Updated: Dec 16, 2020
UDATED December 13, 2020
Auto Dealers and other retailers who accepted VISA and MasterCard payments for goods and services from January 1, 2004 through January 25, 2019 can apply for their fair share of a $6.2 Billion court ordered settlement.
In 2004 a group of large retailers joined together to sue VISA, MasterCard and the issuing banks
over illegal business practices. Specifically the suit claimed that the defendants colluded to rig
higher and higher “Card Payment Interchange Fees” and “Merchant Discounts” in a manner
that amounted to illegal price fixing.
This case quickly became a “class action”… which enables a small number of plaintiffs to sue on
behalf of a larger group with similar interests. The court agreed to combine these cases into a
class action, the results of which would be applicable to all members of the class. In this case
this means all U.S. interests accepting VISA or MasterCard payments from January 1, 2004
through January 25, 2019. That is IF they elect to become part of the settlement by filing a
Auto Dealers are certainly members of this class and entitled to claim a portion of the $6.2 Billion Settlement.
Online Application: https://www.dealersedge.com/brownstone
Facts You Should Know:
You cannot share in this $6.2 Billion settlement if you do not file a claim. The Claims Administrator appointed by the Court will not automatically send you a settlement offer and payment. It is up to you to know about the process and to file a claim application.
If your individual businesses, current and past, have accepted VISA or MasterCard payments during this period you are eligible to file a claim. Even if your business no longer exists or has been sold, you are still eligible for consideration.
How does the Claims Administrator decide how much money I am owed?
The amount of money you will receive in this settlement is a percentage of the total
interchange fees you paid between January 1, 2004, and January 25, 2019.
According to Court documents, the Claims Administrator will make an effort to determine how
much interchange each merchant paid between January 1, 2004, and January 25, 2019 based
upon “the best available information or a reasonable estimate.”
What are Your options?
Option 1: Do nothing and do not receive your share of the settlement. Note: If you want to
participate, you must file a claim to receive compensation.
Option 2: File your own claim by working with the official Claim Administrator. For more
information, and contact details for no cost assistance, you can visit
www.paymentcardsettlement.com. Claim forms are not available as of this writing. There is no
necessity to file with a third-party provider. There is no deadline for filing at this time but will
be established by the court after the claim form is finalized.
Option 3: You Can Partner with a reputable settlement recovery firm: (Disclosure:
DealersEdge has partnered with Brownstone Recovery to provide this turn-key assistance.)
Brownstone’s services include the navigation and timing of the filing process and utilization of
their in-depth understanding of "interchange rules" to help you determine if the Claim
Administrator’s estimated recovery is fair and appropriate.
They require NO upfront fees and retaining Brownstone is very easy. You simply identify
yourself, your company and tax I.D. number.
All payment records for the covered period are supplied by the defendants in this action as
ordered by the court. You do not have to dig through your records to supply the necessary
detail to file a claim. You pay a percentage of the settlement recovery only when it is finalized
by the Claims Administrator. You risk nothing.
How much is this worth to you?
The amount of any individual settlement will depend primarily on the dollar volume of the
qualifying VISA and MasterCard payments accepted during the stated period.
At this writing all that is left before Claim Applications can be filed is the completion of the form
itself and the establishing of filing deadline.
Let’s do some estimating to determine your volume of related sales subject to this
This is a proforma for estimating purposes only. Adjust the assumptions up or down according
to your own levels and estimate. This is solely an exercise to help you ballpark the numbers.
Ballpark Recent Year Estimate for “Sample Motors”
(One Location…One Year…Your numbers can be very different. Use Your Own Number for these Categories)
Recent Year Estimated Sales via VISA and MasterCard Annual Total
Customer Paid Labor Sales $1,100,000
Customer Paid Part Sales $ 950,000
Customer Paid Parts Counter Sales $ 300,000
Estimated VISA/MasterCard Sales for 1 Recent Year $2,350,000
Based upon Class Counsel comments quoted in Businessweek article early in the Settlement: "Merchants who file claims under the settlement are expected to generate recoveries of between 30 percent and 40 percent of total fees they paid..." Note: does not address multiple years of business which may be different merchant to merchant.
Estimate for a Single Year:
Payment Card Interchange Fees and Merchant discounts will vary from retailer to retailer. If you don’t have that percentage at hand, I am sure your accounting department can provide it.
For estimation purposes, let’s assume your fee is 2% of the transaction.
2% of this estimated $2.35 Million Annual VISA/MC Sales = $47,000 for a Single Recent Year/One Location
The exact formula is yet to be finalized, but we can offer a semi-educated guess of how this will work.
Extrapolate for the Years (2004-2019) that you accepted VISA and MasterCard in your business:
If the recovery estimate reported previously in Businessweek is correct, and if these were your numbers for a single year, the expected recovery (at 30%) would be $15,500/year. Extrapolated for 10 years of business would be $155.000… 15 years $232,500. But these estimates are far from set in stone. We will not know until the Claim Administrator releases the final claim form. Keep in mind this is a broad “ballpark estimate” and your actual related VISA/MC charges and recovery could vary significantly. But whatever it is… it IS significant!
Caution: The recovery formula has not yet been set and could differ significantly from what was reported in Businessweek. Also, final recovery totals could be impacted by a heavier volume of claims than anticipated. If more recovery is claimed, then the available funds would be reduced pro rata, reducing the amount realized by each claimant.
DealersEdge Partners with Brownstone Recovery Group
Brownstone Recovery Group has extensive experience in cases involving interchange fees and an expert’s knowledge of the workings of merchant and payment services. Brownstone also has extensive experience in working with court appointed Claims Administrators.
The first thing you need to remember is that you do NOT have to file via a third-party representative.
Reasons for DealerEdge confidence in Brownstone:
Expertise: This is a niche topic and Brownstone’s expertise is narrowly focused in this area. It is their specialty. They know how to navigate the potential unexpected changes of the claim process to get you the payout you deserve.
Experience: Brownstone’s experts have decades of experience in settlement recovery, with special experience with cases involving payment and interchange policies. They have previous experience in a case involving VISA and MasterCard and are well-positioned to deal with any changes that may come up in a case like this.
Transparency: Brownstone clients are updated throughout the process. At the appropriate time, Brownstone will tell you what the Claims Administrator is offering and will work with you on any necessary appeals. From start to final payment, they will keep you informed of the status of your claim.
Brownstone Makes It Easy For You: Brownstone will obtain all related payment information from the defendants. VISA and MasterCard have been ordered by the Court to supply a full accounting for anyone filing a claim. Brownstone will file your claim and, best of all… they will do all of the heavy lifting and documentation in support of your claim. You simply give them permission to do so… and they do the rest.
The Brownstone Process:
There is no up-front payment of any kind. Brownstone’s fee is paid as a percentage of your actual recovery payment. Call or email for an explanation of Brownstone’s fees: email@example.com or call me directly via my cell at - 609.713.1415
Brownstone Recovery will register your intent to participate in the settlement with the Claims Administrator.
When the application form is finalized, Brownstone Recovery will file an accurate claim on your behalf with the Claims Administrator.
Brownstone Recovery will follow up with you for any additional information needed to support your claim and/or possible appeal.
Brownstone Recovery will track the settlement process and notify you about progress and status.
One Additional Caveat…
If You Have an Existing Recovery Agreement with Another 3rd Party Firm…
If you have previously signed a recovery agreement with another firm, we urge you to check to make sure they are still in business and pursuing your settlement. This case is 15 years old at this point and some of the firms offering similar services have gone out of business and may have neglected to inform their clients. There is too much money at stake… don’t assume you have this covered.
Questions? More Details?
Contact: Jim Muntz/DealersEdge Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick & Easy Online Application: https://www.dealersedge.com/brownstone