Whole Foods fined for overcharging its customers, after months of investigations and debates. The chain, nicknamed by customers “Whole Paycheck” has been accused that it overcharged its customers for several items, including pre-packaged fresh products such as fruits and vegetables.
After testing 80 different prepackaged products from Whole Foods New York, the Department of Consumer Affairs found that all the products had mislabeled weights. The DCA inspectors called this the worst case of mislabeling ever seen claiming they will not tolerate it.
The Company admitted that they overcharged clients and apologized by blaming its employees. John Mackey and Walter Robb, the company’s CEOs said that the employees made very very small mistakes when weighting the pre-packaged products.
The CEOs promised they will increase the level of training in all of their stores, they will introduce an auditing system and if customers discover a mistake that leads to overcharging they will get the item for free.
Finally, Whole Foods agreed to settle and pay $500,000 to the city. The settlement also requires the company to conduct quarterly audits for no less than 50 products from 10 different categories in all its New York stores and correct any inaccuracy in labeling. If the DCA inspectors find any mislabeled product in a store the company must remove it from shelves within 15 days and check the accuracy of 20 other products from that department in all their stores in New York City.
The final set of rules includes training the employees involved in labeling and weighting and require them to weigh each package individually and label it accordingly to its contents.
On the other side, in a recent statement the company declared that it agreed to pay $500,000 just to put everything behind and continue to focus on their clients. The company criticizes the demands regarding the auditing, claiming that a third-party system is already in place and the labeling accuracy is guaranteed by offering their clients for free the product that has been mispriced. According to the Whole Foods representatives, their system goes above and beyond the requirements imposed by the DCA.
Whole Foods had a tough year after its stock price have lost about a third of its value. Another scandal had strike the company when they sold $6 asparagus water. Besides that, animal rights activists have criticized the company arguing that their turkeys raised in California farms endure horrific conditions.
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