On Wednesday, August 18, a London court ruled that a £10 Billion class action against Mastercard can now go ahead on behalf of 46 million British consumers.
“The decision to finally authorise the five-year case as a collective action establishes a standard for a string of other proposed class actions that have been stalled in its wake,” reports Reuters.
The Mastercard case was the first massive consumer class action to come before the UK’s specialized Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT). In 2017, the CAT rejected the claim, on the grounds that it was too ill-defined and the claimants’ damages too diverse to proceed. The case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the CAT must reconsider its decision with a much lower bar for determining if class actions should proceed. The Supreme Court’s ruling could open the proverbial floodgates to massive class action claims in the UK.
The CAT’s greenlight this week means the Mastercard case will now go to trial. However, the claim cannot include those consumers who have passed away between 1992 and 2008 (despite the efforts of the claimants’ lawyers to include the deceased). From its side, Mastercard said that the effect of the CAT ruling was that it has reduced the claim by more than 35% from the original £14 to £10 billion. Mastercard went on to say that it “is confident that over the coming months a review of key facts will further significantly reduce the size and viability of the claim”.
If the claim is successful, consumers would in theory stand to make roughly £300 each; however, the portion of the claim that will end up going to the claimants’ lawyers and the litigation funders is unknown (and will definitely be substantial).
Mastercard states that the claim is “spurious” and that it is “driven by lawyers and backed by organisations primarily focused on making money for themselves”, reports Reuters.
A trial date has yet to be set.