Heartland Payment Systems, has filed a federal lawsuit against Mercury Payment Systems, charging them with false advertising, unfair competition, intentional interference with contractual relations, and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage.
The suit, filed in United States District Court in the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, alleges that Mercury is illegally competing against Heartland with deceptive trade practices. Heartland contends that Mercury is effectively misleading merchant customers by deceptively hiding its excess profits in the interchange fees charged by credit card networks and their issuing banks, in violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B), and related laws of the State of California.
“Heartland has consistently advocated for fair, transparent and ethical credit, debit and prepaid card processing and billing procedures for small and mid-size businesses,” said Robert O. Carr, chairman and CEO of Heartland. “The deceptive pricing practice of falsely inflating pass-through interchange fees not only constitutes unfair and illegal competition, it also costs even the smallest of merchants hundreds, or sometimes even thousands of their hard-earned dollars each year without their awareness. Industry-wide, the cost of deceptive interchange practices runs into tens of millions of dollars, and has caused great harm to the reputation of the entire electronic payments industry.”
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