Unprecedented £600k ad campaign kicks off to promote £17bn UK consumer claim against Mastercard

Campaign in press and on social media follows Mastercard’s Court of Appeal defeat last week

Representatives for the long-running £17bn UK consumer claim against MasterCard over the alleged over-charging of credit card fees have launched an unprecedented £600k print and digital advertising campaign to promote the claim.

In what is being labelled the largest public noticing campaign in UK legal history, adverts are appearing in national and regional press and social media channels alerting consumers to their rights in the relation to the first mass consumer claim brought under the collective action regime.

The move looks set to raise the profile of group claims in the UK, a survey released by Portland Communications last week having found that only 20% of consumers know about them. 

The campaign's launch follows the Court of Appeal's dismissal of Mastercard’s final challenge to the claim‘s certification last week, when it upheld an earlier ruling by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) that the estates of those who were alive when the claim was filed but had died by the time the CAT allowed the case to proceed should be allowed to join the suit.

The class representative is former financial services ombudsman Walter Merricks, who is being advised by a Willkie Farr & Gallagher team led by partners Boris Bronfentrinker and Nicola Chesaites. Competition silks Marie Demetriou KC and Victoria Wakefield KC, of Brick Court Chambers, have been instructed to represent the consumer class.

The noticing campaign is being overseen by Epiq and its global noticing arm Hilsoft Notifications and paid for by third-party litigation funders Innsworth Capital, which is backing the claim to the tune of £60.1m. That includes £15m to cover Mastercard’s costs if the claim fails.

The notice, which has been approved the CAT, outlines the claim and sets out individual’s rights, how to exercise them and related deadlines. 

As this is an ‘opt out’ case, most consumers automatically qualify. However, people who were not living in the UK on 6 September 2016 when the claim was filed, but meet the criteria to be in the class, will need to opt in. 

Merricks said: “Totalling up to £17 billion pounds, it’s the biggest claim in UK legal history. Not surprisingly Mastercard have been trying slow up the case ever since I started it six years ago. Its attempts to stop the case from proceeding have all failed. It’ll still take a while yet, but today is a key milestone.”

Mastercard is being advised by Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer.

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]