A shocking court ruling against US financial services firm Mastercard has allowed a £14bn lawsuit to proceed, resulting in a £300 for each adult in the UK.
"I am very pleased with today's decision," UK financial ombudsman Walter Merricks said in a statement. "It is nearly 12 years since Mastercard was clearly told that they had broken the law by imposing excessive card transaction charges, damaging consumers over a prolonged period."
Mr. Merricks added that when Mastercard was challenged, it simply raised "technical legal arguments that turn out to have no merit" as shown by the Court of Appeals. "It's now time for Mastercard to admit the damage they did, to apologise to the British public, and to agree to pay the compensation they owe."
But Mastercard representatives "disagree fundamentally with the basis of the claim", stating that the decision was not a "final ruling" and that "the court has simply said a rehearing on certain issues should happen."
— Ron Delnevo (@RonCashman) April 17, 2019
— Armin (@Arm_i_n) April 17, 2019
Mr. Merricks' claim states that Mastercard had overcharged consumers over a 16-year period from 1992 to 2008, breaching antitrust laws and resulting in roughly £14.6bn in losses to customers. Should Mastercard lose the case, any consumer in the UK during the period could be reimbursed.
But any shop that had accepted Mastercard's steep prices could be due payouts, in addition to customers who had never used the card.
Mastercard has said it plans to appeal the decision, and the Competition Appeals Tribunal had first ruled that Merricks' claim could not proceed because even if he could prove that 46m customers were overcharged, he could not show how much individual customers were affected.