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Jul 3, 2008 08:17 AM

Whole Foods consistently overcharges

Every week I have gone to Whole Foods they have always over -charged me on items. For instance:

1. I bought some Nutritional Yeast at their bulk bin. The price said $5.99 a pound, but when the cashier rang it up, it was $7.99 a pound.

2. Soy milk was listed as $1.29, the cashier rang it up as $1.49.

3. I picked up a fennel bulb and the cashier charged me for dandelion greens (which, of course, was more expensive).

There's a lot more, but you get the message. Has anyone else experienced this? Who can I complain to?


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  1. You probably should have brought it up while the checker was ringing you up. Having said that, WF has an excellent customer service department. If you bring your receipt to the customer service desk they will handle the problem, no questions asked.

    11 Replies
    1. re: lizzy

      I concur, you need to contact their customer service desk. It frustrates me to no end when people complain on boards like this without bringing it directly to the company's attention. How are they supposed to fix a problem they don't know exists?

      1. re: RobynS

        That's why we call it "Whole Paycheck" in these parts.

        You should definitely take your receipt to the customer service desk. And, you might ask them whether their scanners are up to date. I don't think checkers "ring up" much beyond produce these days; it's all in the computer.

        1. re: brendastarlet

          brenda- EVERYBODY calls it Whole Paycheck, and has for years.

          To the OP- you just have to be vigilant while things are being rung up- I always watch my checker. These aren't the most high-paying jobs in the world, and they don't always have the most knowledgeable people, and WF can have a huge diversity in product.

      2. re: lizzy

        You better believe I pointed out their errors! I wish they had Alberton's policy on wrong prices--you get the item for free.

        1. re: fatfudge

          Who did you point it out to though? If it's just the cashier they may not be communicating it up the chain. I'd go to customer service.

          1. re: fatfudge

            It is the LAW in California that when a shelf price does not match a scanned price the item is wither $5 off or free. This is in effect at Albertsons as well as Target- grocery store or otherwise.

            Something you are saying isn't right.

            1. re: fatfudge

              Go back to the store now and speak with management, don't ask questions here.

              1. re: fatfudge

                What I don't understand is....if you pointed out the error why was it not taken care of right then and there? I know it varies from store to store, but WF has some of the most knowledgeable and friendly staff. If this happened at my WF, it would have been corrected before I paid and without making me feel like I am wasting everyone's time.

                1. re: fatfudge

                  I've gotten the item for free at WF when the item scanned for the wrong price. The cashier told me it was their policy.....I *guess* it could have been a store policy and not an company-wide one in my case.

                2. re: lizzy

                  Many people, having limited time, fp not wish to deal with a customer service desk.

                  1. re: mpalmer6c

                    I have often called customer service from home to report a mistake on my bill. The response (Bedford, MA) has always been "please come to customer service the next time you are in the store and we will refund your money". I don't need a receipt or to return the item, either.

                3. Differences between labeled price and scanned price pretty much happen everywhere. There have been a number of studies talking about those errors. (and a surprisingly high percentage of the time, the error is in the customer's favor)

                  Check with state law and see what the store is legally supposed to be doing in order to correct overcharges. In some states, the store may be supposed to rebate you three times the amount of the overcharge, or give you an under $10 for free if the cashier does not correct the mis-scanned item upon request.

                  1. agreed. i actually think it must be part of their business model. it happened to me so much that i had to stop shopping at wf b/c i just don't have the time to sit there after i check out, check my slip. . . stop at the manager's counter . . . wait in line . . . and have it corrected. i have other things to do - like get home to make dinner/put the groceries away, etc. so - i just won't shop at whole foods anymore. yay.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: dtud

                      Customer service at the WF near me is incredibly bad. I check my receipt before I head out the door. I was recently overcharged and went back to the cashier (who was otherwise unoccupied). I was rudely told to go to customer service. After waiting in line for over ten minutes, I reached a surly dismissive lady at customer service. I got the refund, but was treated like garbage, as if it was my fault that I was mischarged. I may have to stop inconveniencing WF with my business.

                      1. re: justin_mjn

                        At my WF its bad as well. I was overcharged 4 dollars and went to the customer service desk the next morning. I was given an attitude. Apparently the ad had switched overnight and she could no longer look up the correct price(?). She would have to call the meat manager, who wasnt there, to verify the price. Suffice to say, it was a nightmare and it never got resolved because she said she had to go through "an elaborate process". She was annoyed, even though it was her job to help me, and when I asked to speak with someone else, she went into some little office and came back and said she was the only one who could help me at that time. I asked her, look can I just grab a cup of coffee and we can call it a day, and she said no. She was a complete FB and I have not shopped there since. That would never have happen at Wild Oats.

                      2. re: dtud

                        Third for me. It's really odd how often it happens there. On the rare occasions that I now go there, I always check the receipt before I leave the register.

                        1. re: dtud

                          I don't work for Whole Foods but I feel that the errors described here would never be part of their business plan.
                          The only time I heard of such a thing was when the NYS Attorney General fined Best Buy for having two parallel pricing sites--one on the web (lower) and one in the store (higher prices), Errors in a super market is attributed to mistakes on the part of the cashier (incorrectly identifying a non scannable product as something else) or a screw-up in their pricing software.

                          1. re: jayjay

                            Or they aren't regularly updating the prices that show in the terminals for that SKU, and they aren't regularly updating the prices on the shelves.

                            Bad, especially painful when they are charging higher pricing on everything, and then you get attitude?!!!

                            1. re: jayjay

                              when something occurs on such a frequent basis, it has to be part of their business plan. they are choosing to stick the customer with these "mistakes" rather than diligently monitor their price/scan updates -- this simply isn't an accident. it is someone making a decision to make sure prices are "kind of" accurately marked and hope that not too many people complain. and from the sounds of it - it's not just happening in los angeles or new orleans (the two places where i used to shop at wf) - but all over the country. it is the company's choice not to charge customers the accurate price -- by who they hire and what they emphasize as important to those employees.

                              and there is a reason that state attorney generals get invovled - b/c it's fraudulent & illegal. however, most governmental agencies are underfunded and cannot pursue consumer rights. . . but, alas, that's for another blog.

                              1. re: dtud

                                The only items I've ever had mis-ring in Whole Foods are ones where the checker has to enter an item code. The error has always been quickly corrected when pointed out.

                                I doubt incorrect pricing is part of their business plan. It is the sort of thing that leads to lawsuits and fines if it is found out.

                                Whole Foods make more revenue per square foot and more profit per square foot than most grocery stores. They have plenty of high profit items customers willingly purchase, there is no need for them to cheat their customer base (and indeed doing so would be counteroductive).

                          2. talk about getting kicked while you are down.... Whole Foods is already ridiculously overpriced as it is.. But then for them to overcharge on top of that.. thats pretty bad.

                            maybe its some sort of a "green tax" they are adding onto their products.. ;-)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: swsidejim

                              Or, if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it?

                            2. I was overcharged recently at the fish counter at the Whole Foods in Oakland. Fish was advertised on the sign in the display case at a certain price, but when she weighed it I noticed that it entered the system at a different price. When I pointed it out to the clerk (difference was significant, at least $3 per pound) she looked at the sign, apologized and redid the package for me, but she had to call it something else that was the correct price to get it to ring up correctly.

                              I hadn't shopped there often enough to know if this is in any way part of a business plan, and have no opinion about that. However, my experience with their customer service is that it is waay too 'relaxed' for me, so this could just be sloppiness about updating sale prices.

                              Example of what I mean: twice now I have been in the Whole Foods in Oakland, trying to just pick up one or two quick items on my way to somewhere (this is the main reason I was there; that WF is very close to my then office and convienent to stop at after work to pick up some last minute item. It is WAAAYYY too expensive to be somewhere I'd buy more than a few items or shop at very often. So the fish incident happened on one of only two or at most three visits there). And twice of those visits there were many people in line in the 15 or less items check out with more than 15 items.

                              On my last visit, the second time I encountered people using the express line who had more than the allowed number of items, I complained. The person in front of me had twice that many items. She just shrugged and didn't move to another line, cashier also just shrugged and started checking her out. When it got to be my turn with the cashier I asked why he hadn't enforced the 15 item limit.

                              His answer: "hey man, we are laid back here and you shouldn't be in such a hurry. We take whoever is next at any check out stand, regardless of how many items they have".

                              My response, "Well, so what you are saying is that basically you don't have an express check out line, but advertise that you do"

                              Answer: "well, yeah I guess so. We just want to make everyone happy"

                              Me: "Well, guess what, you just made me unhappy by calling something express and not enforcing it, so you aren't meeting your goal!"

                              Cashier: "oh well. Have a nice day anyway. It really is a nice day. Like I said, you shouldn't be in a hurry....."

                              Sixties holdover relaxedness or false advertising? You can judge for yourself, but as for me, I don't intend to go back.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: susancinsf

                                I too have been overcharged @ WF Oakland- they corrected the error but not until you notice the offense, wait for some relief, and then they took my name & number saying I would receive a call back but never have. I would like ot know what governmental agency I can report overcharging to?

                                1. re: 510jeff

                                  Local Department of Weights and Measures.


                                  There should be a "consumer" section regarding scanner price accuracy/violations.

                                2. re: susancinsf

                                  I used to be a cashier at a grocery store. We couldn't tell more people to go away because management didn't want them to complain if they had to move.