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Credit Card Interchange Fee Price Fixing

The Credit Card Actions

Class action lawsuits were commenced in British Columbia (the “BC Action”), Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec (the “QC Action”) and Ontario (collectively, the “Credit Card Class Actions”) against Visa Canada Corporation (“Visa”), Mastercard International Incorporated (“Mastercard”) and certain banks which issue credit cards (“Issuing Banks”) alleging each of Visa and Mastercard conspired with their Issuing Banks and acquirers in setting the amount of interchange fees and imposing rules restricting merchants’ ability to surcharge or refuse higher cost Visa and Mastercard credit cards. The BC Action and the QC Action were certified/authorized as class proceedings.

The Prior Settlements

There have been a number of partial settlements achieved to date. The Courts have previously approved settlement agreements with Bank of America, Citigroup, Capital One, Desjardins, National Bank, Visa and Mastercard (the “Prior Settlements”). The Prior Settlements have a total value of $68,530,000 plus accrued interest. Information about the Prior Settlements is available at www.CreditCardSettlements.ca. The net proceeds from the Prior Settlements have been held by the Class Lawyers pending resolution of all remaining claims in the Credit Card Actions.

The New Settlement

Although Royal Bank of Canada, The Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Bank of Montreal and The Bank of Nova Scotia (collectively, the “Settling Defendants”) deny liability, they have collectively entered into a new national settlement with the plaintiffs (the “Proposed Settlement”), subject to approval of the Courts. The Settling Defendants will collectively pay a total of CAD $120 million (the “Settlement Amount”) for the benefit of the Settlement Class Members in exchange for the dismissal of the Credit Card Actions and other related litigation, and a full release of all claims advanced against each of them and their related entities, including future claims relating to continuing acts or practices that occurred prior to or following the commencement of the Credit Card Actions. The Proposed Settlement is not an admission of liability on the part of the Settling Defendants who deny the allegations, nor has there been any finding of liability by the Courts against them.

If the Proposed Settlement is approved, the Class Lawyers will ask the Courts to approve the deduction of certain amounts from the Settlement Amount, including costs incurred to distribute the notice and process opt-out requests, comments and objections, a counsel fee of up to 30% of the recovered amounts (subject to approval by the Courts), and disbursements.

Distribution of Net Settlement Proceeds

If the Proposed Settlement is approved, it will bring the Credit Card Actions to an end and will allow the distribution of the net settlement proceeds remaining after deduction of all court-approved fees, costs and expenses in respect of the Prior Settlements and the Proposed Settlement (collectively, the “Net Settlement Proceeds”). It is estimated that there will be approximately $145,000,000 available for distribution to Settlement Class Members.

At the Settlement Approval Hearing, the Class Lawyers will  also present a Distribution Plan for the distribution of the Net Settlement Proceeds. The Distribution Plan is subject to court approval. A copy of the Distribution Plan is posted below in “Important Documents” and can be found on the “Documents” page at www.CreditCardSettlements.ca.

Certification/Authorization as Class Proceedings for Settlement Purposes

The BC Action and the QC Action were certified / authorized to proceed as class actions by the Courts, but with some limitations. In order to implement the Proposed Settlement, the Courts have, for settlement purposes only, certified / authorized all of the Credit Card Actions as class proceedings on broader terms against the Settling Defendants.

Settlement Approval Hearing

A hearing to consider approval of the Proposed Settlement, the Distribution Plan, a counsel fee of up to 30% of the recovered amounts, and disbursements and other expenses payable from the Settlement Amount will take place by video link as directed by the Courts on December 6, 2021 at the following times:

  • 9:00a.m. PST (British Columbia Supreme Court, Vancouver)
  • 10:00 a.m. MST (Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Edmonton)
  • 11:00 a.m. CST (Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan, Regina)
  • 12:00p.m. EST (Quebec Superior Court, Montreal)
  • 12:00 p.m. EST (Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Toronto).

Anyone can attend the hearing, but for planning purposes we encourage anyone who wishes to attend to let us know in advance. A link to the hearing will be available at  www.creditcardsettlements.ca.

If you wish to provide comment on or objection to the Proposed Settlement, Distribution Plan, or the lawyers’ fees and disbursements, either in writing or by speaking to the Court at the hearing, you must contact Epiq* by December 5, 2021. Written comments or objections will be provided to the Court for consideration in whether to approve or reject the Proposed Settlement and Distribution Plan.

Important Documents:

For more information please contact Conall Kelly, Paralegal at (604) 654-2961 or by email at ckelly@branmac.com. We also encourage you to go to the official website for this Credit Card Class Action at creditcardsettlements.ca.

*Epiq: email: info@CreditCardSettlements.ca, fax: 1-866-262-0816 or write to P.O. Box 507 STN B Ottawa ON K1P 5P6.

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