National Geographic : 2013 Mar
LEGAL NOTICE To merchants who have accepted Visa and MasterCard at any time since January 1, 2004: Notice of a 6+ billion dollar class action settlement. Notice of a class action settlement authorized by the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York. This notice is authorized by the Court to inform you about an agreement to settle a class action lawsuit that may affect you. The lawsuit claims that Visa and MasterCard, separately, and together with banks, violated antitrust laws and caused merchants to pay excessive fees for accepting Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards, including by: Agreeing to set, apply, and enforce rules about merchant fees (called default interchange fees); Limiting what merchants could do to encourage their customers to use other forms of payment through, for example, charging customers an extra fee or offering discounts; and Continuing that conduct after Visa and MasterCard changed their corporate structures. The defendants say they have done nothing wrong. They say that their business practices are legal and the result of competition, and have benefitted merchants and consumers. The Court has not decided who is right because the parties agreed to a settlement. On November 27, 2012, the Court gave preliminary approval to this settlement. THE SETTLEMENT Under the settlement, Visa, MasterCard, and the bank defendants have agreed to make payments to two settlement funds: I]ZÄghi^hV18Vh];jcYo·V+#%* billion fund that will pay valid claims of merchants that accepted Visa or MasterCard credit or debit cards at any time between January 1, 2004 and November 28, 2012. The second is an “Interchange ;jcYo · Zhi^bViZY id WZ Veegdm^bViZan &#' W^aa^dc · i]Vi will be based on a portion of the interchange fees attributable to certain merchants that accept Visa or MasterCard credit cards for an eight-month “Interchange Period.” Additionally, the settlement changes some of the Visa and MasterCard rules applicable to merchants who accept their cards. This settlement creates two classes: A Cash Settlement Class (Rule 23(b)(3) Settlement Class), which includes all persons, businesses, and other entities that accepted any Visa or MasterCard cards in the U.S. at any time from January 1, 2004 to November 28, 2012, and A Rule Changes Settlement Class (Rule 23(b)(2) Settlement Class), which includes all persons, businesses, and entities that as of November 28, 2012 or in the future accept any Visa or MasterCard cards in the U.S. WHAT MERCHANTS WILL GET FROM THE SETTLEMENT Every merchant in the Cash Settlement Class that files a valid claim will get money from the $6.05 billion Cash Fund, subject to a deduction (not to exceed 25% of the fund) to account for merchants who exclude themselves from the Cash Settlement Class. The value of each claim, where possible, will be based on the actual or estimated interchange fees attributable to the merchant’s MasterCard and Visa payment card transactions from January 1, 2004 to November 28, 2012. Payments to merchants who file valid claims for a portion of the Cash Fund will be based on: The money available to pay all claims, The total dollar value of all valid claims filed, The deduction described above not to exceed 25% of the Cash Settlement Fund, and The cost of settlement administration and notice, money awarded to the class representatives, and attorneys’ fees and expenses all as approved by the Court. In addition, merchants in the Cash Settlement Class that accept Visa and MasterCard during the eight- month Interchange Period and file a valid claim will get money from the separate Interchange Fund, estimated to be approximately $1.2 billion. The value of each claim, where possible, will be based on an estimate of one- tenth of 1% of the merchant’s Visa and MasterCard credit card dollar sales volume during that period. Payments to merchants who file valid claims for a portion of the Interchange Fund will be based on: The money available to pay all claims, The total dollar value of all valid claims filed, and The cost of settlement administration and notice, and any attorneys’ fees and expenses that may be approved by the Court. Attorneys’ fees and expenses and money awarded to the class representatives: For work done through final approval of the settlement by the district court, Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees in an amount that is a reasonable proportion of the Cash Settlement Fund, not to exceed 11.5% of the Cash Settlement Fund of $6.05 billion and 11.5% of the Interchange Fund estimated to be $1.2 billion to compensate all of the lawyers and their law firms that have worked on the class case. For additional work to administer the settlement, distribute both funds, and through any appeals, Class Counsel may seek reimbursement at their normal hourly rates, not to exceed an additional 1% of the Cash Settlement Fund of $6.05 billion and an additional 1% of the Interchange Fund estimated to be $1.2 billion. Class Counsel will also request reimbursement of their expenses (not including the administrative costs of settlement or notice), not to exceed $40 million www.PaymentCardSettlement.com Si desea leer este aviso en español, llámenos o visite nuestro sitio web.