The deadline for retailers to submit claim forms in the Visa Check/MasterMoney antitrust class action lawsuit is Wednesday, December 28, 2005. Class members -- retailers that accepted Visa and MasterCard debit cards between October 25, 1992, and July 31, 2003, have until then to return the forms, which were mailed to them at the end of September. December 28 is also the deadline for retailers to challenge the estimated cash payment amount on the claim form.
The suit against Visa USA Inc. and MasterCard International Inc. was first filed in October 1996 by U.S. merchants who argued that Visa and MasterCard's "honor all cards" practice -- requiring retailers to accept both credit cards and the Visa/MasterCard debit cards -- was a violation of federal antitrust law. Plaintiffs in the case included about 20 of the nation's largest retailers, including Wal-Mart and Sears, Roebuck & Co. In addition to the named plaintiffs, the lawsuit was a class action representing any merchant that had accepted Visa or MasterCard debit cards since October 1992, or approximately five million large and small retailers, including independent booksellers.
An extension of the deadline to December 28 was announced in October in an advisory from Constantine Cannon, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, which informed class members that a judge had extended the original deadline by 90 days.
The settlement in the Visa Check/MasterMoney lawsuit provides over $3.38 billion in compensatory relief and an injunction valued by the court in the range of $25 billion to $87 billion to merchants and consumers over the next decade, according to a July 20 Advisory from Constantine to the merchants in the Class.
Each merchant will receive a percentage of the damages based on its volume of debit and credit card transactions between October 25, 1992, and July 31, 2003, meaning larger retailers will receive a larger percentage.
The claims administrator can be reached via phone at (888) 641-4437 (toll-free); via e-mail at email@example.com; or by mail to Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation, Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 9000 #6014, Merrick, NY 11566-9000.
Free help in completing the forms is available by calling the toll-free help-line at (888) 641-4437 or visiting the case website, www.inrevisacheckmastermoneyantitrustlitigation.com/.
Copies of this Advisory and the entire Plan of Allocation can be obtained at the case website.