Greensboro, NC, August 23, 2023 – A class was certified today composed of 323 retailers who paid coupon processing shipping fees to Carolina Coupon Clearing, Inc. (“CCC”) between April 11, 2001 and March 28, 2007.

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants CCC, Inmar, Inc., Carolina Manufacturer’s Services, Inc., and Carolina Services (collectively “Inmar”) entered into a per se unlawful anti-competitive conspiracy with International Outsourcing Services (“IOS”) that resulted in overcharges in coupon processing shipping fees.  IOS and Inmar entered into a series of inter-related written non-compete agreements in April 2001. IOS’s CEO testified to the anticompetitive effect of the agreements: “Once we did the joint venture the combined market share … gave us 87 percent control of the market…. I increased my fees once we had that control, and I had a noncompete, I increased my fees dramatically.” Plaintiffs allege that Inmar also raised shipping fees because of the conspiracy.

Plaintiffs initially filed suit in 2008, but the case was stayed until 2018 pending resolution of criminal fraud charges against IOS and several of its executives and because of IOS’s bankruptcy.

Plaintiffs moved to certify a class of retailers and a class of manufacturers that paid shipping fees. District Court Judge William Osteen, Jr. certified the following class of retailers:

Retailers and retail associations that were CCC customers and directly paid shipping fee chargebacks to CCC during the class period (April 11, 2001 through March 28, 2007).

The court denied certification of a manufacturer class.