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National Restaurant Association - Majority of named plaintiffs oppose interchange settlement

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Majority of named plaintiffs oppose interchange settlement

The National Restaurant Association is among the named plaintiffs that opposed a proposed antitrust settlement related to payment card fees.

In a joint statement, the NRA and other named plaintiffs said they object to the proposed agreement with Visa, MasterCard and some of the nation’s largest banks because they believe the settlement would allow the card companies and banks industry to continue to take advantage of merchants and their customers while blocking competition and choice. The settlement wouldn't reform anticompetitive and illegal practices by the card industry, the named plaintiffs say.

"There is strong concern among our member companies that the proposed settlement will not achieve the litigation’s most critical goal — to fundamentally change a broken marketplace in which swipe fees are set," said NRA President and CEO Dawn Sweeney. "We don't expect any settlement to address every flaw of the current system, but we cannot allow it to lock in the worst elements."

Over the past seven years, card companies have charged $350 billion in swipe fees to merchants and ultimately consumers.

Ten of the 19 named merchant-class plaintiffs oppose the proposed settlement. In addition to NRA, they are: Affiliated Foods Midwest, Coborn’s, Inc., D’Agostino Supermarkets, Jetro Holdings, Inc. and Jetro Cash & Carry Enterprises, National Association of Convenience Stores, NATSO, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Cooperative Grocers Association and National Grocers Association. The groups represent hundreds of thousands of stores with trillions of dollars in sales.

"Class counsel" is expected this week to ask the federal court for the Eastern District of New York to preliminarily approve the agreement. Opponents then have 30 days to file a brief opposing preliminary approval.

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