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IN BRIEF / FINANCIAL SERVICES

Card Firms Can Give Refund Notification

September 12, 2003|From Bloomberg News

Visa International Inc. and MasterCard International Inc. can place notices in newspapers and monthly credit card bills telling customers how to claim $800 million in refunds, a California judge said.

Judge Ronald Sabraw's tentative ruling in Oakland was a partial victory for Visa and MasterCard, the two largest credit card companies, in a case over refunds for foreign exchange fees collected since 1996.

Plaintiffs' lawyers had asked the court to waive the claims process and order Visa and MasterCard to send checks directly to customers.

In April, Sabraw decided that the bank-owned associations had intentionally concealed a 1% currency conversion fee in a lawsuit filed on behalf of California consumers.

Visa must refund all U.S. customers who paid the fees; MasterCard was ordered to refund California customers who used their cards overseas.

The companies deny the allegations and plan to appeal.

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