Whole Foods (Sort of) Responds to Overcharging Allegations

No, that's just the cost of living in the Big Apple.

It’s affectionately been called “Whole Paycheck Market.”

If you have never shopped at the health and nutrition depot, believe the hype. It’s a skosh expensive, but that doesn’t seem to matter to its loyal followers.

This has never been the focus of the chain’s PR team because Whole Foods’ image hasn’t been damaged by its more elite pricing. Now, this latest study from New York may lead to that team earning its paychecks.

According to the AP, Whole Foods has been “routinely” overcharging New York city shoppers by “overstating the weight of prepackaged meat, dairy and baked goods”…since 2010!

The price on a package of coconut shrimp at the upscale market was too high by $14.84, said Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin. A package of chicken tenders was overpriced by $4.85, and a vegetable platter by $6.15, the department said.

“We have been meeting with Whole Foods for months,” the commissioner said, “but we repeatedly found problems that were incredibly pervasive.”

whole foods 2So, Whole Foods? What say your PR / legal team?

Whole Foods said in a statement (via NBCNews.com): “We disagree with the DCA’s overreaching allegations and we are vigorously defending ourselves. We cooperated fully with the DCA from the beginning until we disagreed with their grossly excessive monetary demands. 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.”

Since 2010, Whole Foods has already been fined 800 times, paying fees totaling more than $60,000. You’d think they would have gotten the messages by now.

Apparently, the response was all they felt was necessary because if you visit the Whole Foods website, you’ll find no statement there nor any response to the accusations. Just happy people eating healthy food.

Maybe they don’t live in New York.

[PHOTO CREDITS: AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, Getty Images]

Publish date: June 26, 2015 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/whole-foods-sort-of-responds-to-overcharging-allegations/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT