Swipe Fee Filing Deadline May 28

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Booksellers should be aware that the deadline to respond to the swipe fee class-action settlement notice is May 28, 2013, less than two weeks away.

ABA bookstore members should have received a settlement notice as part of the proposed class-action settlement of a federal antitrust lawsuit over rapidly rising Visa and MasterCard credit card swipe fees. The settlement notice offers merchants several options: to file a claim for monetary damages (equal to approximately two months’ worth of interchange fees); to opt out of the settlement; to object to the settlement; or to opt out and object to the settlement. The deadline to file is May 28, 2013.

In an April 19 e-mail to bookstore members regarding the class action settlement over rapidly rising Visa and MasterCard swipe fees, the American Booksellers Association provided its recommendation to its bookstore membership. The e-mail to booksellers included an attached “Settlement Summary” that provides the pros and cons of each option. Any bookstore member that wishes to receive another copy of Teicher’s e-mail and the Settlement Summary should e-mail ABA Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan.

It is important to note that the decision whether to accept the settlement, to object to it, or to opt out and object to it is up to booksellers. However, if a bookseller takes no action the court may interpret silence as total acceptance and support of the terms of the settlement.

Judge Gleeson, the United States District Court Judge presiding over the Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, recommended that booksellers visit www.paymentcardsettlement.com before deciding what action, if any, they wish to take regarding the settlement, or they may want to contact the attorneys appointed by the Court to represent the interests of the Class.

Furthermore, Judge Gleeson has directed that retailers be reminded that opting out of the settlement and objecting to it are entirely distinct actions, and that as far as the Court is concerned, the persuasiveness of a merchant’s objection is the same whether or not the merchant who objects has also opted out of the proposed settlement.

A fairness hearing in the swipe fee case is scheduled for September 12.

Booksellers with questions about the settlement or those who would like a copy of the Settlement Summary should e-mail Grogan.