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Addressing Weight and Pricing: A Message to Our Customers

By Whole Foods Market, June 29, 2015  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Whole Foods Market

A Message to Whole Foods Market Customers

As has been reported in the media, our New York City stores were audited by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) for weights-and-measures errors, such as those that cause improper price labeling on some of the products that are produced, packaged and labeled in our stores.

We want to provide our customers with the following information:

Unintentional errors

Any errors were unintentional, and any claim that we are “systematically overcharging” customers is completely inaccurate. The New York DCA found errors that were not in favor of customers as well as errors that were benefitting customers. Even errors in customers’ favor are considered a violation.

Hands-on approach

The reason for many of these inadvertent errors is because Whole Foods Market packs many of its fresh products in our stores instead of in factories or distribution centers. This involves team members handling, weighing and labeling containers of products, such as with cut produce and fresh squeezed juices. This is who we are and how we deliver the freshest products to customers, but this also means there will be some unintentional human errors.

Small percentage of errors

Our goal is always 100% accuracy. While some of our audits reflect 100% accuracy rates, in others, our scores have reflected errors in the weighing and price labeling of our products in a small percentage of instances.

Types of errors

Errors can include mislabeled content weights (both higher and lower), which could be a result of scales not being calibrated correctly, not deducting the proper amount for a container, or moisture loss in the product over time. Errors can also include pricing discrepancies such as a price change not being entered into the system or a sale sign that has not been taken down in time.

Steps we are taking

While inadvertent mistakes are inevitable, our goal is zero mistakes. We are improving our training regarding in-store packaging, weighing and labeling processes. Additionally, we have implemented a companywide third-party auditing process for all of our stores, and we will provide an update in the next 45 days so that customers can follow our progress.

Refund Policy

We apologize to our customers for any discrepancies that may have occurred. If customers think an item is priced incorrectly, we encourage them to ask the cashier to double check. If it is, and not in the customer’s favor, we will refund the full price and give you the item free. Our goal is 100 percent price accuracy.

Our number one priority is to ensure that our customers have a great experience every time they shop at Whole Foods Market. Falling short of a great experience is not acceptable to us, and we are committed to doing better.

We thank you for the trust that you have put in Whole Foods Market, and we will do everything we can to continue to earn that trust.

We would like to hear what you have to say and invite you to send your thoughts and questions to feedback@wholefoods.com

Category: Company Info




Don says ...
We all know the mayor is a socialist and the unions are likely behind this fiasco. Don't let these goobers pressure you into an unfair settlement. New York needs Whole Foods-where are people going to go-Fairway?
06/29/2015 6:20:21 PM CDT
Amie says ...
I am a loyal Whole Foods shopper and enthusiast, and I am incredibly grateful for this post. The indicated human error is very understandable to me, and I think it's important that errors in the customers' favor, as well as the willingness to refund money for overcharging were also mentioned. One beautiful thing about Whole Foods I have personally experienced over the years is that when they do make a mistake, whether with pricing, special orders, or anything else, they consistently go out of their way to make things right. As imperfect as humans are, we can't expect anything created or managed by us to be perfect either. Did your phone drop a call today? Did your computer freeze? Did the bill you sent not arrive on time even though you sent it in early? This stuff happens, and we just need to accept it. Rather than focusing so much on the inevitable mistakes, let's focus on how the company accounts for and corrects them. Whole Foods is beyond incredible for so many things, including customer service, and I will most definitely continue to believe in them!
06/29/2015 6:42:58 PM CDT
Rufina E Butler, Ph.D. says ...
I understand some information has come to light from California with regard to over charging customers. As I am one to believe there are two sides to every story, I trust you will be able to shed some light on this information. I look forward to your response. Respectfully, Rufina E. Butler, Ph.D.
06/29/2015 9:14:17 PM CDT
Jeff says ...
Produce that has experienced moisture loss is not fresh and should not be sold. In my store and in the south region it is often put on sale to minimize loss. This is an unacceptable practice and results in our customers shopping elsewhere when they can't trust our quality.
06/30/2015 3:02:49 PM CDT
Yvonne Hoy says ...
Is this refund policy only in the U.S.? Square One in Mississauga does not give the item for free if it is incorrectly priced. However, they do give a refund.
06/30/2015 5:10:00 PM CDT
Barbara O'Barr says ...
I myself purchased a small container of olives at Whole Foods and was charged 30$ for it when it actually should have been 5$. When I noticed the error I returned for a refund. I asked the customer service rep how something like this could even happen and he said that the "clerk could have been leaning on the weight measure". Hmmmmm.....This never ever happens in Safeway or King Soopers. Why is that?????????????????????????
06/30/2015 5:12:16 PM CDT
Jimbo Slice says ...
Something is wrong with your Healthy Eating section. There isn't anything about animal fat and protein. You should look into that.
06/30/2015 5:13:30 PM CDT
Regina says ...
I am a loyal Deerfield, IL. Whole Foods shoppe. I actually go out of my way to visit your stores when I am in other cites. Mistakes happen, we're all human and respect your addressing of this issue. I'm taking this opportunity to ask that you take a look at the Deerfield, IL store and try to control in stock/pricing issues at this store. Often times, I will go to the WF in Northbrook and their produce/fish department is so well stocked and ours often isn't. I've made mention of this to the employees..but not much has changed.
06/30/2015 5:14:27 PM CDT
Diane Cheatham says ...
Whole Foods is great ... everyone makes errors ... New York inspectors should back off.
06/30/2015 5:15:42 PM CDT
Ruth Anne says ...
I thank you for taking the time to respond to this issue. I have been a loyal Whole Foods shopper for years and, when I lived in Brooklyn, used to buy and carry all of my groceries from Union Square to my home -- because although folks like to call you all Whole Paycheck-- I found the prices of the products that I purchase often a dollar or more cheaper at Whole Foods than the same or similiar products at my conventional market just a block away. You all save me money and provide me with the products that I want. I also have been the recipient of a free product after a product was mis-marked. As a move to Staten Island is possible, I only hope you will soon open a store there.
06/30/2015 5:16:46 PM CDT
Becca says ...
I believe you and support you.
06/30/2015 5:21:05 PM CDT
Beverly S says ...
Thanks for the video. I haven't been to Whole Foods in a while because of a broken arm and illness, but I assure you that I have never had a problem with the pricing. Like you guys said, mistakes are made. Keep up the good work and the good food. Beverly S.
06/30/2015 5:23:42 PM CDT
Joanne Lintjer says ...
Thank you for your communication - I watched the video and read your email. I appreciate the honesty and education of the issue and the appreciation conveyed to the customers. Very classy - thank you very much! Joanne
06/30/2015 5:24:23 PM CDT
D Kitson says ...
I have experience overcharging, mainly when sale prices are not entered into your computer. A few of your cashiers challenge me about the 10 cents off for bringing bags if I don't get them out
06/30/2015 5:26:58 PM CDT
Sunny Moon says ...
I go to whole foods markets almost 4 times per week. I had times when the price was wrong but when I bought the issues to the cashier she told me (we cannot give you free items) this was quite disrespectful behavior . But as we only have one whole foods in Oakville Ontario Canada I have no choice but to go there . I hope that the staff was more respectful..
06/30/2015 5:30:28 PM CDT
Elaine says ...
WFUSQ raised the bar for healthy, fresh food and store cleanliness in the neighborhood.
06/30/2015 5:31:10 PM CDT
michelle mctucker says ...
Please open a store in Redding California because I know people and my family would shop there. There is an old Raley's by my house close enough to walk to that closed and maybe you could use it. Thank you for your consideration.
06/30/2015 5:35:07 PM CDT
Norman says ...
i live 30 miles from my whole foods and I drive there every week for groceries. Most people know what they are buying and approximately how much it weighs and how much it costs. When it comes to fresh meats.. Any of it.. You will not find any better people to work with that will adhere to your wishes. Mistakes happen and I appreciate your efforts in making extra sure that you take care of us. This will not stop me from going. I like the way they take care of all of my requests.
06/30/2015 5:37:46 PM CDT
Good Food Matters says ...
I am a loyal customer and believe in your brand, however, I have been overcharged several times with no refund. For example, I purchased 1 piece of small chicken from the hot food section in Berkeley, CA yesterday and paid $10!
06/30/2015 5:38:07 PM CDT
Martha Suero-Luna says ...
Hello. I'm from NYC and I appreciate how much you are doing to fix this issue. I've been shopping at Whole Foods religiously for several years and I am pleased with the variety of products you carry but I have noticed a few times that my total is more than I expected. I really think that whole foods needs to re-train their employees extensively as I have come across one or two employees whom do not have the capacity to work there or deal with customers. Thank you so much for everything.
06/30/2015 5:39:25 PM CDT
Linda Bo says ...
Still the classiest & best store EVER!! Your the best and thank you for owning your mistakes! So refreshing!
06/30/2015 5:44:17 PM CDT
David Clark says ...
As a trusting customer, I always believed your stores were on the up and up and would never allow such discrepancies to occur. The errors sighted were not minor as was eluded to in the above statement. The information provided in the report will always taint my view of Whole Foods and the ethics they practice. I probably will shop their again but I will always be on guard. It will just never be the same.
06/30/2015 5:53:11 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@YVONNE - Yes, this will apply to our US stores only.
06/30/2015 5:53:29 PM CDT
Laura says ...
I'm glad that all of the overcharges afforded you a good PR team to help you explain it. Whole Foods is one of the most successful groceries stores of our time, charging more than others (when the tickets are right). I'm sure you guys perform internal audits regularly enough to have figured this out before the DCA discovered it and it reached the news.
06/30/2015 5:57:51 PM CDT
Andrea Coomans says ...
I love Whole Foods and appreciate this information. What saddens me is that not once during this video explanation was an apology given, just an explanation. I think an apology first would have been in order.
06/30/2015 6:00:40 PM CDT