A £14bn lawsuit against Mastercard for imposing charges on UK consumers has moved a step closer towards proceeding after a court reversed an earlier decision by the Competition Appeals Tribunal to block it.
The Financial Times reports that in a U-turn on Tuesday, the UK Court of Appeals set aside the tribunal’s 2017 ruling and said it would allow the claimants, led by former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks, to have their case for certification of their class action reheard.
The court ruled the case should be sent back Competition and Appeals Tribunal, which will need to determine whether certify the class action suit, which is being led by Merricks, proceed to trial. Certification would allow users to sue Mastercard together for the fees imposed on every credit transaction for damages measured in billions.
Two years ago, the Competition Appeal Tribunal threw out Merricks’ claim, ruling it would not grant an order for the case to continue to trial. In a dramatic turnaround, the court of appeal has ordered the tribunal to reconsider what has become the biggest class action in British legal history.
Merricks said he was confident the tribunal will certify the action, enabling it to go to court and result in a multibillion-pound payout, if successful.
“I am very pleased with today’s decision,” said Merricks. “It is nearly 12 years since Mastercard was clearly told that they had broken the law by imposing excessive card transaction charges, damaging consumers over a prolonged period.
“When challenged, all they have done is to raise technical legal arguments that turn out to have no merit – as the court of appeal has shown today. It’s now time for Mastercard to admit the damage they did, to apologise to the British public, and to agree to pay the compensation they owe.”, reported The Guardian
A spokesperson said Mastercard plans to appeal directly to the Supreme Court as the company “continues to disagree fundamentally with the basis of the claim,” claiming the UK consumers “received real value from the security, convenience and consumer protection of payment services.”