Bogus agents could be forced to pay back performers under new proposals

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Performers conned out of money by bogus agencies will stand a better chance of recovering their funds under proposals unveiled by the government, a minister claims.

Currently, when a business breaks a consumer law, customers can approach an enforcement authority, such as Trading Standards, for help.

The authority would then decide whether to take forward the complaint on the customer’s behalf. If it did take on the complaint, it would seek either a criminal prosecution or an injunction order in the civil courts, which is aimed at stopping the conduct in question.

However, those who bring a complaint do not necessarily receive compensation if any action is taken as a result.

Under the new proposals, consumers who have lost money by being mis-sold a product or service would get their money back.

Consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson claimed the plans are aimed at putting the “balance back in the system”.

She said: “When consumers, especially vulnerable consumers, have been wronged, they should be able to have free access to justice, quickly and sharply. With these proposals, when a business has infringed your rights as a consumer, the court will make sure they reverse the damage and give consumers their money back.”

It is hoped the changes will benefit performers who have been conned into spending hundreds of pounds on unnecessary portfolios by agencies, only to receive no work afterwards.

A consultation, called Civil Enforcement Remedies, has been launched on the proposals, to which Equity is expected to respond.

Meanwhile, Swinson has also vowed that the government is to shortly launch a consultation on how the recruitment sector, including the entertainment and modelling industries, is regulated.