The financial services corporation Mastercard is being sued for $19 billion following allegations it charged illegally high fees on store transactions for 16 years.
Law firm Quinn Emanuel filled the class action lawsuit at London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal last week. It is stated that Mastercard charged unlawfully high fees to stores when shoppers swiped their cards between 1992 and 2008. The law firm estimates that around 46 million people in the UK were overcharged.
“Consumers were unaware of the level of these fees or that they were illegal,” law firm Quinn Emanuel said in a written statement. “The fees were a significant cost for retailers that was then passed on through increased prices of goods and services. All UK consumers, including cash purchasers—and not just MasterCard holders—have lost money as a result.”
Quinn Emanuel is acting on behalf of Walter Merricks, a lawyer and former chief of UK’s Financial Ombudsman Service, the authority that tries to resolve complaints against financial services firms.
Mastercard denied any wrongdoing in its statement: “We continue to firmly disagree with the basis of this claim and we intend to oppose it vigorously.”