San Diego Whole Foods Stores Penalized for Overcharging Customers

Whole Foods Market Inc. must pay $800,000 in penalties after a judge found that stores in Southern California, including San Diego, were overcharging customers.

Whole Foods will pay $630,000 in civil penalties, $68,394 in investigative costs and $100,000 in restitution to settle the consumer protection lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The case concerns stores in San Diego, Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

The lawsuit accused the popular market chain of charging more at the time of checkout for several items then what was advertised in the store. Whole Foods cashiers also failed to deduct the weight of containers when ringing up customers for self-serve items and had products that weighed less than the label. Cashiers also sold kebabs and other deli foods by the piece instead of by the pound, as required by law.

In the lawsuit, prosecutors charged Whole Foods with violating consumer protection laws prohibiting false advertising and unfair competition.

The owners of Whole Foods Inc. agreed to pay the civil penalty and agreed to be audited to ensure that all 74 Whole Foods stores in California are not committing the violations.

There are four Whole Foods stores in San Diego County: in Hillcrest, La Jolla, Del Mar and Encinitas.

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