BOSTON (CBS) — Hidden cameras were rolling as Nicole Rodriguez-Gasperov browsed the aisles at her local wine shop.
“It says 2013 on the red BevMo! tag, but the bottle is 2014 and I would have never caught that,” she said.
“That is crazy! How could they do that? The product should be exactly what it says its selling,” added Rodriguez-Gasperov, referring to an error she found repeatedly at the store.
The price signs with wine ratings for specific years didn’t match the actual bottle for sale on the shelf.
“I’m reading the description and it’s a great bottle of cab, a 2011, and then I go to grab it (and) if I don’t notice that it’s a 2012… when I get home…,” Rodriguez-Gasperov said. “The year matters and if it’s not right then you kind of feel like you’ve been swindled a little bit.”
The issue has led to a class-action lawsuit against California liquor store chain BevMo! WBZ found the same issue at many liquor stores in Greater Boston. Bottle after bottle after bottle the vintage posted on the label attached to the shelf didn’t match the vintage of the actual bottle being sold on the wine racks.
“It feels like it’s a little bit of a bait-and-switch,” said Jim Carmody, vice president and general manager of Boston’s Seaport Hotel Jim Carmody, who knows his wine.
While the year may not always make the biggest difference in taste or price on some younger wines, Carmody says it still matters.
“I think it does matter from vintage to vintage,” he said. “I think it shows someone is paying attention.”
And liquor stores aren’t the only ones making the mistake.
“I think it happens more often in restaurants,” Carmody says.
In California, undercover shoppers got very different excuses from the store clerks on the problem.
“So, I noticed this year is for the 2014. Do you have those?” a shopper asked a BevMo! clerk.
“I do not,” replied the clerk. “What ends up happening is they update the signs either too slow or too fast.”
“So, it doesn’t matter what year?” asked the shopper.
“It’s not the year of the wine. It’s the year of the competition,” says the BevMo! clerk.
BevMo! does offer a disclaimer about vintage substitution on the labels inside the stores. A statement that might be hard for some customers to spot at first glance.
WBZ didn’t find any disclaimers on the shelves at local stores. For customers, this could be a mix-up that may be a tough pill to swallow.
“Make sure you read the labels,” Rodriguez-Gasperov says. “And ask, ‘This (sign) says 2011, but this bottle is a 2012. Are you out of the of the 2011? What am I getting?'”