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Originally published Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM

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Big stores nix credit-card settlement, file suit

Some of the country’s largest retailers filed a lawsuit against MasterCard and Visa, rejecting a settlement reached last year over alleged fee-fixing.

The Associated Press

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NEW YORK — Some of the country’s largest retailers, including Target and Macy’s, on Thursday filed a lawsuit against MasterCard and Visa, rejecting a settlement reached last year over alleged fee-fixing.

A larger group of 19 trade associations and retail companies originally sued the card-processing companies in 2005, claiming they conspired to fix the fees they charge stores for handling credit-card payments.

A $7.2 billion settlement was reached in July, but some retailers rejected it, partially because it includes a provision barring retailers from filing future lawsuits over swipe fees.

Some retailers also have argued the $7.2 billion was far less than what they deserved and might have won at trial.

Earlier this week, the National Retail Federation, which represents more than 9,000 retailers, urged its members to reject the settlement, in part, because of the aspect barring future suits.

The retailers involved in the new lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, also include TJX, Office Depot, Kohl’s, Abercrombie & Fitch and several others.

Visa spokesman Will Valentine declined to comment, while MasterCard spokesman Jim Issokson would say only that his company remains confident the settlement will ultimately be approved.

Trish Wexler, a spokeswoman for the Electronic Payments Coalition, which counts the companies among its members, said the lawsuit was no surprise and was the next natural step for retailers opting out of the settlement.

Other retailers have until Tuesday to opt out of the agreement so they can pursue their own legal action. Retailers who do not opt out by the deadline will automatically be considered to have accepted the settlement.

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