The competition appeal tribunal (CAT), a newly empowered court that oversees Britain’s fledgling class action regime, ruled that it would not grant the necessary collective proceedings order for the case to continue to trial.
A law firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, launched the case on behalf of adults in Britain after MasterCard lost a drawn-out appeal against a 2007 European commission decision that ruled its fees were anti-competitive.
The case centred on so-called interchange fees, the charges levied by credit and debit card companies such as MasterCard on merchants’ banks, which card companies say cover the costs of operating card services, security and innovation.
The planned lawsuit had been dubbed by one lawyer the “perfect exam question” for Britain’s CAT, nominated in 2015 to oversees the country’s maiden “opt-out” class action lawsuits in antitrust cases.
The high court ruled in January that MasterCard had charged interchange fees at a lawful level and without restricting competition in a similar dispute with retailers.