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PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 04: May Berthelot wears high waist white latte palazzo / flared pants, a black shiny leather Birkin handbag from Hermes, a silver and diamond ring, a brown houndstooth print pattern blazer jacket, on November 04, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

Hermès Faces Lawsuit Over Alleged Birkin Bag Sales Practices

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Luxury fashion house Hermès is under legal scrutiny as two California residents have filed a lawsuit against the brand, accusing it of discriminatory sales practices related to its iconic Birkin handbags.

According to reports, Hermès is accused of restricting access to Birkin bags only to customers with a significant purchase history at its stores, effectively excluding others from the opportunity to buy them. This alleged practice, the lawsuit claims, violates antitrust laws in the US.

The lawsuit alleges that Hermès employees actively encourage customers to buy additional items like shoes, scarves, and jewelry as a prerequisite to purchasing a Birkin bag, thus engaging in illegal sales bundling tactics.

The Birkin bag, renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship and luxury status, has become a symbol of prestige in elite circles, often commanding prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is typically unavailable for purchase online and requires a special invitation to view in-store, creating an exclusive and ceremonial buying experience.

Customers deemed eligible for Birkin bag purchases are reportedly invited to private rooms to view the coveted handbags. However, Hermès salespeople allegedly do not receive commissions on Birkin bag sales but are instructed to leverage the bags to incentivize additional purchases.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of thousands of American consumers who claim they were coerced into buying other Hermès products in order to gain access to Birkin bags. Both Hermès and the plaintiffs’ lawyers have yet to comment on the lawsuit.