The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal has ordered MasterCard to pay GBP68.6m (about $90m) in damages to Sainsbury's over illegal charges imposed on payments with credit and debit cards.
In its ruling, the Competition Appeal Tribunal said that MasterCard had violated the EU and the UK competition laws on interchange fees that it imposed on cards used by the retailer’s customers.
Under MasterCard’s payment scheme, Sainsbury’s was required to pay the fees on card transactions. The supermarket chain sought damages for violation of the Competition Act for the level at which the interchange fees were determined and imposed.
In order to support its charges against MasterCard, Sainsbury’s referred the EU Commission’s decision in 2014, which accused MasterCard for breaching EU law by imposing different interchange fees on cross-border card transactions.
In a statement, MasterCard said: "While we are disappointed to see liability as part of the finding, we note that in awarding a limited portion of the claimed damages, the court concluded that Sainsbury’s did not pass through interchange costs to consumers in the form of higher prices.
“The company is currently evaluating the implications of the judgment to determine if any adjustment to the judgment amount or additional charges for other costs would be required.”
Separately, MasterCard is facing a GBP19bn ($24.5bn) class action lawsuit in the UK for charging exorbitant processing fees on cross-border card transactions that were passed on to shoppers.
In June last year, MasterCard paid $61m to UK supermarket chain Tesco to settle a separate lawsuit over anti-competitive interchange fees.