Updated 04:12 PM EDT, Sat, Sep 18, 2021

Whole Foods Market Overcharging Customers? NYC Launches Investigation

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Are you sure that you're paying your groceries for how much they're really worth?

Known as an upscale market selling prepackaged meat, dairy, as well as baked goods, it seems that Whole Foods may not be as wholesome as they'd like consumers to think, especially when it comes to the prices of their products, according to investigators.

The Department of Consumer Affairs has recently released a report, saying that the agency is currently probing Whole Foods after the DCA found out that New York City branches of the supermarket chain "routinely overstated the weights of its pre-packaged products" thereby, "overcharging" buyers.

Commissioner Julie Menin from the Department of Consumer Affairs listed a few of the products that were allegedly overpriced, including coconut shrimp ($14.84), chicken tenders ($4.85), and the vegetable platter ($6.15).

Menin added, "Our inspectors tell me this is the worst case of mislabeling they have seen in their careers, which DCA and New Yorkers will not tolerate. As a large chain grocery store, Whole Foods has the money and resources to ensure greater accuracy and to correct what appears to be a widespread problem-the city's shoppers deserve to be correctly charged."

The commissioner explained that Whole Foods was informed of the city investigation that began in the fall, checking all eight Whole Foods markets open in New York. Since then, a ninth branch has already opened in the state.

While the commissioner and the Department of Consumer Affairs warned the company about the investigation, Whole Foods countered their allegations, as noted in an email statement sent to various media outlets, including Fox News. The statement read, "We disagree with the DCA's overreaching allegations." Whole foods also alleged that the department made "grossly excessive monetary demands" without disclosing the amount to settle the dispute.

"Despite our requests to the DCA, they have not provided evidence to back up their demands nor have they requested any additional information from us, but instead have taken this to the media to coerce us," added Whole Foods.

The company may be fined thousands of dollars, considering that in New York City, the fine for falsely labeling a package goes for as much as $950 for the first violation, and up to $1,700 for the subsequent violations.

Investigation is still ongoing, but it seems the DCA already has a long list of violations, which the company allegedly incurred. Quoting an unnamed DCA spokesperson, ABC reported that "Since 2011, the city's Whole Foods stores have racked up more than 75 violations with more than 500 total counts for those violations."

The New York branches were not the only ones under fire for allegedly overpricing their products. The Independent UK reported that just last year, the supermarket brand paid around $800,000 in fines to California (Santa Monica, Los Angeles and San Diego) after being accused of the same pricing irregularities. 

Do you do your groceries at Whole Foods? Let us know your thoughts about these allegations.

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