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Retailers Join Commerce Commission

Media Release
28 November 2006


Retailers Join Commerce Commission in Taking Court Action Over Credit Card Fees

Seven New Zealand retailers today launched legal action against a number of credit card institutions, seeking damages from breaches of the Commerce Act The move follows the recent decision by the Commerce Commission to bring its own court proceedings over the alleged price fixing of interchange fees by these institutions.

In a statement of claim filed in the Wellington High Court today, the retail group (comprising Foodstuffs, Progressive Enterprises, Dick Smith Electronics, Farmers, Noel Leeming, Whitcoulls and Mississippi) alleges that the fixing of interchange fees is anti-competitive and should not be allowed to continue. Theretail group is also requesting that the Court award damages to reflect the losses they have incurred as a result of the breaches of the Commerce Act and compensate for alleged over-payment of fees.

The legal actions brought by the Commission and the retail group will, if successful, enableall retailers to reduce their cost of operations and thereby benefit their customers. John Albertson, Chief Executive of the NZ Retailers Association said, “Credit card fees cost New Zealandconsumers and businesses over $350 million every year.”

The separate actions brought by the Commerce Commission and the retail group follows recent regulatory action by the Reserve Bank of Australia in relation to interchange fees and the scrutiny of such fees in a number of other jurisdictions around the world.

Ends

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