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PMAA Objects to the Proposed Visa/MasterCard Settlement Case Over Eligibility of Branded Operators

 

PMAA, SIGMA and the National Association of Shell Marketers (NASM) (“the Associations”) filed an objection to the proposed Visa/MasterCard settlement case over concerns that branded petroleum marketers would be unable to file a claim against the pending $6.24 billion settlement fund in the consolidated payment card interchange fee class action case (In Re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, MDL-1720). The settlement class is comprised of all merchants that accepted Visa and Mastercard payment cards from 2004 to the present. The settlement fund is designed to compensate class members for the interchange fees they paid, which were allegedly inflated as a result of certain violations of the antitrust laws by Visa and Mastercard and their participating banks.

Major oil refiners have claimed to be class members that are entitled to receive payment from the settlement fund even though they have divested nearly all of their company-owned retail sites over the last 20 years. The Associations argued that petroleum marketers are “Branded Operators” and class members who are entitled to the settlement fund because they “accept” the Visa/MasterCard at their branded outlets. The Associations said in their objection, “In fact, standard contractual language in agreements that Branded Operators sign in order to purchase motor fuel and use the name of major refiners at their outlets requires that Branded Operators accept Visa and MasterCard payment cards, among others. There should be no question, then, that Branded Operators are class members for the transactions they accept.” Click here to read PMAA, SIGMA and NASM’s statement of objection.

A Court hearing will be held on November 7, 2019 to decide whether to approve the settlement.

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