MasterCard responds to class action filed over charity promotion; calls lawsuit ‘disappointing’

By Jessica Karmasek | Dec 8, 2015

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - MasterCard says a class action lawsuit filed by a New Jersey man last month over a charity promotion is both “baseless” and “disappointing.”

Sarah Ely, a spokeswoman for the credit card company, said in an emailed statement Monday that MasterCard is aware of the class action, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Nov. 30.

Robert Doyle, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, alleges in his lawsuit that the company continued to advertise a donation promotion even after its donation goal had been met.

In particular, he alleges breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, and violations of the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act.

Each year since 2011, the lawsuit states, MasterCard has conducted a marketing promotion related to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Stand Up To Cancer program, in which the company advertises it will give one cent to the program for each credit or debit transaction made by a cardholder.

For the donation to be made, cardholders must use a consumer or small-business card issued by a U.S. financial institution, and the transaction must be for at least $10 and be made at a qualifying restaurant in the U.S.

MasterCard advertised that its goal was $4 million in donations.

However, according to Doyle’s lawsuit, in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, MasterCard continued to advertise the marketing promotion after it clinched, and knowing it clinched, its maximum donation goal.

Ely called the lawsuit “baseless” and “disappointing.”

“Together, with our cardholders, we have raised over $30 million for innovative cancer research in just five short years,” she said. “The funds that MasterCard cardholders have helped raise have been used to further research and treatments for various types of cancer including Stand Up To Cancer’s Pediatric Dream Team.

“We are extremely proud of this initiative which provides millions in critical funding to support Stand Up To Cancer’s mission to make everyone diagnosed with cancer a survivor.”

Doyle and potential class members seek damages of more than $5 million, including punitive damages, injunctive relief, attorney fees and costs of the lawsuit.

Doyle is represented by attorney Todd C. Bank in Kew Gardens, N.Y.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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