When Mitch Goldstone was changing his 22-year-old Irvine, Calif., photo-processing business from print to digital, he had to rethink his pricing to remain competitive. By the mid-2000s, ScanMyPhotos.com was charging 15¢ per scan, a far cry from the $5 fee one commanded in the late 1990s.
Goldstone did not see his credit-card fees take a similar drop, even though he knew card companies were going from manual imprint machines and mailed carbon copies to electronic processing. “I couldn’t understand why they were constantly raising my rates,” says Goldstone, 49. “I tried calling the MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V) headquarters to negotiate with them, but no one would take my call.”
Executives may regret that they didn’t speak to Goldstone back then. Earlier this month, the antitrust lawsuit he filed in 2005 against payment-card networks Visa and MasterCard, along with card-issuing banks JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), and others, resulted in a $7.25 billion settlement, believed to be the largest-ever settlement of a private antitrust case under the Sherman Act. The companies will put $6.05 billion into an escrow account for business owners that qualify for monetary recovery; the settlement also gives
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