WASHINGTON — Steven C. Smith, president and chief executive officer of K-VA-T Food Stores, and chairman of Food Marketing Institute testified on interchange rates and other practices of credit card companies in a hearing yesterday before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Antitrust Task Force. “Conventional wisdom tells us that as volume grows prices should fall, but instead credit card companies have created much greater volume and raised fees and costs substantially. This is contrary to the basic concepts of the American free enterprise system,” said Smith. Tim Hammonds, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based FMI, said the hearing “shows that a broken market exempt from normal competitive checks and balances hurts retailers and consumers. Visa’s and MasterCard’s current practice of forcing these exorbitant hidden fees on Americans is no longer defensible” Investigations by both judiciary committees in Congress, along with future hearings expected in this Congress, “could very well lead to a push for legislation to provide significant relief to consumers and retailers,” said FMI, in a statement.
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