After getting busted last summer overcharging New York City customers, bourgeois grocer Whole Foods is now coughing up some cash to make things right.
A sting operation by the city's Department of Consumer Affairs revealed Whole Foods had a habit of overcharging customers for pre-packaged foods priced by the pound, with prices sometimes inflated by as much as nearly $15. Now, according to Reuters, the company has agreed to settle the matter by settling with the DCA for $500,000, as well as "conduct[ing] quarterly in-store audits to ensure products are accurately weighed and labeled."
"After discovering the troubling and repeated mislabeling of pre-packaged goods at Whole Foods last year, we are happy to have reached an agreement with Whole Foods that will help to ensure New Yorkers are better protected from overcharging," DCA Commissioner Julie Menin says via press release. Whole Foods is less enthusiastic about the situation, offering its own press release with a different perspective: The company alleges that the DCA has "misrepresented" the settlement agreement, insisting that it already had pricing and weight policies in place "that go above and beyond the DCA’s requirements." Whole Foods also claims that the DCA originally demanded $1.5 million.
Whole Foods is expensive enough already — after all, it earned its "Whole Paycheck" nickname long before the silly $6 asparagus water scandal — so it's no surprise that consumers were pissed to find out they'd been systemically overcharged for already-pricey products: The chain saw a sharp decline in sales after news of the overcharging scandal broke over the summer.