February 19, 2015
In the past several years, a number of antitrust actions have been filed against American Express relating to its anti-steering rules, or “ASRs.” Plaintiffs in these actions have contended the ASRs are anti-competititve and have allowed American Express to artificially inflate the fees it charges to merchants. ASRs prevent merchants from using price and other means to steer customers to less costly forms of payment, thereby insulating American Express from competition.
The United States Department of Justice was one of the plaintiffs suing American Express. Following a seven-week bench trial between the Department of Justice and American Express, Judge Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York said that he had “no choice” but to find that American Express’ ASRs violated United States antitrust laws. This decision could result in sweeping changes to the way American Express interacts with its retail and merchant customers and expose it to significant damages for past discount fees paid by retailers and merchants in excess of the level deemed competitive.
NP believes the antitrust claims against American Express are strong. NP will be representing large retail and merchant clients with significant discount fees in direct actions against American Express. NP has significant experience representing Fortune 100 and 500 companies in similar litigation against Visa and Mastercard. If your, or your client’s, company is a large retailer or merchant and has significant discount fees paid to American Express, please contact Nix Patterson to fully explore the possibilities for recovery.
NP partners Jeffrey Angelovich and Michael Angelovich are leading the litigation against American Express.