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City Sting Reveals Whole Foods Has Been Overcharging New Yorkers Since 2010

"Our inspectors told me it was the worst case of overcharges that they've ever seen."


Shopping at Whole Foods pretty much always hurts one's wallet, but maybe a bit more than it should. A city investigation into the supermarket chain found that packaged foods are routinely mis-marked at NYC locations, meaning customers are often overpaying for what they're getting — and have been since 2010. Inspectors weighed 80 different types of items at Whole Foods locations around the city and found that every label was inaccurate, reports the Daily News. The overcharges ranged from 80 cents on a package of pecan panko to $14.84 for a container of coconut shrimp. There were also instances when customers benefitted from the labeling mishaps like breaded chicken breasts that were marked as $5.99 for 7 ounces when packages actually ranged from 6-9.2 ounces.

But, overall, the situation sounds pretty egregious. Whole Foods was also found to overcharge at scanning stations and add tax to items that shouldn't be taxed. Eight of the nine New York outposts have logged a total of more than 800 violations since 2010, racking up a $58,000 tab in fines (the UES location that just recently opened wasn't included in the investigation).

Whole Foods isn't the only offender in the overcharging department, but Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin says: "Our inspectors told me it was the worst case of overcharges that they've ever seen." Whole Foods is of course defending itself. A spokesperson for the company explains that the Whole Foods "never intentionally used deceptive practices to incorrectly charge customers." But a store worker allegedly told a DCA inspector that prices were intentionally mislabeled. This isn't the first time Whole Foods has gotten itself into this sort of mess. Last summer, the Texas-based chain agreed to pay $800,000 to settle a similar issue at some of its California stores.