Cumberland Gulf Joins Merchants Opposing Visa, MasterCard Settlement

Haseotes: "No interest in surcharging customers who use credit and debit cards"

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- The Cumberland Gulf Group has announced its emphatic opposition to the proposed settlement of longstanding antitrust litigation between retailers and the credit-card industry.

The proposed settlement, announced on July 13, does not make meaningful changes to the broken credit-card interchange or "swipe" fee market and broadly restricts merchants' rights to challenge the card industry's anticompetitive practices in the future.

"The proposal offers no long-term relief for retailers or consumers from increasing swipe fees or from unfair credit-card network rules," said Ari Haseotes, president and COO of Cumberland Farms Inc. "Moreover, this will not keep the card networks from continuing to raise swipe fees, which already cost retailers and consumers approximately $50 billion every year. We support bringing real competition and transparency to the credit-card market and this proposed settlement clearly fails to meet this objective."

The Cumberland Gulf Group joins with NACS, the industry's association for convenience and fuel retailing, and other retailers (click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage) in denouncing this settlement, and has no interest in surcharging customers who use credit and debit cards in order to allow VISA and MasterCard to continue charging unfair fees, it said.

The company will continue to explore its options while working toward a solution that represents true reform. It urges everyone in the merchant community, including those representing the class of merchants around the nation, to support a real solution to the problem caused by the card companies' anticompetitive conduct.

The Cumberland Gulf Group, Framingham, Mass., is a strategic amalgamation of Cumberland Farms Inc. and Gulf Oil LP focused on leveraging the combined management experience and operational expertise of the two entities to create economic efficiencies, facilitate growth and generate synergistic value propositions. Cumberland Farms has a market-leading position throughout the Northeast as well as a significant presence in the Mid-Atlantic region and Florida. Cumberland Farms is parent company to Gulf LP, one of the largest wholesalers of refined petroleum products in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. In 2011, the Cumberland Group generated roughly $13.0 billion of sales through a footprint of 589 convenience store locations operated under the well-known Cumberland Farms banner and through the operations of its subsidiary Gulf Oil. The Cumberland Group is a privately held, family-owned and managed company that includes real-estate and midstream gasoline operations.