Important Swipe Fee Settlement Clarification

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In an April 19 e-mail to bookstore members regarding the class action settlement over rapidly rising Visa and MasterCard swipe fees, the American Booksellers Association recommended that members opt out and object to the settlement. In the e-mail, ABA CEO Oren Teicher said this option was the “most complete way to express your opposition to the settlement.”

Subsequent to that recommendation, Judge Gleeson, the United States District Court Judge presiding over the Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, has directed that retailers be reminded that opting out of the settlement and objecting to it are entirely distinct actions, and that as far as the Court is concerned, the persuasiveness of a merchant’s objection is the same whether or not the merchant who objects has also opted out of the proposed settlement.

ABA still believes that opting out and objecting is the best course of action for member bookstores, with the understanding that booksellers should do what is best for their businesses.

If a bookseller chooses to opt out and object electronically at, they will find that this site has also posted an advisory urging retailers to visit Judge Gleeson recommended that retailers visit that site before deciding what action, if any, they wish to take regarding the settlement. They may also want to contact the attorneys appointed by the Court to represent the interests of the Class.

ABA bookstore members should have received a settlement notice as part of the proposed class-action settlement of a federal antitrust lawsuit over rapidly rising Visa and MasterCard credit card swipe fees. The settlement notice offers merchants several options: to file a claim for monetary damages (equal to approximately two months’ worth of interchange fees); to opt out of the settlement; to object to the settlement; or to opt out and object to the settlement. The deadline to file is May 28, 2013.