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National Restaurant Association - Court notices sent in NRA-opposed swipe-fee settlement

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Court notices sent in NRA-opposed swipe-fee settlement

This month the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York began notifying millions of restaurateurs and other merchants about a proposed settlement in the long-running case the National Restaurant Association and other merchant groups filed against Visa, MasterCard and some large banks over card acceptance fees and rules.

The Association opposes the proposed settlement, believing it does little, if anything, to address fundamental problems in the way fees are set, and limits future legal challenges by merchants against card networks.

Along with a majority of named class class co-plaintiffs in the case, the Association last fall asked the court to reject the proposed settlement. But the court gave its preliminary approval in November, and has set a final "fairness hearing" for September 2013 to decide on final approval.

The National Restaurant Association is working to ensure that every individual restaurant merchant understands their options in the case.

Each individual restaurateur must decided on their own how to proceed -- whether to object to settlement, opt out of the settlement, opt out and object, or remain in the class. Since the Association has gone on the record in strong opposition to the settlement, the Association recommends that merchants take one of the first three actions. If a merchant chooses to opt out or object, paperwork must be filed with the court by May 28, 2013.

If merchants do nothing about the notices they receive, they automatically remain in the class -- and settlement proponents could use this as a tool to urge the court to give final approval to the agreement in September. If merchants object, opt out or do both, this sends a strong message to the court that merchants are unhappy with the proposed settlement.

The Association offers more details at Restaurant.org/InterchangeSettlement.

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