The Competition Appeal Tribunal has approved a £10.0bn class action against Mastercard that could entitle 46.0m British adults to roughly £300 each if successful.
The CAT had been expected to certify the UK’s first mass consumer class action, brought by former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks, after the Supreme Court overruled objections to it back in December 2020.
The move to finally approve the five-year case as a collective action will also likely set a precedent for a series of additional proposed class action suits that had been stalled in its wake.
“Mastercard has thrown everything at trying to prevent this claim going forward, but today its efforts have failed,” said Merricks.
“The tribunal’s ruling heralds the start of an era of consumer-focused class actions which will help to hold big business to account in areas that really matter.”
Mastercard stated the claim was “spurious” and was driven by lawyers and backed by other organisations that were “primarily focused on making money for themselves”.
Merricks claims that Mastercard charged excessive “interchange” fees between May 1992 and June 2008 that were then passed on to consumers as a result of retailers raising prices. However, Merricks failed to expand the scope of the claim by adding deceased estates and compound interest to the claim.
“The decision today reduces the value of this spurious claim by more than 35%,” Mastercard said.
“Mastercard is confident that over the coming months a review of key facts will further significantly reduce the size and viability of the claim.”
As of 1010 BST, Mastercard shares were down 3.95% in pre-market trading at $357.0 each.