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Complaint to Hermès over Birkin sale escalates

New charges for the “holy grail” of luxury fashion

Complaint to Hermès over Birkin sale escalates New charges for the “holy grail” of luxury fashion

The Californian case involving Hermès and the sale of Birkin is expanding, with new parties aligning against the maison and new accusations. Last March, a couple of maison clients filed a complaint as they wanted to purchase a Birkin, but according to them, they were not deemed "worthy" even to see the bag. The French fashion house has been cited for unfair commercial practices because, according to the two clients Tina Cavalleri and Mark Glinoga, it exercises the so-called "market power" unfairly, forcing potential consumers to invest exorbitant sums in other Hermès products just to get the opportunity to buy a Birkin. Last Thursday, another California resident joined the case, adding new amendments to the proposal.

The new proposed action signed by the three parties not only claims that Hermès offers the possibility to purchase a Birkin only to customers with a «sufficient purchase history», but also that «the retail price of a bag is a façade», according to the lawsuit, «masking a hidden lottery system». In April, Hermès had requested the case be dismissed, but the new update attacks the French brand's sales practices even more harshly. The three parties question «the exclusivity, limited availability, and icon status of the Birkin», adding that "they make it difficult to find a perfect substitute". In response to the March lawsuit, which Hermès had called "implausible», the maison told the court that all customers, including those without a purchase history at the maison's boutiques, can buy a Birkin. Brand representatives also added that such a requirement would not be illegal in any case, and that «Hermès faces clear competition from several sellers on the wide range of products it sells». The new lawsuit, however, argues that the aura of exclusivity created around the Birkin is unmatched compared to bags from potential competitors like Gucci, Prada, or Louis Vuitton.

Supporting the new complaint are the statements made by Hermès in the counterfeiting lawsuit filed in 2022 against the artist Mason Rothschild, who created the MetaBirkin. At the time, the maison had openly stated that the «mysterious waiting list, intimidating price, and extreme scarcity of the Birkin have made it a highly sought-after 'sacred grail' bag, which also serves as an investment or store of value», a statement that could render any declarations by the brand about the availability of the Birkin unreliable.