Welcome to the Informational Website for the
American Express Merchant Settlement
This website provides information regarding a proposed settlement over allegations that certain rules applicable to individuals and businesses (“merchants”) that accept American Express cards in payment for goods or services violate the antitrust laws resulting in merchants paying excessive fees for accepting American Express cards.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York has granted preliminary approval of a settlement among American Express and all merchants who accept American Express cards settling two class action lawsuits. Class Plaintiffs claim that American Express violated the antitrust laws by imposing rules that limited merchants from steering their customers to other payment methods and that required merchants that want to accept any American Express cards to accept all American Express cards. The Class Plaintiffs claim that these rules insulated American Express from competitive pressure to lower merchant fees and caused an upward spiral in merchant fees for American Express, Visa and MasterCard. American Express denies these claims.
The settlement benefits for class members fall under the category of “injunctive relief.” An injunction is when a court orders a person or a business to do or not to do something. In this case, American Express has agreed to certain changes to its merchant rules related to card acceptance. Under the terms of the settlement, American Express will amend its rules for merchants that accept American Express cards at any location in the United States (including at a physical merchant location, online or mobile application) to allow the merchants to, among other things, charge a surcharge to customers who pay with an American Express credit or charge card, subject to certain limitations and exclusions. See FAQ 8 for a more detailed explanation of the settlement benefits. All members of the class will be providing a release of all injunctive relief claims to American Express. See FAQ 5 for a more detailed explanation of the settlement release.
The changes to American Express’s merchant rules are the benefit the class is receiving in this settlement. The settlement does not offer payments to class members or adjust any merchant’s fees for accepting American Express cards. If a merchant wants to seek monetary damages related to American Express’s merchant rules as they exist prior to the changes brought about by this settlement, the merchant remains free to pursue that claim consistent with the dispute resolution provisions of the merchant’s card acceptance agreement.
The class is comprised of all merchants that accept American Express cards at any location in the United States (including at a physical merchant location, online or mobile application), as of or after February 12, 2014, onward.
The class is a mandatory class, meaning that all members of the class will be bound by the settlement and that no class member can opt out of the class.
Class members can tell the Court that they object to (disagree with) the terms of the Class Settlement Agreement. To object, a class member must file a Statement of Objection no later than June 6, 2014. Instructions on how to file a Statement of Objection can be found in FAQ 9.
Under this type of class action, you cannot exclude yourself from the class or this settlement. However, as explained above, you can still object to the settlement. If the settlement is finally approved, it will be applicable to all merchants regardless of whether or not they object.
The law firms identified below have been appointed by the Court to represent you and other class members. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense. If you want to be represented by your own counsel in connection with an objection to this settlement, you must tell the Court of your request and send a copy of your request to Class Counsel.
|Gary B. Friedman
Friedman Law Group LLP
270 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012
Read K. McCaffrey
Patton Boggs LLP
2550 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Mark A. Wendorf
Reinhardt Wendorf & Blanchfield
1250 East First National Bank Bldg
332 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN 55101
To obtain more information about the settlement, click on any of the following links:
- View the Long Form Notice
- View the Frequently Asked Questions page
- View the Important Documents page, which includes the Class Settlement Agreement and documents related to approval of the settlement.
In case of questions, you can contact the case administrator here.
Please do not write or call the judge or any court personnel concerning this lawsuit or Settlement.