettlements.ca.
Visa / Mastercard – Application to Approve Settlements with National Bank, Visa and Mastercard - View
Entered Alberta Order re Adjournment of Settlement Approval (Visa, Mastercard and National Bank) - View
Visa / Mastercard – National Bank Settlement Approval Hearings - View
Visa / Mastercard Class Action – Settlement Approval Hearing - View
Visa / Mastercard – Desjardins Settlement - View
BC Court of Appeal Reasons – August 19, 2015 - View
Visa / Mastercard – Certification of BC Action - View
Visa / Mastercard – Public Reasons for Judgment released March 27, 2014 - View
Visa / Mastercard - View