Whole Foods to Pay $800,000 for Ripping Off California Customers

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Following a year-long investigation into widespread "pricing inaccuracies" in California, Whole Foods agreed to pay an $800,000 settlement. According to the Los Angeles City Attorney's office, the luxury grocer's transgressions included:

  • Failing to deduct the weight of containers when ringing up charges for self-serve foods at the salad bar and hot bar;

  • Giving less weight than the amount stated on the label, for packaged items sold by the pound; and

  • Selling items by the piece, instead of by the pound as required by law (such as kebabs and other prepared deli foods) 

In a statement, Whole Foods claimed that their pricing is 98 percent accurate and added this little piece of somewhat contrite-sounding corporate speak:

We will continue to refine and implement additional processes to minimize such errors going forward."

For those keeping track at home, that $800,000 settlement is somewhere along the lines of what it would cost to buy 50,000 pounds of Sockeye Salmon Fillet or maybe 32,000 pounds of chocolate-dipped orange peels at Whole Foods.

Whole Foods has also agreed to designate employees to check pricing accuracy at each of its 74 California stores and conduct random audits of the markets. 

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Whole Foods was among the many retailers enjoying access to artisanal foods produced by prison laborers. Unsurprisingly, California is on the forefront of that movement.  

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.