Customers are returning some recent orders of the very expensive bags to the boutiques, complaining they smell of marijuana. Customers, some of whom have paid $20,000 or more for the exclusive bags, have been told by staff at the luxury goods store that there was a problem with a “badly tanned” batch of leather from a supplier to Hermès.

They claim the tanning process somehow makes the leather smell like marijuana whenever it heats up in warm temperatures, such as in direct sunlight or in a hot car. This is most likely caused with a problem with the fatliquor or finish on the leather but the cause is not yet known.

While the problem does not affect all Hermès leather products, it does affect multiple bags in varying colours, ranging in designs such as the Birkin, the Kelly and the Elan clutch, which retail from $5,000 to more than $20,000, all of which had been purchased in 2013 and 2014.

It is not believed the problem affects the Hermès crocodile skin bags, which can sell for more than $60,000. Customers are reporting that Hermès staff are saying the bags have to go back to Paris and have the bad-smelling leather panels removed and the entire bag rebuilt.