Americans suing Hermès for not being able to purchase a Birkin handbag

Americans suing Hermès for not being able to purchase a Birkin handbag

Two Americans have filed a lawsuit against the French luxury group Hermès, alleging that the company is not in compliance with US competition laws. The lawsuit claims that Hermès has a system that encourages consumers to purchase lower-end items in order to gain the status needed to purchase an exclusive Birkin handbag. The complaint, filed by Tina Cavalleri and Mark Glinoga in a San Francisco court, accuses Hermès of instructing sellers to only sell Birkin handbags to customers with “sufficient purchase history.”

Cavalleri, who spent tens of thousands of dollars at Hermès, was able to purchase a Birkin handbag. However, when she tried to buy another one in September 2022, she was told it was reserved for customers who have consistently supported the company. Glinoga also made multiple attempts to purchase a Birkin in 2023 but was instead directed to buy other items each time.

The lawsuit alleges that Hermès’ sales practices violate American competition laws. The handmade Birkin handbags are only shown to consumers deemed worthy of purchasing them, usually in a private room at Hermès stores. The complaint states that Hermès directs its salespeople to use Birkin handbags as a means to coerce consumers into buying additional products, such as shoes, belts, and jewelry.

The complainants are seeking to end this sales practice and are also requesting compensation, although the amount has not been specified. The Birkin handbag, named after actress and singer Jane Birkin, is known for its exclusivity and high prices, which can range from several thousand euros to hundreds of thousands of euros for the most luxurious models. The lawsuit aims to hold Hermès accountable for their sales practices and ensure fair treatment for all consumers.

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