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Hermes Fights Back Against ‘Far-Fetched’ Birkin Bag Lawsuit

 |  May 9, 2024

French luxury fashion house Hermès is hitting back against a lawsuit filed in the United States, dismissing the claims as “far-fetched” and arguing that they fail to demonstrate any violation of antitrust laws.

According to Reuters, Hermes made its case in a filing on Thursday in San Francisco federal court, challenging allegations that it unfairly requires customers to make substantial purchases before offering them the chance to buy one of its highly coveted Birkin handbags.

The lawsuit, filed in March as a proposed class-action, accuses Hermès of creating an unlawful tie between the sale of Birkin bags and the purchase of other luxury items such as jewelry and shoes. Plaintiffs allege that the company only grants access to Birkin bags to customers with a “sufficient purchase history,” effectively forcing consumers into spending thousands of dollars before being eligible to acquire the iconic handbags, known for their craftsmanship and prestige.

However, Hermès countered these claims by asserting that even customers without an extensive purchase history still have the opportunity to purchase a Birkin. The luxury brand argued that such requirements do not constitute illegality under antitrust laws and emphasized its commitment to offering superior products.

Read more: Hermès Faces Antitrust Lawsuit Over Alleged Birkin Bag Sales Scheme

“The antitrust laws do not punish companies for creating better, more desirable products than anyone else,” Hermès stated in its filing, as reported by Reuters.

Hermès, along with its legal representatives at Latham & Watkins, declined to provide immediate comments in response to requests for clarification. Similarly, attorneys representing the plaintiffs, based in California, did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The lawsuit highlights the exclusivity surrounding Birkin bags, which are not available for purchase online through Hermès’ website and are reportedly not openly displayed for sale in the company’s retail stores. Instead, the complaint alleges that sales associates encourage customers to buy additional items to enhance their chances of acquiring a Birkin.

Source: Reuters