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Modelling Agencies Guidance from EAS

Modelling Agencies

We have noticed there have been several threads posted regarding modelling agencies recently. We have spoken to the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) who have helped us put together this short guide that is intended to inform you of what to look out for and who you may complain to if you encounter issues.

EAS receive a number of complaints relating to modelling agencies each year. Some of these complaints relate to genuine modelling agencies who have breached the legislation they enforce. Others relate to opportunists who will try and take advantage of those who want to break into the world of modelling.

What does the law say?
If the company is a genuine modelling agency, they are not allowed to charge you an upfront fee, they are only able to take charges out of earnings. This includes deposits for a photo shoot or an assessment day. Genuine modelling agencies may charge a fee for photo services, but only after a 30 day cooling off period. They can take the photos during this time and can send you an invoice. They could potentially seek a debit or credit card authorisation but must not process it until the 30 days are up. You have the right to cancel during this 30 day period, and they are not allowed to charge you any money however, you may also find that you have no right to the photos as you have not paid for them.

Signs to look out for?
There are a number of ‘agencies’ who are nothing more than photographic studios or ‘modelling platforms’, who will create a portfolio for you, on the basis that this will help you when you approach a modelling agency and get work. In most cases it won’t. They may even offer to assess you to see if you are suitable to be a model and will offer you a contract if you are. They may well represent themselves as model agencies, but all they are really offering are photo shoots or make over days. Some of these will be genuine photo studios and make over companies, but you should be careful when contacting them. If you are asked to pay a refundable fee to book an assessment day or photo shoot, don’t!

Remember, genuine model agencies won’t ask you to pay a penny up front.

Here are some warning signs to look out for:
Are you being asked to pay a small deposit to confirm a booking and to ensure you do turn up on the day?
Do they say you need a portfolio to break into the world of modelling?
If you are on the premises, do they take a few snapshots, ask you to wait a few minutes and then tell you that you have what it takes to be a model, and introduce you to one of their model advisers?
Have they said that you need to agree to pay for the portfolio of images; if you don’t they will be deleted and you can’t have them after that day?

Who can you complain to? If any of these happen, walk away. If you have been in any of these situations, then you may be able to make a complaint to Trading Standards. If they have offered to find you work, in writing, then you can contact ACAS for advice, and if needed, register a complaint that will be investigated by EAS.

Who are EAS?

The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) is the state regulator of employment agencies and employment businesses in Great Britain and sits within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). EAS is responsible for seeking compliance with the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 (as amended). This legislation requires recruitment agencies to abide by specified minimum standards. EAS investigates all complaints received from workers that allege a breach of their legislation.
(edited 2 years ago)

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