US Supreme Court allows ATM fees class action

The U.S. Supreme Court says it has declined to hear an appeal from Visa and Mastercard over a decision allowing consumers and ATM operators to band together in class actions seeking billions of dollars in damages over access fees.

US Supreme Court allows ATM fees class action

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against the credit card companies last year when it upheld a trial judge’s decision granting the cases class action status – according to Reuters.

Visa and Mastercard argued that the judge failed to conduct a “rigorous analysis” before certifying three class-actions featuring potentially hundreds of millions of members.

Steve Berman, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said they were “confident that the D.C. Circuit would be upheld and are pleased with this victory.”

Consumers and operators of independent, non-bank ATMs in 2011 sued Visa, Mastercard and a group of banks for alleged violations of U.S. antitrust law. Several big banks settled claims for tens of millions of dollars.

The plaintiffs argue that the rules for ATM access fees have caused them to pay artificially higher amounts for using machines that are not affiliated with their bank.

Three class actions, which include two groups of consumers and about 3,400 non-bank ATM operators, seek damages of more than $9 billion.

Visa and Mastercard have denied the allegations. In their petition to the Supreme Court, they argued that allowing the cases to proceed as class actions would contribute to “rampant confusion” and “disarray” about the legal standards that should apply to class certification.

Attorneys for the consumers and ATM operators countered that the D.C. Circuit “fully considered defendants’ criticism of the district court’s evaluation of the evidence and found it utterly unmeritorious.”


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