Updated: 11:45 a.m., June 27, 2015
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Now that Whole Foods (WFM) has been accused of overcharging in New York City stores, one question remains: can you trust the company enough to keep shopping there? And how big will the fines be for its alleged pervasive pattern of misweighing packaged items - and frequently charging consumers for much more than they actually got?
"It's outrageous, it's like the deli guy with his thumb on the scale," said a spokesman for New York watchdog group Menu Police who insisted on anonymity. Whether these negative accusations will color public opinion and affect customer shopping patterns remains to be seen, but consumer advocacy groups have been pushing a full court press against the grocery giant.
New York’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) in effect has declared war on the retailer. “Whole Foods has stated they would never intentionally overcharge customers and yet our inspectors repeatedly found these violations at the city's stores," said DCA Commissioner Julie Menin in a statement this week. "The potential number of violations for all pre-packaged goods in the NYC stores is in the thousands.”
DCA added in a statement: “89% of the packages tested did not meet the federal standard for the maximum amount that an individual package can deviate from the actual weight... The overcharges ranged from $0.80 for a package of pecan panko to $14.84 for a package of coconut shrimp.”