ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- NATSO, the national association representing the travel plaza and truckstop industry, announced today that it has joined others in rejecting a proposed settlement of the antitrust lawsuit brought by merchants, including NATSO, alleging that Visa, MasterCard and national banks collude to set artificially high interchange rates, also known as swipe fees.
It joins the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA), the Texas Food & Fuel Association (TFFA), the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores (GACS), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), other retail groups, as well as convenience retailers Thorntons, Ricker Oil and Cumberland Gulf and retail giants Walmart and Target in opposing the proposal.
Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage of the swipe-fee issue.
NATSO president and CEO Lisa Mullings issued the following statement:
"After careful consideration, NATSO's executive committee determined that the settlement would not be in the best interest of merchants, including NATSO members.
"We joined this lawsuit in search of real reform to a broken system, one that is shielded from normal competitive forces. This proposed settlement does not achieve this goal. It lacks meaningful fixes to a system that allowed Visa and MasterCard to set artificially high swipe fees and provided retailers and consumers with no choice except to pay.
"Rather than offering effective long-term relief, the settlement will ironically cost merchants and consumers more. Aside from a temporary lowering of fees, the credit card companies will be able to simply hike swipe fees to recover the damages and legal fees they have agreed to pay. In other words, retailers will pay for their own award. Worse, in exchange for this so-called relief, the settlement contains a broad release of future claims, sharply curtailing the ability of retailers to take legal action in the future.
"This proposed settlement will certainly disappoint retailers who are hoping for real reform to America's flawed credit card system. It leaves intact the ability of credit card companies to set inflated fees for all banks in their network. And if merchants accept the proposal, Visa and MasterCard will operate without the threat of future litigation."
NATSO, founded in 1960 as the National Association of Truckstop Operators, represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel plaza and truckstop industry; provides education to its members; conducts an annual convention and trade show; and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate.