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Whole Foods Market to pay $500,000 to settle overcharging allegations


Whole Foods Market has settled a dispute with the city of New York.

The grocer has agreed to pay $500,000 and to conduct regular in-store audits in a resolution of allegations that its stores in New York City were overcharging customers for prepackaged foods. The settlement was announced by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).

In announcing the settlement, the DCA said that Whole Foods had agreed to conduct quarterly audits of at least 50 products from 10 departments at its New York stores to make sure prices were accurate. The retailer also is required to implement policies that require employees to individually weigh each package and only label the package with a label that is based on the weight of the actual contents. Whole Foods must also conduct trainings for all New York City employees who are involved in weighing and labeling products.

In a statement on its Web site, Whole Foods emphasized that the DCA’s allegations of violations on the weighted/measured items were limited to New York City, and that “there was no evidence of systematic or intentional misconduct by anyone in the Northeast region or the rest of the company.”

The chain also noted that it refused to consider the DCA’s initial demands of $1.5 million, and agreed to $500,000 “in order to put this issue behind us.”

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