ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) have joined NACS, SIGMA, Target, the National Grocers Association and Walmart in opposing the terms of the proposed antitrust settlement with Visa and MasterCard that was announced on July 13.
NCPA alleged that Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, Citibank, Bank One, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Capital One, SunTrust and other banks have engaged in collusive practices by setting credit card interchange fees at exorbitant levels and limiting competition.
"After closely reviewing this complex and multifaceted proposed agreement along with legal counsel, NCPA€™s board concluded that the settlement is insufficient and that accepting it would not be in the best interest of merchants and the independent community pharmacy owners that NCPA represents," said CEO Douglas Hoey.
"NCPA joined this lawsuit to achieve meaningful, long-term reforms to the current swipe fee system. This proposed settlement came woefully short by not imposing necessary fundamental changes to the structure of the industry and the rules affecting merchants, particularly small business community pharmacies."
Robynn Shrader, CEO of NCGA, noted that when the association signed onto this action, it did so "in the interest of consumer fairness and in support of industry transparency." She added that the proposed antitrust settlement "falls short of providing true reform in the system by continuing to allow credit card issuers to exploit retailers and consumers without risk of repercussion."
NACS, a class plaintiff in the litigation, continues to hear from retailers and associations also concerned with the terms of the proposed swipe fee antitrust settlement. Because the proposed settlement does not introduce competition and transparency into the broken credit card swipe fee market, the NACS Board of Directors rejected the proposed settlement agreement.
NACS suggests that retailers proceed with caution, especially if they get unsolicited sales calls that offer a cut of the settlement funds.
"There is no need to sign any agreements with third parties to obtain settlement funds. We will provide news and updates on a regular basis related to the terms of this proposed settlement and recommend that retailers do their due diligence in going forward," said NACS Senior Vice President of Government Relations Lyle Beckwith.
Beckwith also encouraged retailers to express their opinions regarding the terms of the proposed settlement via local media and in press releases: Tell them what you think of the proposed settlement, and that this issue is far from over. The credit card companies want everyone to think that the lawsuit is settled.
Share what you have done to communicate your opposition to the proposed settlement or share your comments by contacting Lyle Beckwith.