Mastercard £14bn 'overcharge' legal action fails

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mastercard cardsImage source, PA

A £14bn class action lawsuit against Mastercard has been thrown out by the Competition Appeals Tribunal.

The former financial ombudsman, Walter Merricks, had claimed that 46 million consumers had been overcharged by Mastercard over a 16-year period.

But the court ruled that the case could not proceed through a collective - or class - action.

The ruling was welcomed by Mastercard, which said the claims were completely unsuitable.

The tribunal found that even if a loss had been suffered, and could be estimated across the whole class, there was no way any individual could receive compensation equal to the loss that he or she had actually suffered.

The case was filed in September 2016, and followed a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling against the level of so-called interchange fees - the amounts that retailers have to pay on debit and credit cards.

It related to the fees charged by Mastercard between 1992 and 2008.

"We welcome the Competition Appeal Tribunal's judgment refusing certification for the proposed collective action," said a spokesperson for Mastercard.

"As set out in Mastercard's arguments to date, we believe that the claims were completely unsuitable to be brought under the collective actions regime."

Interchange fees have since been capped by the European Union.