NEWS18 September 2012

Buxton sues Visa over tourism data product

Legal North America

US— Customer analytics specialist Buxton is suing Visa, claiming it was tricked into revealing its research methods so as to inform the development of Visa’s own analytics products.

In a court filing dated 22 August, Buxton accuses the financial services firm of breach of contract, fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

The complaint centres on Buxton’s Tourism Reports product, which was built to show the travel patterns of consumers who spent money on their Visa cards in different parts of the world.

Buxton claims that it first met with Visa’s senior business leader Kevin Akerman in November 2010 to discuss ways of combining Visa’s spending data with Buxton’s analytics offerings.

This led to the development of Tourism Reports. After a successful test run of the product, Buxton alleges that Visa told the firm to move forward with the product, “and represented and committed to Buxton that it would provide its data to Buxton on a permanent basis”.

Buxton formally launched Tourism Reports at the ICSC Trade Show in Las Vegas in May this year, sending out marketing materials to over 20,000 existing and potential customers”. The company alleges that the trade show alone “identified over $1.7m in sales” and that “Visa asked Buxton for a list of the customers identified at ICSC so that Visa could make sure the customers were in Visa’s credit card processing system”.

Further to this, Buxton claims that Visa provided it with a draft Master Services Agreement (MSA) in June 2012 incorporating the financial terms agreed upon by the parties – but a completed signed agreement was never received and Buxton claims that “Visa continues, without adequate explanation, to delay signing the MSA and to withold the Visa data Buxton needs for the new products.”

Buxton alleges that the case has been detrimental to its business, causing it a variety of damages, and says it “believes that Visa induced Buxton into the aforementioned business relationship so that Visa could learn Buxton’s products and processes and then take its own analytics product to market, without Buxton.”

Visa has filed a request to have the case heard in federal court, but has yet to formally respond to the allegations contained in the complaint.