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March, 2024

Hermès sued by customers over "unfair sales practices"

Hermès has been taken to court in the US state of California by two customers. The company is accused of unfair sales practices. For example, Hermès allegedly offers its Birkin bag only to an exclusive group of customers with "sufficient sales history.

Only people who have previously purchased from the brand are allowed to buy the Birkin bag. This reports Bloomberg.

Hermes store Amsterdam in the Netherlands Hermès Store by MVRDV (2016), Amsterdam

The Birkin bag, named after actress and singer Jane Birkin, has incredible demand and low supply. Hermès is playing with this, according to Bloomberg. Retailers, according to the lawsuit, are instructed to sell Birkin bags only to customers with sufficient sales history.

This violates U.S. competition laws. Most consumers will never see a Birkin handbag in a Hermès store. Only consumers deemed worthy of buying a Birkin handbag will be shown a Birkin handbag (in a private room), the lawsuit states.

The two customers suing Hermès are demanding that Hermes stop this exclusionary sales system. They are asking for damages. The amount they are demanding is not stated.

The Birkin bag came on the market in 1984. The handbag is handmade and produced in small quantities. Prices range from thousands of euros for a small model to hundreds of thousands of euros for a large model.

The Birkin bag
The Birkin bag has a memorable story behind its creation.
Photo: @hermes/Instagram

Jane Birkin
The late Jane Birkin inspired the covetable Hermès handbag named after her.
Photo: Getty Images

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