A landmark £14bn collective action claim over fees charged by MasterCard has been filed in London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) today.
The claim, reputed to be the biggest in legal history, is also believed to be the first claim filed under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 on behalf of all UK consumers.
The claim seeks to recover losses incurred as a result of interchange fees that were imposed by MasterCard on transactions that occurred between 1992 and 2007. The fees were found to be anti-competitive by the Court of Justice of the EU in 2014.
The case has been brought by former chief financial services ombudsman Walter Merricks as the proposed representative of the class of UK consumers that have suffered loss.
Merricks has instructed business litigation and arbitration firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which this morning filed more than 600 pages of documents with the tribunal setting out its claim.
Magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been instructed by MasterCard.
In a press release issued by Quinn Emanuel, Merricks said: ‘The filing of this claim is the first step towards consumers obtaining compensation for what MasterCard did. I am confident that the CAT will authorise the claim to go forward, and I look forward to the opportunity to present our case.
‘This is a watershed moment for consumer redress in this country.’
Quinn Emanuel partner Boris Bronfentrinker said MasterCard has not responded to the firm’s invitation to resolve the case out of court through alternative dispute resolution.
Quinn Emanuel’s announcement states that funds affiliated with Chicago-based litigation funder Gerchen Keller Capital, LLC, will provide up to £40m ‘to see this action through to the end’.
In a statement to the Gazette, MasterCard said: ‘Now that the claim has been filed, we will take time to review it in detail. However, we continue to firmly disagree with the basis of this claim and we intend to oppose it vigorously.
‘We deliver real value through the benefits of security, convenience and consumer protection, and we are committed to investing in our payment services in order to continue to meet the rapidly evolving needs of all our customers.’