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National Restaurant Association - NRA opposes proposed swipe-fee settlement agreement

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NRA opposes proposed swipe-fee settlement agreement

The National Restaurant Association today announced its opposition to a proposed settlement agreement in a long-running merchant lawsuit against Visa, MasterCard and some large banks over allegedly anticompetitive swipe fees.

After thorough deliberation, the NRA Board of Directors' Executive Committee voted unanimously to oppose the terms of a proposed swipe-fee antitrust settlement unveiled in July.

The case dates back about seven years; NRA is one of 19 named class plaintiffs (six trade associations and 13 companies) who charged the card companies and banks with setting anticompetitive swipe-fee rates. The NRA has decided to oppose the July settlement agreement, citing strong concerns that the agreement won't accomplish the critical goal of fundamentally changing the broken marketplace in which swipe fees are set. Read the full NRA statement.

Counsel is collecting "yes" or "no" answers from all 19 named plaintiffs on their position on the proposed settlement. The court must then decide whether to give preliminary approval to the proposed settlement; that decision is likely this fall. If the court gives preliminary approval, a long and complicated notification period begins, to give potential class members (an estimated 7 to 8 million merchants) information on how to opt in or opt out of the agreement, likely by early spring 2013.

Once class members' objections and responses are filed with the court, the court will hold a final fairness hearing, likely in summer 2013, to make a final decision on whether to approve or disapprove the settlement. We'll keep you posted as details emerge. In the interim, NRA continues to caution its members about signing up with any third-party claims agents.


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