Whole Foods has been overcharging customers in New York City by labeling prepackaged foods with the incorrect weights, said the Department of Consumer Affairs after a multi-year investigation.
"It is unacceptable that New Yorkers shopping for a summer BBQ or who grab something to eat from the self-service aisles at New York City’s Whole Foods stores have a good chance of being overcharged," said DCA Commissioner Julie Menin in a statement.
"Our inspectors tell me this is the worst case of mislabeling they have seen in their careers, which DCA and New Yorkers will not tolerate."
The DCA stated explained the fine for falsely labeling a package carries a fine of up to $950 for the first violation, and $1,700 for subsequent ones.
According to data obtained by the New York Daily News
, the city's nine locations have received more than 800 violations during 107 inspections since 2010, resulting in $58,000 in fines. The cited offenses range from the aforementioned overcharging, to failure to display prices and adding tax to items not taxable under state law.
In response to the debacle, Whole Foods said in a statement, "We assure our shoppers that we’ve NEVER intentionally used deceptive practices to incorrectly charge customers. Due to the ongoing nature of this matter, we have no further comment other than to say we disagree with the findings and we’re vigorously defending ourselves against allegations to the contrary."
Whole Foods agreed to pay $800,000 in penalties for pricing irregularities uncovered in 2012 by investigators working on behalf of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
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