Ever feel like you’ve been swindled of your hard earned cash when you leave Whole Foods? Have you stumbled out, starry-eyed and startled, with bags full of crisp green kale and wallet stripped of foliage, wondering how you just spent $400? Well, in California, it turns out that may have been the case.
Across the state, Whole Foods has been penalized for overcharging its customers in its 70+ locations. After a year-long investigation, significant pricing discrepancies across the state were noticed. Most of the overcharging was in the prepared foods section. For one, the weight of the compostable containers wasn’t subtracted from salad bar or hot food items, which are sold by weight. Prepared items sold by the pound were found to be discreetly underweight although still priced at a pound. And kebabs were sold by weight instead of by the piece, against federal regulation. Whole Foods made a statement claiming that its pricing was accurate 98% of the time and that it will correct these discrepancies.
The company has cooperated with authorities, and has agreed to pay an $800,000 settlement and to a 5 year injunction that requires accurate pricing, increased monitoring, and random audits.