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Whole Foods to pay $800K to close overpricing case

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:47 a.m. HST, Jun 25, 2014

LOS ANGELES >> Whole Foods will pay about $800,000 in penalties and fees after an investigation found the grocery retailer was overcharging customers in California.

State and local inspectors discovered that purchased foods weighed less than the label advertised and the weight of salad bar containers wasn't subtracted at checkout, prosecutors said. In addition, the grocer sold prepared foods like kebabs by the item rather than by the pound as mandated by law.

The pricing discrepancies violated consumer protection laws regarding false advertising and unfair competition, prosecutors said.

Whole Foods must pay $210,000 to each of the city attorneys of Santa Monica, Los Angeles and San Diego, who brought the case against the retailer. Whole Foods must also reimburse county and state agencies that conducted the pricing investigation and pay $100,000 to a weights and measurements enforcement fund.

As part of an agreement covering five years, the grocer must appoint state- and store-level pricing accuracy managers, and each of the 74 Whole Foods stores in California will face random quarterly audits.

The consumer protection case was brought against Whole Foods Market California Inc. and Mrs. Gooch's Natural Food Markets Inc., the two subsidiaries of Whole Foods Market Inc. that operate its California stores.

Whole Foods issued a statement noting that the company cooperated with the yearlong investigation and prices were accurate 98 percent of the time. The Austin, Texas-based retailer vowed to improve internal procedures to reduce human error, according to the statement.

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control wrote:
Anyone who grocery shops regularly isn't surprised. All too many retailers out there seem to think they are not required to abide by federal consumer protection laws that were put in place in the 60's and 70's. All items must be clearly and accurately priced either directly on the item or on the shelf. Whole Foods, Safeway, Foodland all have chronic issues with non-existent price tags, especially in their deli sections.
on June 24,2014 | 10:59AM
1local wrote:
what about individuals who were overcharged?
on June 24,2014 | 02:28PM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
Mitch Kahle will sue them next.
on June 24,2014 | 05:27PM
KaneoheSJ wrote:
If this were in Hawaii, there would be no action. Wait, we do have a couple Whole Foods here in Hawaii. And nothing happened regarding their business practice.
on June 24,2014 | 01:21PM
inlanikai wrote:
So what do the customers who were overcharged get? Nothing?
on June 24,2014 | 01:45PM
HD36 wrote:
The get the confidence that the next time they buy food at whole foods they won't get ripped off again from bogus weights. Which is about nothing as you said.
on June 24,2014 | 03:06PM
den wrote:
Whole Foods in kahala is REALLY EXPENSIVE.
on June 24,2014 | 01:52PM
kukunaokala wrote:
Itʻs not Whole Foods, but Whole Paycheck!
on June 24,2014 | 05:03PM
islandsun wrote:
There U go!
on June 24,2014 | 05:52PM
Eagle156 wrote:
Or it could be whole in my wallet
on June 24,2014 | 07:48PM
hawaiifisherman wrote:
Whole Foods charges too much for stuff? Who'd have thought?
on June 24,2014 | 07:11PM
Skyler wrote:
If the lawsuit happened in Hawaii, the lawyers would probably get thrice that amount.
on June 24,2014 | 10:10PM
oahuresident wrote:
expensive yes. but still cheaper than restaurant food.
on June 24,2014 | 08:03PM
South76 wrote:
Maybe it's time to invest in learning how to cook; so you will know exactly what you are eating.
on June 25,2014 | 10:54AM
HD36 wrote:
The price of food has gone up over 125% since 2008. The price of potatoes is up over 300% since 2008. This adds insult to injury.
on June 24,2014 | 08:34PM
hawaiifisherman wrote:
And at Whole Foods the price of potatoes is up 1000% since 2008!
on June 24,2014 | 09:50PM
Skyler wrote:
All the people who got cheated got ... nothing.
on June 24,2014 | 10:08PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Whole Scam
on June 25,2014 | 06:53AM
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