Retailers ask federal judge to reject swipe fee settlement

Retailers say they companies collect $30 billion a year off the fees.

“What the class plaintiffs have agreed to is not a settlement, it is surrender,” NRF said in a brief filed with U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Tuesday.

NRF and retailers who supported the brief have opted out of the $7.25 billion offered under the settlement because they would be unable to take an legal action down the road.

But, they say, the settlement's unusual structure does not give retailers the ability to opt out of proposed injunctive relief that would come with restrictions on legal action.

Without the ability to fully opt out, retailers would be bound by the settlement if it gains final approval at a September hearing.

The settlement "gives the credit card networks carte blanche to set and manipulate interchange rates going forward without fear of future private suits," according to the brief.

NRF opposes the settlement because it fails to make changes to how swipe fees are determined or introduce transparency that would lead to competition to lower the fees.

The multibillion-dollar deal settles dozens of lawsuits filed in 2005 by a group of retailers over the interchange fees. Some stores that sued individually will also get a portion of the settlement.

NRF is not a party to the lawsuit, but has led the retail industry’s opposition to the settlement.