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Model agencies accused of price fixing

Five of the biggest model agencies in the UK and their trade association, the Association of Models, have been accused of price fixing by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Jourdan Dunn is a model for Storm

Jourdan Dunn is with Storm

The CMA claimed that, from April 2013 to March 2015, FM Models, Models 1, Premier, Storm and Viva breached competition law by sharing future pricing information.

The watchdog said the AMA was party to the breach as it allegedly circulated emails to its members encouraging them to negotiate higher fees with certain customers. High street retailers and etailers were among those affected.

The senior director of the CMA’s cartels and criminal group, Stephen Blake, said: “These five model agencies sought to achieve higher prices in negotiations with their customers by colluding instead of competing. This is the first competition enforcement case taken forward by the CMA in the creative industries, which are an important part of the UK economy.

“Vigorous competition between businesses has benefits for customers and for the economy, keeping prices down and encouraging businesses to improve quality and be more efficient.”

Stephen Sidkin, partner at fashion law firm Fox Williams, said if the CMA finds there has been an infringement the consequences could be serious.

“The model agencies could be fined up to 10% of annual worldwide turnover each; directors involved in the competition law infringement could be personally fined and, worst case scenario, imprisoned; and third parties, including retailers and fashion brands, who have used the services of the model agencies could sue for damages in respect of the losses which they have suffered as a result of being overcharged.”

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