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The UK’s five top model agencies have been accused of collusion and price fixing by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

It follows a series of raids at the agencies’ offices in London last August.

The five: FM Models, Models 1, Premier, Storm and Viva, agreed “a common approach to pricing”, the CMA said.

None of the agencies has so far responded to the accusations, which at this stage are provisional findings. FM Models is no longer in business, having gone into liquidation in January this year.

The CMA said it would consider representations from the agencies before deciding whether the law had been broken.

The Association of Model Agents – the industry trade body – is also accused of playing a central role in the price fixing allegations.

The CMA said it circulated emails to its members, encouraging agencies to negotiate higher fees.

The fine for price fixing can be up to 10% of turnover. The CMA said High Street fashion chains were among those who may have been charged too much for hiring models.

“The allegations concern prices charged to a range of customers, including high street chains, online fashion retailers and consumer goods brands,” said Stephen Blake, senior director of the CMA’s cartels and criminal group.

“The CMA alleges that these five model agencies sought to achieve higher prices in negotiations with their customers by colluding instead of competing.”

The case is the first time the CMA has investigated businesses in the creative industries. The inquiry was launched in March last year.

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