The Argentine Federation of Expenders of Naphtha of the Interior (Faeni), Wednesday filed a class action suit in the Buenos Aires courts against Visa Argentina to bring down the abusive fees and payment terms that the latter imposes unilaterally.
Faeni, with support from the Confederation of Entities of Trade of Hydrocarbons (Cecha) has sued Prisma Medio de Pagos SA (the owner of Visa credit cards in Argentina) to curb trade conditions that put their businesses in jeopardy.
The judicial collective action is a sequel to a complaint filed before the National Commission for the Defense of Competition and other actions which have all been unsuccessful.
The stations argue that the aforementioned conditions with which cards are operated, especially in times of crisis, put their staying in business at risk and many have already either filed for bankruptcy or simply shut down.
In similar situations in the United States, Visa and MasterCard were also sued collectively before the Eastern District Court of New York, forcing credit card companies to sign an agreement whereby they accepted to return to the merchants up to 6.240 million dollars for the abusive commissions that had been charged to them.
Also in Europe an improvement of the conditions for the businesses that operate with credit cards was forced in 2014 when the European Union's Court of Justice imposed a million-dollar fine on Mastercard for the exchange rates it charged. In this context, in the same year, the European Commission accepted Visa's commitment to reduce fees between 40% and 60%.
The Visa offer was not spontaneous. In fact it was the way to avoid a sanctioning process that could reach up to 10% of its global turnover.
In 2015, the European Community issued Regulation 2015/2366 (PSD2), which mandated the card systems of all union countries to drastically reduce these percentages which led to a cap being established for exchange rates of 0.2% for debit card transactions and 0.3% for credit operations.
In Argentina, the payment terms and the commissions charged by the cards are much higher than those in the US and Europe and in most Latin American countries as well.