Monday 18 November 2019

Decision next week in credit union debit card dispute

Tim Healy

A JUDGE will decide next week whether to grant an injunction in a dispute about the alleged ending of a deal which saw the setting up of one of the first debit card services for members of a credit union.

DCR Strategies Incorporated, a Canada-based debit and pre-paid card provider, wants a High Court order preventing Bishopstown Credit Union (BCU) in Cork, its chief executive Raymond Kenny, and another card provider, Credit Union Services Organisation (CUSO) Ireland Ltd, from using allegedly confidential information in relation to the card service.

DCR initially sought an injunction preventing BCU issuing replacement cards, through CUSO. However, when the injunction hearing opened on Wednesday, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy was told DCR was only now seeking an order preventing CUSO from setting up similar card systems for nine other credit unions pending the full hearing of the action.

DCR did not want to prevent around 3,700 of BCU's 22,000 members, who have the cards, from losing their service at the end of this month, Gary McCarthy SC, for DCR, said.

In legal submissions today, Mr McCarthy said CUSO was using information gleaned from DCR's relationship with BCU to get an unfair "head start" in competing to provide a card service for other credit unions. If the injunction was not granted, DCR would "never get that head start back", he said.

It was only after DCR launched its High Court proceedings, through the process of legal discovery of information, that the company learned CUSO had targeted other credit unions, he said.

Rossa Fanning BL, for the defendants, said CUSO was providing a Mastercard debit service which DCR could no longer supply because its relationship with the bank which originally provided the card had ended. It was now offering a Visa card service which BCU did not want.

BCU was entitled not to contract any longer with DCR because it was not the service it originally agreed to, he said.

BCU had also been unhappy with DCR's service for some time, including in relation to the price of the service, he said.

There was also nothing confidential about the information DCR was trying to prevent the defendants from using. It was not some "magic potion" that only DCR had knowledge of but freely available information, he said.

Ms Justice Laffoy said she would give her decision in a week.

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