Swipe Fee Filing Deadline May 28

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Booksellers are reminded that the deadline to respond to the class action settlement notice in the federal antitrust lawsuit over rapidly rising Visa and MasterCard credit card swipe fees is next Tuesday, May 28.

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.

In an April 19 e-mail from ABA CEO Oren Teicher regarding the settlement, the American Booksellers Association provided its recommendation to bookstore members. The e-mail to booksellers included an attached “Settlement Summary,” which provided the pros and cons of each option. Any bookstore member that wishes to receive another copy of Teicher’s e-mail and the Settlement Summary should contact David Grogan, ABA’s senior policy analyst.

It is important to note that the decision whether to accept the settlement, to object to it, to opt out, or to opt out and object to it is up to booksellers. However, if a bookseller takes no action the court may interpret silence as total acceptance and support of the terms of the settlement.

Judge Gleeson, the U.S. District Court Judge presiding over the Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, recommended that booksellers visit www.paymentcardsettlement.com 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.

Furthermore, Judge Gleeson 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.

A fairness hearing in the swipe fee case is scheduled for September 12.

Booksellers with questions about the settlement should e-mail ABA’s Grogan.