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NRF, RILA ask for swipe fee settlement overturn

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. – The National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) have asked an appeals court to overturn a federal judge’s approval of a lawsuit settlement regarding Visa and MasterCard’s credit card swipe fees, saying it was negotiated by only a handful of merchants and would do nothing to bring the fees under control.

Both organizations filed notices of appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York earlier this year, and followed up with a joint brief asking the court to overturn a December 13, 2013, ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson. The district court approved the antitrust settlement even though NRF, RILA and other opponents argued for more than a year that it failed to reform a price-fixing system under which Visa and MasterCard set fees for credit cards issued by thousands of banks. Rather than lower the fees, the card companies proposed in the settlement that they be passed along to consumers as a surcharge. Major retailers rejected the surcharge proposal, saying it was the opposite of what they had sought.

“The truth is that there is no settlement with the retail industry, only an agreement with a handful of merchants who do not represent the industry as a whole,” NRF senior VP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. “Given that the judge knew this backroom deal was opposed by a broad range of small and large retailers alike and allows these fees to continue to skyrocket, it clearly should never have been approved. This is a serious mistake the appellate court needs to correct.”

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Rent-A-Center names VP of marketing

BY Dan Berthiaume

Plano, Texas – Rent-A-Center Inc. has named Mike Case to VP marketing strategy and insights. Case is responsible for global administration of customer insights/market research, marketing analytics, business innovation, CRM and loyalty.

Recently, Case served as VP marketing and senior loyalty officer for La Quinta Inn & Suites Earlier in his career, Case held leadership positions in organizations such as American Airlines, Brierley & Partners, Sage Telecom, First USA Bank and Virgin America.

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Baja Fresh to pilot Sparkfly omnichannel promotion tracking

BY Dan Berthiaume

Irvine, Calif. – Baja Fresh is piloting a solution from Sparkfly that will allow it to launch promotions through Google Search, Facebook, Yelp, Opera Mediaworks and UberMedia, and assess the effectiveness of each individual channel with real-time redemption data. Leveraging the technology from the Sparkfly platform, the campaign includes information on basket size and individual items purchased.

The campaign marks the first time Baja Fresh has ever run digital and mobile promotions, and is part of the restaurant’s national “Catch 2” Seafood Taco combo deal. With the mobile promotion, consumers will be eligible to receive $2 off an $8 order, or $5 off a $15 order. The partnership is starting with a two-month campaign in Los Angeles, with over 60 different Baja Fresh locations.

“We never imagined we would be able to run a program like this without undergoing a major upgrade to our hardware,” said Chuck Rink, President and CEO at Baja Fresh. “Partnering with Sparkfly allows us to run unique digital promotions and coupons, while using the existing systems we already have in place.”

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