Angry modelling agencies set to fight £1.5m fine for price-fixing

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Some of the UK’s biggest modelling agencies on Friday said they would appeal the competition watchdog’s decision to impose a £1.5 million fine for price-fixing.

FM Models, Models 1, Premier, Storm and Viva, together with the Association of Model Agents “colluded instead of competing” on prices for modelling services from April 2013 to March 2015, the Competition and Markets Authority said.

The CMA found that the  agencies “regularly and systematically exchanged information and discussed prices in the context of negotiations with particular customers”.

John Wotton, chair of the case decision group responsible for making the decision, said: “Strong competition benefits consumers, the economy and society. When businesses collude rather than compete the ultimate losers are customers.”

The watchdog claims they also sought to influence others through so-called AMA Alerts to encourage other companies to reject prices for being too low.

Of these agencies, which have represented models including Kate Moss and Doutzen Kroes, Models 1, Premier and Storm called the findings “wholly mistaken” and said they would appeal the decision.

On behalf of the agencies, John Horner, managing director of Models 1, said: “The CMA is penalising modelling agencies for seeking to maintain professional standards within the industry, whilst also protecting the interests of young and vulnerable people.”

He added: “They are not improving the competitive environment, but are damaging a small but important UK industry which is recognised as successful internationally.”

Viva said it was “extremely disappointed” and “strongly denies it agreed to fix minimum prices”. It is considering its options.

Models 1 star Yasmin Le Bon said she has been with the agency since 1983 and it has nurtured her  career. she said: “Responsible modelling agencies work to very  high standards.”

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December 17, 2016 |
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