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Cumberland Gulf Group opposes swipe fee settlement with retailers

Ari Haseotes

The Cumberland Gulf Group, a company amalgamated from Cumberland Farms Inc. and Gulf Oil LP, has joined the opposition to the proposed $7.25 billion settlement between Visa, MasterCard and retailers.

“The proposal offers no long-term relief for retailers or consumers from increasing swipe fees or from unfair credit card network rules,” Ari Haseotes, the president and COO of Cumberland Farms, said, according to CSPnet.com. “Moreover, this will not keep the card networks from continuing to raise swipe fees, which already cost retailers and consumers approximately $50 billion ever year. We support bringing real competition and transparency to the credit card market and this proposed settlement clearly fails to meet this objective.”

The Durbin Amendment, a provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, capped interchange fees — the amount a bank can charge a merchant to process a debit transaction. Retailers allege that Visa and MasterCard colluded with banks to fix interchange rates and began a class – action lawsuit in 2005.

The National Association of Convenience Stores, the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, the Texas Food and Fuel Association, Thorntons, Ricker Oil, Wal-Mart, Target and others have all opposed the settlement.

The Cumberland Group said that it has no interest in charging consumers to use debit and credit cards to allow the card processing companies to continue charging unfair fees, CSPnet.com reports.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) recently said that retailers could jeopardize efforts to reduce fees should they support the settlement.

“The settlement does nothing to change the anticompetitive fee-fixing that Visa and MasterCard do on behalf of their member banks,” Durbin said, BusinessWeek reports. “In fact, it gives Visa and MasterCard broad and permanent legal immunity to continue doing exactly that in the future.”

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