Is Whole Foods Overcharging New York City Customers?
It turns out that Whole Foods is not supposed to be as expensive as it is.
The New York Daily News reported on June 23 that New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs launched a closer look into Whole Foods after investigators discovered that the grocery store has been overcharging customers from as early as 2010.
Abby Lootens, a spokeswoman from the DCA, told the Daily News that inspectors assessed 80 items from eight Whole Foods locations in New York City, and found that every label was marked wrong and most overcharged customers.
The most expensive culprit was the Columbus Circle location, which had 240 pricing violations during 28 inspections dating back to 2010. These 240 violations included not pricing items, adding tax to untaxable items, and overcharging customers during check-out.
Lootens said that overcharges ranged from 80 cents for pecan panko to $14.84 for a container of coconut shrimp.
According to Gothamist, Whole Foods issued a statement in response to the DCA, saying that they have not been overcharging New York City customers: “We disagree with the DCA’s overreaching allegations and we are vigorously defending ourselves. We cooperated fully with the DCA from the beginning until we disagreed with their grossly excessive monetary demands. Despite our requests to the DCA, they have not provided evidence to back up their demands nor have they requested any additional information from us, but instead have taken this to the media to coerce us. Our customers are our number one stakeholder and we highly value their trust in us.”
Whole Foods stores have received more than 800 violations during 107 separate inspections since 2010, totaling more than $58,000 in fines, according to a Daily News analysis of data obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request.