A California court has come to a ruling that likely won’t surprise patrons of organic grocer Whole Foods: the chain is unlawfully overpriced.
Whole Foods has been fined $800,000 for overcharging consumers for prepared food items at locations in San Diego, Santa Monica and Los Angeles.
A year-long, statewide investigation determined that the weight of salad bar containers wasn’t being subtracted at checkout; that certain products actually weighed less than their labels advertised; and that some prepared items, like kebabs and other deli products, were being sold by the item rather than the pound as required by law.
“We’re taking action to assure consumers get what they pay for,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “No consumer should ever be overcharged by their local market.”
“Our pricing on weighed and measured items was accurate 98 percent of the time,” Whole Foods argued in a statement.
As part of the ruling, the company -- which operates 74 stores in California -- will also have to appoint two “state coordinators” and designate one employee in every store to ensure accurate pricing throughout.