Arcadia Group Brands Limited and others v Visa Inc and others
The Claimants are, or were, well-known high street retailers who seek damages for breaches of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”), Article 53 of the European Economic Area Agreement and section 2 of the Competition Act 1998 in relation to the Defendants’ imposition of multilateral interchange fees (“MIFs”) in the course of operating the Visa payment-card system. When a cardholder makes a payment with a Visa credit or debit card the merchant has to pay its bank, known as the “Acquirer”, a “Merchant Service Charge” that includes the MIF, which is then paid by the Acquirer to the cardholder’s issuing bank. The Claimants’ case is that Visa is responsible for setting and implementing the MIF arrangements between its member banks, which in effect set a minimum price or “floor” in the price that they as merchants have to pay the Acquirers to process payments by Visa card. In their view, MIFs are an unlawful arrangement which restricts or distorts competition in the acquiring market and, but for the arrangements, either no MIFs or MIFs equivalent to zero would have applied.
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