Mastercard Pushes Back On $19B UK Class Action

Mastercard on Thursday, March 25, pushed back against attempts to add compound interest to a £14 billion (US$19.2 billion) British consumer class action during a specialist court hearing to certify and agree the scope of the historic case, reported Reuters.

On the first day of a two-day hearing at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), a Mastercard lawyer said that common law did not assume that interest would accrue on a compound basis on such claims.

“The law is not the same as economic theory,” he said. “In most cases, simple interest is going to be perfectly adequate as a means of compensation.”

Former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks, who is leading the claim, alleges that Mastercard overcharged almost 60 million people in Britain – including about 14 million people now deceased – over nearly 16 years. The case could entitle adults and their estates to roughly £300 each if successful.

On Friday, Mastercard will lay out its arguments about why claims from the deceased should be excluded, after which the CAT has to decide whether to certify Britain’s first mass consumer claim as a collective action – and clarify the rules for a string of other class actions stalled in its wake.

The UK Supreme Court paved the way for the case to proceed after overruling objections in December.

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