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A statement from Molly Wilkinson, executive director of the Electronic Payments Coalition (EPC) praising testimony from Professor Todd Zywicki at the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs hearing today: Price controls on debit card transactions, which were enacted through the Durbin Amendment, have created a hand out for retailers that so far has reached $36 billion and continues to rise each year. Professor Zywicki’s testimony made this padding by large retailers evident by noting, “While the Durbin Amendment has saved big box retailers billions of dollars per year in interchange fees, there is no evidence to date that those cost savings have been passed on to retail consumers. In short, consumers are paying higher fees for bank accounts and receiving no rebates from retailers. Indeed, unlike big box retailers that have received multi-billion dollar windfalls, many small retailers are actually paying higher merchant discount rates than … Continue reading
Electronic Payments Coalition Issues Statement on National Retail Federation Interchange Settlement Appeal
After nearly a decade of negotiations, the court has determined that this settlement is in the best interest of all parties involved. This is simply a political ploy by a few big box retailers – for whom enough is never enough – that disregards the millions of retailers who are supportive of the settlement. These same tired arguments were raised over and over during the negotiations and would have been included in the final terms if they had any merit.
Today, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York approved a settlement in the long-running legal dispute between retailers, payment networks and nine major card issuers over interchange fees and rules. The Electronic Payments Coalition issued the following statement: “The long political conflict over interchange fees is finally over, settled by a well-established legal process, which brought together retailers and the card industry for a negotiated resolution. After years of mediation, dozens of meetings, and millions of pages of evidence, the parties involved have willingly agreed to settle their dispute. “This settlement is in the best interest of all involved parties and that has been proven today with the court’s final approval.”
On November 9, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Gleeson (New York, Eastern District) granted Preliminary Approval of the merchant interchange settlement. In the following interview, Robert Stolebarger, partner at Bryan Cave LLP and antitrust counsel for the Electronic Payments Coalition, addresses some of the most commonly asked questions about this ruling and what it means.
The Honorable Judge John Gleeson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted preliminary approval of the landmark settlement agreement between retailers, payment networks and nine major card issuers, over merchant interchange fees. The settlement was originally announced on July 13th after several years of litigation. The preliminary approval of this historic settlement will almost immediately give retailers the many benefits they demanded. Sixty days from November 9, 2012, the card networks will implement rule changes. Merchants will now have the ability to add checkout fees (a retailer surcharge) at the register and form buying groups.
Class counsel, on behalf of numerous retailers who are proposed class representatives, filed the Definitive Settlement Agreement, as well as a motion to request that the Honorable Judge Gleeson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York preliminarily approve a landmark settlement of a lawsuit over merchant interchange fees. The settlement was originally announced on July 13th after over seven years of litigation, mediation and negotiation between retailers, payment networks and nine major card issuers. The parties involved have now come together to take the next step in the process in an effort to settle this dispute once and for all.
Members of the Electronic Payments Coalition remain highly confident that the Court will grant preliminary, and ultimately final, approval for the settlement in the merchant class action suit against the payment card industry – and that this represents the end of a long battle and finally puts all the issues raised to rest going forward. Recent noise in the press, however, has raised a number of questions as to why we remain so confident in this outcome. This is an interview with Robert Stolebarger, partner at Bryan Cave LLP and antitrust counsel for the Electronic Payments Coalition, where he addresses some of the most commonly asked questions.
EPC issued a statement in response to some retail trade associations’ objections to the proposed interchange settlement. Trish Wexler provided a written statement arguing that “It is clear that for some retail lobbying groups, nothing is ever enough. “