WASHINGTON (3/31/14)--Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, took legal action last week alleging Visa and the nation's largest banks have conspired to fix interchange fees and inflate network fees charged to retailers.
Wal-Mart in its 39-page complaint said it filed suit "to recover damages for anticompetitive conduct" by Visa. The suit, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Visa USA Inc., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.
The suit is similar to one filed in 2008, in which a coalition of merchants alleged MasterCard and Visa set artificially high credit card interchange fees. Wal-Mart declined to take part in that suit, which resulted in a $5.7 billion settlement being awarded to the merchants by U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in the Eastern District of New York, Brooklyn. That settlement has been appealed by the National Retail Federation.
"Many retailers withdrew from the years-long antitrust litigation in New York because they did not like the settlement. Presumably they think they can get a better deal by litigating on their own," Credit Union National Association General Counsel Eric Richard said.