American Express on May 26 filed an emergency request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to pause an injunction that bars the company from prohibiting merchants from steering customers toward a particular card or payment method.
The emergency request was filed after U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis refused to put the injunction on hold while American Express appeals an earlier ruling that it violated U.S. anti-trust laws. American Express argued that the permanent injunction would cause it irreparable harm.
Judge Garaufis ruled in February that American Express violated U.S. anti-trust laws by prohibiting merchants from steering customers toward debit cards or other forms of payment, a practice that he said constitutes an unlawful restraint on trade.
In late April, Judge Garaufis April issued a permanent injunction saying the company could not impede merchants from expressing card preferences. This means merchants are free to steer customers to another card.
The Merchants Payments Coalition, of which NATSO is a member, has said that the anti-competitive nature of American Express’ rules allow the company to charge merchants inflated prices that result in higher costs for consumers.
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