Think Whole Foods prices are too high? California does

June 25, 2014, 10:50 PM UTC
Whole Foods Lower Its Earnings Expectations Amid Increased Competition
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: People walk out of Whole Foods Market in the Brooklyn borough on May 7, 2014 in New York City. Whole Foods Market, an upscale grocery store that sells many organic and gourmet foods, has reported disappointing sales and profit outlooks. Shares for the company have dropped as much as 22% today, its biggest decline in years. (Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images)
Photograph by Spencer Platt — Getty Images

Whole Foods agreed to pay $800,000 on Tuesday to settle accusations by three California cities Los Angeles, Santa Monica and San Diego, that is overcharged customers.

The grocery chain said it would pay the fees, which includes civil penalties and costs, for allegedly charging more than the advertised prices for a number of products. For instance, the weight of containers weren’t deducted from self-serve salad and hot food bars. Meanwhile, stores sold items like kebabs and other prepared deli food by the piece, not the pound. Packaged items were found to weigh less than what was stated on label.

“We’re taking action to assure consumers get what they pay for. No consumer should ever be overcharged by their local market,” said Mike Feuer, the Los Angeles city attorney, in a statement.

Along with paying up the hefty fine, Whole Foods (WFM), which has 74 stores across California, will appoint two coordinators with the task of checking pricing accuracy throughout the state. Additionally, each store will designate an employee to check on pricing accuracy and random audits will be conducted four times a year.

In May, Whole Foods showed signs of a struggle as the space for organic foods faces increasing competition. The company fell short of analyst expectations and saw its stock plunge 20% at the time. Whole Foods has 386 stores total, most of which are in the United States.