Round one goes to the Big Guys: A judge for the U.S. District Court in Washington yesterday threw out National ATM Council v. Visa Inc., as well as related suits. All suits had accused Visa and MasterCard of collusion in setting a minimum for fees that independent providers apply to ATM transactions.
In a 39-page opinion, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that the plaintiffs had failed to provide information to justify their arguments, according to a Reuters report at Bloomberg News.
"Plaintiffs have not set forth sufficient facts to support their claim that there was a horizontal conspiracy," she wrote. "Notably absent from each of the complaints are facts showing the existence of an agreement, the essential element of any conspiracy."
Jackson said there were no facts in the complaints that supported a conclusion that prices would be lower if the restrictions at issue were lifted.
"What is missing is any discussion of what the ATM operator's costs are, and whether they change if the operator uses a Visa or MasterCard network or an alternative network," Jackson said. "Those facts are fundamental, and without them, there is no basis for the conclusions" that the access fees are "inflated" or "supra-competitive."
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