Hermès Faces Lawsuit in California for Allegedly Selling Birkins Exclusively to Elite Customers

The French luxury house Hermès has been hit with a class action lawsuit which charged the luxury retailer that it allowed only those customers who have a significant purchase history to buy the Birkins handbags.

California Legal Action Targets Hermès

Hermès has been sued in California and indicted for allowing only customers who have a sizable purchase history to buy its famed Birkin handbags. The lawsuit alleges that Hermes has contravened the antitrust law by linking the sale of one of its products to another. The lawsuit has been filed by two California residents and the class action lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in San Francisco.

The lawsuit alleged that the company is pushing the consumers to buy other products like shoes, scarves and other items before they can qualify to buy the famed Birkin handbags. The Birkin handbags are priced steeply and the price can vary from $10,000 to even six figures. They are considered the symbol of affluence and status.

The lawsuit details that the Birkin handbags are not even displayed in the stores and the customers have to purchase a fixed value of other goods before they even get a chance to see the bags. The lawsuit also alleged that the salesmen are not paid any commission for the sale of the Birkin bag and they are coerced to motivate the consumers to buy more goods before they are shown the handbag.

The lawsuit also sought class-action status for thousands of US consumers who purchased goods from the Retail store or were forced to buy goods to purchase the Birkin handy bag. The plaintiff also sought an unspecified amount as damages and sought the court’s intervention to bring such uncompetitive practices to an end.

The history of the bags was very interesting. The Hermes bag came into existence in 1984 and the design was perfected by the Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas while flying in an Air France flight. His co-passenger the late French film star, singer Jane Birkin complained how mothers with infants found the ladies handbags insufficient to keep all the infants accessories. Jean-Louis Dumas immediately designed a new bag and sketched the design on a paper emesis bag supplied in the flight. The Birkin handbag is hand stitched and one bag is said to take 18 to 20 hours to make.

Hermès operates about 43 stores in the US, including eight in California.

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Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair: With a decade of news writing across various media platforms, Manoj is a seasoned professional. His dual role as an English teacher underscores his command over communication. He adeptly covers Politics, Technology, Crypto, and more, reflecting a broad and insightful perspective that engages and informs diverse audiences.

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