Three days ago, Plain clothes officers carried out morning raids at the main modelling agencies in UK seizing computers laptops and any item that might be related to communication.
The act that left people in shock had been waged on Storm Model Management, Premier Model Management and Models 1. The police also seized computer hard drives and files of printed documents.
The reason for this is that the agencies faced allegations of colluding to fix prices for models. To elaborate more, the top 3 agencies were supposedly bringing their heads together to fix high or higher prices for the models on their books.
In any ordinary situation if one agency raises their price, client may well be willing to book from another top agency at a cheaper rate. However by doing this, their clients will have no option but to be subdued to their selected prices, as they would have agreed with another agency to keep the price the same.
With the drowning fashion market of Europe, clothing companies are pushing for the agencies to bring their prices down. Also concerning the fact of fashion becoming more web orientated as opposed to the glossy magazine covers, there is a larger number of images needed to be executed.
However, the agencies believe their quality and expenses still remain high, and they have allegedly been meeting as a cartel to agree prices together to fix and/or maintain high prices. Which prompted one or more big retailers to lodged a complaint with the CMA.
The investigation is still ongoing and the agencies could face criminal charges if such may be the case. A decision to proceed or close the investigation will be made in October.