Are We All About To Get £300 Because Mastercard Ballsed Up?

Don't buy the Ganni dress just yet, BUT...


by Sofia Tindall |
Updated on

I know what you're thinking, but no - you're not about to hear anything about PPI, or some obscure breach of law by a tiny credit card company based in the outer hebrides, or an injury that you may have sustained at work.

After combing through todays headlines (I'm no financial journalist - and it's taken a while, but I think we've managed to get to the bottom of it) it turns out that many of us may actually be owed £300 by Mastercard because, well, simply put - though not in the most academic terms - they ballsed up.

At least, they have done according to a court appeal which has recently claimed that the credit card giant owes consumers £14 billion in damages. (£300 in time for the bank holiday? Ok, we're not going to argue with that.)

How has this come about? The action alleges that Mastercard imposed excessive card transaction charges in stores, that damaged consumers in the long run. As a result of the excess charges, we had to pay higher prices in shops than we should have done over the years, with Mastercard taking the resulting profits from those transactions. The claim that Mastercard breached competition law in doing this, has now been brought forward by financial ombudsmen Walter Merricks who are alleging that British adults should receive over £14 billion compensation for having paid these charges.

Merricks, who have brought the class action said: 'It is nearly 12 years since Mastercard was clearly told that they had broken the law by imposing excessive card transaction charges, damaging consumers over a prolonged period.'

'It’s now time for Mastercard to admit the damage they did, to apologise to the British public, and to agree to pay the compensation they owe.’

While it's currently being decided how the claim will proceed, one point of progress that has been made in recovering losses from Mastercard is that CAT (Competition Appeal Tribunal) were found to have given the wrong legal test which would determine whether or not the case should go ahead. The action that was originally brought by Walter Merricks in 2017 to recover losses from Mastercard was thrown out in July, however now it's in the first stages of being revived.

Who would this benefit? Quite a lot of us, actually. Anyone who was over the age of 16 and resident in the UK for at least three months between 1992 and 2008, and who made a purchase from a business that accepted Mastercard could potentially qualify for a compensation. Unless you wish to 'opt out' of the claim (which you can) you are automatically part of the legal action.

As for Mastercard's word on the case? A spokesperson said 'This decision is not a final ruling and the proposed claim is not approved to move forward, rather the court has simply said a rehearing on certain issues should happen.

Mastercard continues to disagree fundamentally with the basis of the claim and we believe UK consumers receive real value from the security, convenience and consumer protection of our payment.'

So how soon could you be receiving compensation? There are a few legal hoops to jump through first, it's true. The claim against Mastercard will now go back to the Competition Appeal Tribunal who will ultimately decide whether to proceed with it or not. Until then, we'll have to wait and see what happens (basically - don't rush happily into your overdraft just yet....)


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