Whole Foods to Pay $500K to End Overcharging Investigation

Whole Foods shoppers may be used to paying a pretty penny, but the grocery chain itself says it will pay $500,000 to end an investigation into overcharges discovered by New York City’s consumer affairs agency.

After inspections announced this past June, the Department of Consumer Affairs said that 89 percent of the time, the store routinely overstated the weight of prepackaged foods, including meats, fruits, vegetables, and prepared foods. For example, the agency reweighed eight packages of chicken tenders and found that, on average, each package was marked up by more than $4.

“Whether it’s a bodega in the Bronx or a national grocery store in Manhattan, we believe every business needs to treat its customers fairly and, with this agreement, we hope Whole Foods will deliver on its promise to its customers to correct their mistakes,” said Julie Menin, the DCA commissioner, in a statement Monday.

While the consumer affairs agency’s press release outlined a series of changes the stores in New York would need to undergo, Whole Foods officials responded with a less detailed release, stating that the company already has solid standards and procedures.

According to the agency, the agreement makes Whole Foods subject to quarterly audits, and workers will no longer be allowed to just eyeball weights—they will have to weigh each package. 

The Whole Foods release says the Department of Consumer Affairs has misrepresented the agreement and notes that the company was able to reduce the settlement from $1.5 million.  

Whole Foods added that it agreed to the settlement to “put this issue behind us so that we can continue to focus our attention on providing our New York City customers with the highest level of quality and service.”

This article originally appeared on TakePart.com. Reprinted with permission.

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