Whole Foods Ordered To Pay $800,000 Fine For Illegal Overcharging

Whole Foods customers tend to pay a lot of money for their groceries – one of the reasons the store was nicknamed “Whole Paycheck”. However, a recent California investigation unveiled a tactic the store was doing that illegally overcharged their customers.

And, because of their illegal action, they have been court-ordered to pay an $800,000 fine. The illegal wrongdoing stemmed from charging their customers more than the price advertised in the state stores. A one-year inquiry led by county and state inspectors revealed that Whole Foods did not deduct container weight when they run up self-serve foods. This would have given less weight to the stated amount on the label of packaged products. The chain did not sell by the pound but rather by piece. By law, they must sell by pound.

Adam Radinsky, Santa Monica’s deputy city attorney, said the lack of consistency in the entire state was why the investigation was launched. He said cashiers were employing methods that were fickle to measure goods, and that the measurements weren’t always correct. This led to many issues.

Whole Foods Market issued a statement that said it takes its responsibilities to its customers seriously and tries to be transparent in everything the company does. It went on to say that the company cooperated fully with the city attorneys. Based on its own records review and inspection reports, it had a 98 percent accuracy for its measured and weighed items. The statement said processes would be implemented to ensure errors like this would not happen again.

A five-year injunction was put into place for 74 of the state’s Whole Foods Markets by the Los Angeles Superior Court. According to the injunction terms, two state officials will supervise the pricing accuracy, have an elected employee at all stores to supervise this pricing accuracy and carry out four audits – at random – a year to ensure weight is not counted in for the fresh food containers.

Whole Foods Market is certainly not alone in overcharging consumers in this way: Best Buy, Fresh & Easy, Kohl’s, Ralph’s, Sears and Wal-Mart have also been caught doing this same thing.

Radinsky said consumers need to be mindful to their purchases and ensure the store eliminates containers and packaging weights from the price.

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Posted by on Jun 25 2014. Filed under Business, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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