BEACON TRANSCRIPT – While many of us are often the victims of retailers overpricing their products, it’s rare that any of us actually see compensation. And the people won’t see any compensation in this case either, as New York to be paid $500,000 by Whole Foods for overpricing.
After the Department of Consumer Affairs was alerted by enough people that Whole Foods was overcharging their customers by mislabeling their products, things haven’t been looking too good for the nation-wide franchise.
However, after refusing to even consider DCA’s original demand of $1.5 million, Whole Foods Market representatives eventually accepted the settlement of $500,000 in order to put the whole affair behind them.
The company was accused of routinely overcharging their customers, by labeling their products as weighing more than they actually did. This was not a single occasion either, as you’ll read later on.
Besides paying the fine, Whole Foods also has a number of other responsibilities and obligations in order to ensure that nothing similar will happen again.
First of all, all employees in New York that are responsible for weighing and labeling products will have to undergo several hours of training.
Secondly, the company will have to undergo quarterly audits in their New York stores, for at least 50 products from ten different departments in order to ensure the proper labeling and weighing of the products.
Thirdly, employees will be forced to weigh and label each and every package individually, according to its actual weight.
Last but not least, in case any product is found to be mislabeled in any way, all mislabeled products will have to be removed from the store, and the company will have 15 days to verify the accuracy of the products label – price and weight alike – and also that of 20 other products from the same department in all of their New York stores.
Despite their initial refusal to even consider paying the fine, Whole Foods spokespeople claimed that they decided to pay the $500,000 settlement because their sales were dropping due to bad publicity.
Additionally, they claim that no evidence was found of intentional ill will towards the customers, and that they shouldn’t have been the one singled out, as other companies are doing the same. This would indicate that the company actually knew about the illicit practices.
Remember when I said that this has happened before? Well, after a similar scandal that surrounded the Californian branch of the franchise that started in 2012, in 2014 the company had to pay the state of California $800,000 for similar charges.
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