Wal-Mart sued by Visa over antitrust settlement

by The City Wire staff (info@thecitywire.com) 13 views 

Visa USA Inc. sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in New York federal court on Wednesday (June 13) in a bid to block the retail giant from pursuing more damages after opting out of a $7.25 billion antitrust settlement in the interchange fee multi-district litigation.

"We are disappointed that VISA chose to file this unwarranted and unsupportable lawsuit in retaliation for our decision to opt out and object to an unfair settlement agreement," said Randy Hargrove, Wal-Mart spokesman.

"The proposed settlement would allow credit card companies and big banks to perpetuate a broken system that costs consumers billions of dollars each year, and we, like more than 7,000 other conscientious merchants who have opted out, cannot go along with it," he said.

The credit card giant accused Wal-Mart of trying to endlessly litigate many of the same issues over its interchange fees in multiple cases, pointing out that it already paid Wal-Mart a significant settlement to resolve an earlier round of litigation over its practices.

And even though Visa, MasterCard Inc. and several major banks have already agreed to pay roughly $7.25 billion in a settlement to resolve an MDL accusing the companies of conspiring to keep rates high, Wal-Mart indicated that it planned to pursue another suit over the same alleged conduct, according to the new complaint. After more than a decade of litigation, Visa said enough was enough, urging the court to rule the company hadn't violated the antitrust laws.

Dozens of retailers have spoken out against the settlement offered by Visa and the National Retail Federation also disapproves.

“This settlement does nothing to disclose the hidden fees or otherwise create transparency to encourage competition that would lead to lower fees,” said Mallory Duncan, NRF General Counsel.