American buyers couldn't buy Birkin bags and sued Hermès
22.03.2024 2935

American buyers couldn't buy Birkin bags and sued Hermès

French fashion house Hermès is facing a lawsuit in California from two customers who were unable to purchase exclusive Birkin bags. The fashion house is accused of unfair commercial activities - fr.fashionnetwork.com.

Two complaints were filed by American citizens Tina Cavalleri and Mark Glinog, who accuse Hermès of creating a system that encourages consumers to buy shoes, scarves, jewelry and other accessories in the hope of gaining enough status from the brand to be able to purchase a Birkin bag. As explained in the complaint, the fashion house's sellers are ordered to create a reserve for the famous bag model "by singer Jane Birkin" only to buyers with "sufficient purchase history." This practice violates U.S. competition law, the complaint alleges.

After spending tens of thousands of dollars at Hermès, Tina Cavalleri was able to get the famous bag. But when she went to an Hermès store to buy another one in September 2022, she was told it was for “customers who have always supported our company,” which could be seen as a way to encourage her to make other purchases from the fashion house's range.

In 2023, Mr. Glinoga "attempted several times" to purchase a Birkin bag, but was told each time that he had to purchase other items and accessories, the complaint states.

Hermès directs its retailers to "use Birkin bags as a means of coercing consumers into purchasing additional products," the plaintiffs claim. According to them, employees receive a 3% commission on the sale of accessories (shoes, belts, jewelry, scarves, etc.), which incentivizes them to support this system.

Hermès released its famous Birkin in 1984. This handmade leather bag is produced in a very limited edition, which emphasizes its exclusivity. The price of the product varies greatly: from several thousand euros for the simplest models to several hundred thousand euros for the most expensive ones.

The complaint filed Tuesday is a “class action,” meaning other consumers could join the proceedings. The plaintiffs are aleatherg the court to force Hermès to cease operations and are seeking damages.

French fashion house Hermès is facing a lawsuit in California from two customers who were unable to purchase exclusive Birkin bags. The fashion house is accused of unfair commercial...
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