You’re paying too much at Whole Foods.
And while there are probably a million reasons – and justifications – why that’s the case, this one’s especially troubling: eight New York City Whole Foods supermarkets are overstating the weight of their products so they can overcharge customers.
The price of a package of coconut shrimp was found to be $14.84 too high, while a package of chicken tenders was overpriced by $4.85, and a vegetable platter by $6.15 (vegetable platters represented overcharges averaging $2.50). Even packages of pecan panko were overvalued by 80 cents.
Consumer Affairs Department Commissioner Julie Menin says “[her] inspectors tell [her] this is the worst case of mislabeling they have seen in their careers,” and it’s unclear whether Whole Foods’ dishonesty extends to other locations in the U.S. and Canada.
This isn’t the first time Whole Foods has been caught overcharging, either. Last year, the high-end supermarket was fined $800,000 in California for failing to deduct the weight of containers when ringing up fresh food, putting smaller amounts into packages than the weight stated on the label, and selling items by the piece instead of by the pound.
Falsely labeling a package carries a first-time fine as high as $950 and up to $1,700 for subsequent violations – probably about the same price as 2-4 vegetable platters.