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Wednesday, Jul 17, 2024
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Whole Foods Settles Price-Overcharge Case for $800,000

Specialty grocer Whole Foods Markets has agreed to pay nearly $800,000 in penalties and restitution for pricing overcharges, following a complaint filed by the city attorney’s offices in San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

The grocer agreed to settle a civil consumer protection complaint, after information was brought to the city attorneys by state and county officials, according to a statement from the San Diego City Attorney’s Office.

The complaint alleged that Whole Foods charged more at the time of checkout than what was posted in advertisements and on items in its stores. Prosecutors also alleged that the stores failed to deduct the weight of containers before charging consumers in self-serve food areas, and provided product in less weight than stated on the label.

Whole Foods has agreed to pay $630,000 in civil penalties, $68,394 in investigative costs, and $100,000 in restitution to a statewide weights and measures enforcement trust. The injunction prohibits the alleged practices in all 74 California Whole Foods stores, after state and county officials found violations at 69 stores in 19 counties.

The stipulated final judgment was filed in the Santa Monica courthouse of Los Angeles Superior Court.

In its own statement, Whole Foods officials said the grocer’s prices were found to be correct 98 percent of the time, and the company is taking steps to improve pricing policies and practices.

Whole Foods is based in Austin, Texas, and operates four stores in San Diego County, with another in the works at Scripps Ranch.

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