Mastercard to face UK’s biggest ever class action trial

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Mastercard (NYSE:MA) can be sued for GBP10bn in what will be the UK’s biggest ever class action trial, after the Competition Appeal Tribunal overturned its previous decision.


Back in December, the Supreme Court upheld an appeal court ruling that a previous decision by the CAT throwing out the claim had applied the wrong test.


This week the CAT accepted that decision and authorised the case, which is expected to be good news for litigation funding specialists.


Former financial ombudsman Walters Merricks brought what was a GBP14bn claim against the credit and debit card group alleging that admin charges levied on purchases were too high and led to people paying higher prices than necessary between May 1992 and June 2008.


The landmark UK case is being brought on behalf of all people aged 16 and over who bought goods and services from a UK business that accepted Mastercard between these dates, unless they opt out of the lawsuit.


If the case is successful, around 46mln consumers could be entitled to about GBP300 each.


“Mastercard has thrown everything at trying to prevent this claim going forward, but today its efforts have failed,” said Merricks in a statement.


“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 said the claim was being driven by lawyers and organisations “primarily focused on making money for themselves”.


It added: “The decision today reduces the value of this spurious claim by more than 35%. Mastercard is confident that over the coming months a review of key facts will further significantly reduce the size and viability of the claim.”

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