- What are the settlements about?
Class action lawsuits were commenced in British Columbia (the “BC Action”), Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario (collectively, the “Credit Card Class Actions”) against Visa Canada Corporation (“Visa”), MasterCard International Incorporated (“MasterCard”) and certain banks that 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 (“Acquirer” is an organization or person that entered into a contract with a merchant for the provision of Visa Credit Card or MasterCard Credit Card services and charging Merchant Discount Fees, including Interchange fees in Canada). The BC Action was certified as a class proceeding as against all defendants except for the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec (“Desjardins”).
- Why are there settlements?
Although Desjardins denies liability, it has reached a national settlement with the plaintiffs (the “Desjardins Settlement”), subject to approval of the courts in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario (the “Courts”). Desjardins will pay CAD $9,900,000 (the “Settlement Amount”) for the benefit of the Settlement Class Members (see below) and provide cooperation that will assist with prosecuting the ongoing actions against the non-settling defendants in exchange for a full release of claims against it and its related entities.
If the Desjardins Settlement is approved, the Class Lawyers will ask the Courts to approve the deduction of certain amounts (collectively, the “Court-Approved Expenses”) 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 25% of the recovered amounts, and disbursements.
As the Credit Card Class Actions will continue as against the other defendants, it is proposed that the amounts remaining from the Settlement Amounts after deduction of all Court-Approved Expenses be held in trust for Settlement Class Members pending receipt of further settlements or awards that may justify a distribution effort, or conclusion of the Credit Card Class Actions. At such time, a distribution protocol will be created and submitted to the Courts for approval, and further notice will be provided to Settlement Class Members. If you would like to receive direct notice of any distribution efforts, please register here, or contact one of the Class Lawyers.
- Am I a part of the Settlements?
You are a Settlement Class Member if you accept or accepted Visa credit cards and/or MasterCard credit cards as payment for goods or services and incurred merchant discount fees, including interchange fees, in Canada since March 23, 2001.
You are a Quebec Settlement Class Member if you are a Quebec resident who accepted Visa and/or MasterCard credit cards as payment for goods or services and incurred merchant discount fees, including interchange fees, in Canada, since March 23, 2001. Any legal persons established for a private interest, partnership, or association, which, at any time between December 17, 2009 and December 17, 2010, had under its direction or control more than 50 persons bound to it by contract of employment, are not Quebec Settlement Class Members.
All Settlement Class Members are affected by the Notice.
- How can I participate in the Settlements?
If you fall within the Settlement Class, including the Quebec Settlement Class (defined below), and wish to participate in the Settlements and in the continuing Credit Card Class Actions, you do not need to do anything at this time.
- Can I exclude myself from the settlements?
The deadline to opt out of the Settlements or the class actions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario has already expired. You can no longer opt-out of the British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario class actions.
The deadline to opt out of the Desjardins Settlement or the class action in Quebec is May 21, 2016.
- What are the consequences of excluding myself in Quebec?
By opting out, you are choosing:
- not to take part in any of the Desjardins Settlement in Quebec,
- not to participate in the ongoing prosecution of the Credit Card Class Action in Quebec against the other defendants, AND
- not to participate in any future settlements reached in the Credit Card Class Action in Quebec.
Quebec Settlement Class Members who opt out will not be bound by the Desjardins Settlement or the releases in the Desjardins Settlement, but will also not be entitled to share in any of the proceeds that may become available to merchants as part of the Desjardins Settlement or other settlement(s). Quebec Settlement Class Members who opt out will also not be entitled to participate in the continued prosecution of the Credit Card Class Action in Quebec or future settlements.
- What are the consequences of not excluding myself in Quebec?
Quebec Settlement Class Members who do not opt out will be bound by the Desjardins Settlement and the releases in it, and will be entitled to share in any of the proceeds that may become available to merchants as part of the Desjardins Settlement. They will have an opportunity to opt out of the ongoing litigation against the other defendants if and when such litigation is authorized as a class action against some or all of those remaining defendants.
- What if I do not agree with the Settlement?
If you wish to provide written comment on or objection to the Settlement, you must do so by delivering same to the Administrator by May 17, 2016. Comments or objections will be provided to the Court for consideration in whether to approve or reject the Settlement.
For communications with the Opt-Out Administrator, Epiq Systems call (877) 283-6548, email info@CreditCardSettlements.ca, fax (844) 772-0145 or write to Canadian Interchange, PO Box 2312, 349 W Georgia St., Vancouver, BC V6B 1Y0.
- Who are the lawyers that represent the Classes?
Class Lawyers can be reached at lawyer@CreditCardSettlements.ca and are:
For Non-Quebec Residents: For Quebec Residents: Luciana Brasil
Branch MacMaster LLP
Camp Fiorante Mathews Mogerman
Consumer Law Group
(888) 909-7863 x2
- Where can I find more information?
For more information on the status of the approval hearings or on how to opt out of the Credit Card Class Actions, comment or object to any of the Settlements, or to view the Settlements and a list of other definitions that apply to the Notice, this website will be periodically updated with information on the Settlements approval process and the Credit Card Class Actions.
For communications with the Opt-Out Administrator, call (877) 283-6548, fax to (844) 772-0145, email info@CreditCardSettlements.ca, or write to:
Credit Card Class Actions Opt-Out Administrator
PO Box 2312
349 W Georgia St
Vancouver BC V6B 1Y0
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURTS, THE JUDGES, OR THE DEFENDANTS WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENTS.