Fashionista has learnt that on 25 May 2016, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA“) announced that a statement of objections has been sent to five model agencies and their trade association, the Association of Model Agents (“AMA“), alleging coordination on fees paid by their customers, including high street chains, online fashion retailers and consumer goods brands.

According to the CMA, the conduct, which is alleged to have taken place between April 2013 to March 2015, involved agreements to exchange confidential, competitively sensitive information, including future pricing information, and in some instances agreements on a common approach to pricing. The AMA is alleged to have played a central role in the alleged infringements, though regular circulation of email alerts which encouraged the agencies to reject the fees being offered by specific customers and to negotiate a higher fee.

Such conduct, if proven, would represent a serious breach of the Chapter I prohibition on anticompetitive agreements in the UK Competition Act 1998 and is likely to attract significant fines. Customers are also likely to claim damages for the over-payments made during the period of the infringements.

The five model agencies involved in the investigation are FM Models, Models 1, Premier, Storm and Viva. Together they represent the large proportion of today’s most popular models, for example, Bar Rafaeli (Premier), Jourdan Dunn (Storm), Yasmin Le Bon (Models 1) and Stella Tennant (Viva).

At this stage, the CMA’s findings are provisional only and no conclusion can be drawn at this stage that there has been a breach of competition law. The CMA’s case timetable estimates that it will consider oral and written representations from the parties between now and September 2016. Fashionista will continue to monitor this case and report on the final decision once it is published.

By: Sarah Wright
| Edit

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>