Mastercard is sued for $19 billion for allegedly charging excessive fees, according to court documents filed in London, in what could become Britain's biggest damages claim. Jo Webster reports.
Mastercard is being sued for 14 billion dollars. The damages claim could be the biggest in British history. A win could benefit up to 46 million people. The legal case brought by a former chief financial services ombudsman. It says Mastercard charged stores excessive fees when shoppers swiped their debit or credit cards. And that those fees were passed on to consumers through higher prices. Mastercard accused of carrying out the practice for 16 years between 1992 and 2008. But it denies any wrongdoing. In a statement it says it will oppose the claim 'vigorously'. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PANMURE GORDON CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "It's very difficult at this early stage to know whether this has got legs and will be as material to Mastercard as it has been for some of the banks that have been accused of mis-selling PPI. One thing I would say is there are a series of judicial hearings to get through before this even gets to court." Consumers would automatically be claimants unless they opt out. Anyone over age 16 living in Britain who used a credit card, cash or cheques during the 16 year period will automatically be included. If the 14 billion pound were shared equally between the number of eligible claimants. Each person could receive more than 300 pounds each, according to a Reuters' calculation.