In one of the first and largest claims under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, lawyers are preparing to file a £19bn class action lawsuit against MasterCard on behalf of UK consumers.

Walter Merricks, former Chief Financial Services Ombudsman, has instructed law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan to bring a class action against MasterCard following a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in 2014. The ECJ decided that MasterCard had abused its dominant market position for 16 years (1992-2008), by charging anti-competitive interchange fees for cross-border transactions. 

MasterCard ‘firmly disagrees’ with the action, and contends that the ECJ ruling is limited to cross-border transactions.  MasterCard has already faced 12 lawsuits in the UK following the ECJ ruling, from retailers including Topshop, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons. The suits are ongoing with MasterCard arguing that retailers cannot claim damages since they passed any losses from the cross-border transactions on to consumers.

The initial hearing for the class action claim is likely to take place later this year, with the trial starting in 2018.