NEW YORK, July 18 - A federal judge declined on Friday to
dismiss antitrust lawsuits filed against Visa Inc and
MasterCard Inc by retailers who opted out of an estimated
$5.7 billion class action settlement in 2012 over transaction
Retailers such as Target Corp and Amazon.com Inc
have accused Visa and MasterCard of fixing the fees
charged to merchants each time their customers used credit or
debit cards. They also alleged the two companies prevented
merchants from steering customers to cheaper forms of payment.
U.S. District Judge John Gleeson of Brooklyn said on Friday
the lawsuits could proceed, according to Jeffrey Shinder, an
attorney for some of the retailers.
Shinder declined further comment.
In December, Gleeson approved an estimated $5.7 billion
settlement between the two credit card companies and a
nationwide class of merchants over similar allegations.
But thousands of retailers, including some of the biggest in
the United States such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, opted out
of the settlement, complaining it was not adequate.
Those companies argued the settlement offered meaningless
reforms that would not help them control the costs of accepting
credit cards. Many of those retailers who objected to the
settlement filed their own lawsuits.
A spokesman for MasterCard said in a statement that
Gleeson's ruling on Friday was at earliest stage of the case.
"We look forward to putting this matter behind us and
continuing to work productively with the merchant community," he
A Visa spokesman had no immediate comment.
The case is Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant
Discount Antitrust Litigation - Opt Out Cases, U.S. District
Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 14-01720.
(Reporting by Andrew Longstreth. Editing by Andre Grenon)