Whole Foods to pay $800,000 for overcharging California customers

Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:46pm EDT

Related Topics

(Reuters) - Whole Foods Markets Inc has agreed to pay $800,000 after an investigation found that the supermarket chain overcharged customers in California, officials in the state said on Tuesday.

State and local inspectors found during a year-long investigation that Whole Foods charged more than the advertised price on many items, according to a statement from Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.

Problems included failing to subtract at checkout the weight of salad bar containers, giving less weight than shown on labels for packaged items sold by the pound and selling items such as kebabs and deli foods by the piece rather than by the pound as required by law.

Whole Foods agreed to pay $630,000 in civil penalties to the city attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Monica, who brought the case. It will also pay $100,000 into a consumer protection trust fund, and $68,394 for costs.

The Austin, Texas-based company also agreed to a five-year injunction that requires accurate pricing, increased monitoring of its pricing practices and random audits.

In a statement, Whole Foods said it cooperated with authorities, and that its pricing was accurate 98 percent of the time. "We will continue to refine and implement additional processes to minimize such errors going forward," it said.

Whole Foods operates 74 stores in California.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (4)
JapanViewer wrote:
Huh. I knew something was wrong when I paid $3.00 for one cookie at Whole Foods. I always thought I overpaid because the food was “Whole”, as in “Wholesome”. I guess they really meant “Hole-Foods” with an “H”, and then someone misspelled it to “Whole-Foods” with a “W” and they never bothered to correct it. Huh!

Jul 01, 2014 9:36am EDT  --  Report as abuse
AllLiesStill wrote:
How come these fines never go to compensate the consumers who got ripped off? Why does the ‘city attorneys’ get the money? Sounds like a scam by the government.

Jul 01, 2014 1:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Mandingo wrote:
I buy at Whole Paycheck salad bar and don’t know whether they subtract the container weight?

Interesting that the consumer gets no cash but it goes to the State. Politics as usual like the bankers getting rewarded for their banking crimes.

Jul 01, 2014 1:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.