The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced on 16 December 2016 that it had fined five UK modelling agencies a combined total of £1.5 million for colluding on prices. This announcement comes just weeks after the CMA’s French counterpart fined almost all the modelling agencies in France for anti-competitive behaviour (see our previous article), with the Italian equivalent having also recently imposed fines of €4.5m on eight major agencies.
According to the CMA’s announcement, the agencies fined were:
- FM Model Agency Limited
- Models 1 (Models One Limited, One Worldwide Limited and Models 1 New Co Limited)
- Premier Model Management Limited
- Storm (Storm Model Management Limited and Storm Models Limited); and
- Viva (Viva Model Management London Limited and Viva Model Management Sarl).
The Association of Model Agents Limited, the agencies’ trade association, was also fined (although only £2,500) for participation.
Why is this relevant to other businesses?
Companies and individuals who have been harmed by the anti-competitive behaviour, such as fashion retailers who have had to pay higher prices for models, can claim compensation from any of the agencies they have used who have been found guilty by the CMA. These are known as “follow-on claims”, because the claimants can rely on the CMA’s finding to establish liability. These claims are therefore relatively easier to bring than claims where a breach of competition law is only suspected by the claimant, and has to be proved.
However, establishing the level of any loss sustained is far from straightforward. It is therefore important to take appropriate advice to establish whether you are likely to have a claim.
Please get in touch with one of our experts if you would like to discuss any of these issues in more detail.