An investigation by New York City last month revealed that Whole Foods grocery stores have been mischarging customers for a variety of prepared items, which the company vigorously contested.
Today the company is singing a much different tune, releasing a video featuring co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb apologizing for the screw-up and promising more accurate prices from now on.
“Straight up, we made some mistakes,” says Robb. “We want to own that, and tell you what we’re doing about it.”
What they’re doing about the embarrassing record of over-charges and occasional under-charges, primarily attributed to labeling errors on items that are priced by weight, is “implementing a third-party auditing system” to check on weighing and labeling procedures in Whole Foods stores. The audits will be coupled with increased training for employees who portion and package fresh foods. Within 45 days, says Mackey, “we will be reporting back to you, the customer, exactly what kind of progress we’re making here.”
The investigation from New York’s Department of Consumer Affairs came after Whole Foods was penalized with an $800,000 fine for similar offenses in its California stores last year. The company still faces millions of dollars in potential fines for mispriced items in New York.
Mackey also said that if a customer catches an overcharge at the register and tells the cashier, the customer will get the item for free. So don’t forget your scale the next time you go shopping at Whole Foods.