NATSO, the national association representing the travel plaza and truckstop industry, announced that it has joined others in rejecting a proposed settlement of an antitrust lawsuit brought by merchants, including NATSO, alleging that Visa, MasterCard and national banks collude to set artificially high swipe fees.
“After careful consideration, NATSO’s executive committee determined that the settlement would not be in the best interest of merchants, including NATSO members,” said Lisa Mullings, NATSO president and chief executive officer. “We joined this lawsuit in search of real reform to a broken system, one that is shielded from normal competitive forces. This proposed settlement does not achieve this goal. It lacks meaningful fixes to a system that allowed Visa and MasterCard to set artificially high swipe fees and provided retailers and consumers with no choice except to pay.”
Mullings said that rather than offering effective long-term relief, the settlement ironically would cost merchants and consumers more. “Aside from a temporary lowering of fees, the credit card companies will be able to simply hike swipe fees to recover the damages and legal fees they have agreed to pay,” she said. “In other words, retailers will pay for their own award. Worse, in exchange for this so-called relief, the settlement contains a broad release of future claims, sharply curtailing the ability of retailers to take legal action in the future.”
Mullings said the proposed settlement would disappoint retailers “hoping for real reform to America’s flawed credit card system. It leaves intact the ability of credit card companies to set inflated fees for all banks in their network. And if merchants accept the proposal, Visa and MasterCard will operate without the threat of future litigation.”