I know that American Express charges a merchant more if I use my Amex card than if I use Visa or my debit card. But the cost to me is the same, so what the heck? Amex gives me miles and a detailed bill. The merchant will spread the cost over all customers.
But apparently Amex doesn’t want merchants to tell buyers that other cards cost the merchant less (worried that the customers will use other cards, or, Lord forfend, cash). It says so in Amex’s contracts with the merchants.
The Department of Justice is of the opinion that the contract between Amex and the merchants is an antitrust violation.
“AmEx Antitrust Trial Begins,” Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2014 C3
Is Amex prohibited from prohibiting its merchants from telling customers that Amex costs the merchant more? Hard (for me) to see the antitrust violation, or market, in this vertical restriction, but not my area.
Is this information control? In reverse?