NYC Officials Investigating Whole Foods For Allegedly Overcharging On Pre-Packaged Goods

After paying $800,000 in California last fall to settle allegations it was overcharging its customers, Whole Foods is once again in hot water for possibly overcharging customers, this time in New York City.

The grocery chain is reportedly the subject of a probe by the city after investigators say they caught the store routinely overcharging customers for packaged groceries during a slew of inspections dating back to at least 2010, the New York Daily News reports.

The Department of Consumer Affairs conducted a sting in the fall aimed at checking the accuracy of the weight marked on pre-packaged products. Inspectors selected 80 different kinds of items at Whole Foods’ eight locations in NYC that were open, and found every label was inaccurate, and many charged customers too much for those products, an agency spokeswoman told the NYDN.

Though other grocery chains were also found to be overcharging in the city, and 77% of them received at least one violation, the agency pegged Whole Foods as particularly egregious offender. That prompted the DCA to open up a full investigation of its pricing practices in 2014.

“Our inspectors told me it was the worst case of overcharges that they’ve ever seen,” Commissioner Julie Menin told the NYDN.

Prices ranged from $.80 too much for a package of pecan panko (that’s a thing!) to an overcharge of $14.84 for a container of coconut shrimp.

The upscale food purveyors received more than 800 violations regarding overcharging in 107 separate inspections since 2010, amounting to more than $58,000, the NYDN learned through data obtained with a Freedom of Information Law request.

A Whole Foods spokesman disagreed with the city’s findings, and said the chain “never intentionally used deceptive practices to incorrectly charge customers.”

He added that the company is “vigorously defending” itself against the allegations, and the store will always refund any items that have been found to bear the wrong price.

EXCLUSIVE: Whole Foods chain faces NYC probe after investigators found ‘worst case of overcharges [New York Daily News]

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