Five model agencies and their trade association have been fined a total of £1.5m for colluding on prices.
An investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that FM Models, Models 1, Premier, Storm and Viva – and their trade association, the Association of Model Agents – colluded together for two years.
The CMA said they regularly and systematically exchanged information and discussed prices in the context of negotiations with particular customers. In some cases, the agencies agreed to fix minimum prices or agreed a common approach to pricing.
The investigation concerned a wide range of modelling assignments – from fashion magazine shoots offering model fees of a few hundred pounds to advertising campaigns offering over £10,000.
The conduct did not, however, extend to the services of so-called ‘top models’. It occurred in the context of negotiations with a range of customers, including well-known high-street chains, online fashion retailers and consumer goods brands.
John Wotton, of the CMA, said: “It is the CMA’s responsibility to ensure that markets are competitive, and to take action when businesses fail to comply with competition law. This applies to all businesses and all industries.”
The Competition Act 1998 prohibits agreements, practices and conduct that may have a damaging effect on competition in the UK.
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