NGA, Merchants Fight for Transparency, Fairness

NGA and nine other named plaintiffs were joined by a growing community of merchants in filing objections with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to the proposed interchange settlement in the long-standing antitrust litigation against Visa, MasterCard and the large banks.

The 10 named plaintiffs were joined by more than 1,200 small businesses and recognized brands in urging Judge John Gleeson to deny preliminary approval to the settlement on the grounds that it locks in the broken interchange system rather than imposing meaningful reforms to it.

"The NGA board of directors from the outset made it crystal clear that NGA was not motivated by money damages, but reform of the collusive establishment of interchange fees and enforcement of anti-competitive rules by the credit card companies and banks that unfairly restrict merchants' freedom to operate," stated Peter J. Larkin, NGA president and CEO.

NGA has been a named plaintiff on In Re Payment Card Interchange Fees and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation for the past seven and a half years, since the beginning of the lawsuit. "We were and still are all committed to achieving reform of an anti-competitive interchange fee system and rules in order to provide competition, transparency and fairness in the swipe fee marketplace," said Larkin.

"For NGA and the others opposing the proposed settlement it is a matter of substance, not political rhetoric, and a fight for the principles originally established when the suit was filed,” he added. “The substance of the proposed settlement agreement will not provide merchants with competitive choices, fairness or transparency in the future."

NGA was joined in this litigation by three of its members: Coborn's Inc., D'Agostino Supermarkets, and Affiliated Foods Midwest, along with Jetro Holdings, Inc. and Jetro Cash & Carry Enterprises, and five other national associations on behalf of their members, the National Association of Convenience Stores, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Cooperative Grocers Association, National Restaurant Association, NATSO (travel plazas and truck stops). The name plaintiffs are now joined by a chorus of others, including American Booksellers Association, National Association of College Stores, National Retail Federation, Retailer Industry Leaders Association, and over 1,200 merchants ranging from the smallest single store operators to the nation's largest retailers.

Oral arguments before the Court are scheduled for November 9.

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