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Vision Express "FREE" Eye Test Voucher - scam?!
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# 1
smellencarter
Old 16-04-2012, 9:45 AM
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Angry Vision Express "FREE" Eye Test Voucher - scam?!

I receive a letter from Vision Express in the post last week and attached was a voucher for 'FREE eye test plus 50 off eyewear'. I carefully checked if there were any T&Cs or smallprint (as it did sound like a very good deal) but there weren't any so I booked an appointment at my local branch.

I had my eye test and it turns out I did need glasses so I was asked to choose some frames. I chose some 80 ones, keeping in mind my 50 voucher so I only had to pay 30. I was then told to add an extra 81 for my lenses. when i realised how high the price was going to be, I explained to the member of staff serving me that I did not had sufficiant funds in my bank account until my payday later on in the week. I asked if I could pay a deposit now and pay the balance upon collection (I know some other Opticians do this) but I wasn;t allowed to do that. He then told me that because I wasn't purchasing my glasses today, I would now have to pay for my eye test (25!). I reminded him of my 'free eye test' voucher but he refused to let me use it, saying it was invalid if I wasn't buying any eyewear.

I reluctantly paid the 25 and took my prescription - needless to say I will NOT be going back to a Vision Express store to get my glasses!

When I returned home I carefully re-read the letter and voucher, checking it didn't say "for terms & conditions please see our website", or something similar. But it DEFINITELY didn't.

So, is there anything I can do? I have made a complaint on the Vision Express website. I just feel so silly for paying for the eye test, I should have stuck to my guns but it's difficult to do when you're on your own
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# 2
mugwump
Old 16-04-2012, 10:16 AM
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Why did you think the frame price included lenses?

It is a total deal. You get a free eye test and then 50 off eyewear. It can not be split. You can't have test and no specs for free or specs with no eytest and get 50 off.
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# 3
fluffnutter
Old 16-04-2012, 10:22 AM
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I don't think it's a scam. It sounds pretty usual to me - the freebie part is only redeemable if you buy their product and lenses and frames are pretty much always charged separately.

It might be that the voucher wasn't very clear, but without having sight (ha ha!) of this, it's difficult for me to comment on whether they're being a bit naughty with their wording.
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# 4
oldagetraveller
Old 16-04-2012, 11:08 AM
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Just get your prescription from them and go elsewhere for the glasses? Presumably you didn't pay for an eye test?
I'm sure they are obliged to give you the prescription.
That's what I've done in the past when they've (not vision Express) tried to steer me towards their glasses and lenses aftyer a chnge in prescription. I just say no thanks, my prescription please, then go elsewhere, usually online where you choose frames and provide prescription details for the lenses.
If it says FREE eye test and there are no catches like only if the glasses etc. are purchased from them then the test surely has to be free? What would they do if you hadn't needed glasses? They couldn't have then charged for the test.
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# 5
smellencarter
Old 16-04-2012, 12:15 PM
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Oldagetraveller - I did pay for the eye test! They insisted I couldn't have it for free even though my voucher said "free eye test" and they only told me this after I'd had the test! I have my prescription so at least I can go elsewhere for some glasses.

Fluffnutter - It didn't specify on the voucher that this was the case - as Oldagetraveller said, what if I hadn't needed glasses?! All they needed to do was put some smallprint on the reverse of the voucher - as with most other vouchers around. The exact words on the voucher are "FREE eye test plus 50 off eyewear - to redeem just bring this voucher into your local Vision Express branch". I believe this wording is rather mis-leading.

Mugwump - I didn't think the frame price included the lenses, I just didn't realise how much lenses cost. This is the first time I've needed glasses so not sure how/why I would have been aware of this. If the voucher says free eye test then why can't I have a free eye test? Again, as above - what if I hadn't needed glasses??


I'm sure I'm not the only person to take the voucher into Vision Express and actually expect a free eye test, regardless of whether they need glasses or not. It is very misleading. The voucher should have had small print that explained that the eye test was only free IF I purchased some glasses, in which case I would get 50 off.
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# 6
mugwump
Old 16-04-2012, 12:18 PM
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I wish I could pay 81 for lenses instead of the 400 I have to.
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# 7
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Old 16-04-2012, 12:21 PM
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That's helpful, thank you mugwump.
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# 8
halibut2209
Old 16-04-2012, 12:35 PM
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Your mistake was paying them.
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# 9
smellencarter
Old 16-04-2012, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halibut2209 View Post
Your mistake was paying them.
I realise that, but as a young(ish) girl I didn't feel confident enough to stand up to a group of staff members and refuse to pay! I felt that I had no choice.
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# 10
mugwump
Old 16-04-2012, 1:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smellencarter View Post
That's helpful, thank you mugwump.
My pleasure
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# 11
pmduk
Old 16-04-2012, 2:10 PM
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If you still have the voucher refer it to the Advertising Standards Authority
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# 12
fluffnutter
Old 16-04-2012, 2:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmduk View Post
If you still have the voucher refer it to the Advertising Standards Authority
Agreed. If you're confident that the letter and voucher were misleading, i.e. that the test would be free regardless of whether you need a prescription, or buy from them, then refer it to the ASA.

OP, you need also to write to their complaints dept enclosing photocopies of the letter and voucher, explain what happened and why you think you've been mislead and ask for your money back.
"Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell" - Edward Abbey.
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# 13
Fosterdog
Old 16-04-2012, 2:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffnutter View Post
I don't think it's a scam. It sounds pretty usual to me - the freebie part is only redeemable if you buy their product and lenses and frames are pretty much always charged separately.

It might be that the voucher wasn't very clear, but without having sight (ha ha!) of this, it's difficult for me to comment on whether they're being a bit naughty with their wording.
I've had one of these vouchers delivered too, I'm not going to take them up on the offer but if I did I would have the eye test which would show I have 20/20 vision and no need for glasses so how can they then make me pay for the test? Until you have the test you may not know whether you need glasses or not and it doesn't say on the voucher that you only get a free eye test if you make a purchase, it says free eye test and a separate voucher with 50 off eyeware. Nothing to even suggest that both vouchers have to be used let alone together.
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# 14
fluffnutter
Old 16-04-2012, 2:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fosterdog View Post
I've had one of these vouchers delivered too, I'm not going to take them up on the offer but if I did I would have the eye test which would show I have 20/20 vision and no need for glasses so how can they then make me pay for the test? Until you have the test you may not know whether you need glasses or not and it doesn't say on the voucher that you only get a free eye test if you make a purchase, it says free eye test and a separate voucher with 50 off eyeware. Nothing to even suggest that both vouchers have to be used let alone together.
Even more reason for the OP to complain then. Seems like they're being rather naughty. Or, alternatively, she was badly advised in the shop.
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# 15
unholyangel
Old 16-04-2012, 2:44 PM
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You can also report them to your local trading standards.

On top of that, personally.....I would also put your complaint into writing sending a copy to both your local store and their head office.

In the letter, state you are requesting reimbursement of your 25. Give brief details such as date/time of visit, store location, and what happened. State that in a contract, you cannot bind consumers to hidden terms. Give them 14 days to refund your money. Keep your letter as simple and as striaghtforward as possible. Avoid being emotional (by using such phrases like i'm disappointed, i'm angry, i was shocked etc). Stick to the facts.

From OFT's Unfair Contract Terms Guidance (which can be found here http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/rep...rms/oft311.pdf) :

Quote:
Schedule 2, paragraph 1, states that terms may be unfair if they
have the object or effect of:
(i) irrevocably binding the consumer to terms with which he had no
real opportunity of becoming acquainted before the conclusion of
the contract.


9.1 Terms which have the effect of making consumers agree to accept
obligations of which they can have no knowledge at the time of contracting
are open to serious objection. It is a fundamental requirement of contractual
fairness that consumers should always have an opportunity to read and
understand terms before becoming bound by them (see Part IV).
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# 16
whitegoods_engineer
Old 23-04-2012, 6:17 PM
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Funnily enough, I used a voucher for a free eye test in VE last week. This voucher was in my Nectar card benefits mailout and the reverse of the voucher actually stated 'This voucher entitles you to a free eye test with no conditions' It actually stated 'no conditions'.

I went to VE, had my eye test and then they did the stuff about looking at lenses and frames as I needed glasses.

I looked at some frames (with no intention of buying from them) and than said to the salesperson that I would like to come back at the end of the month to buy.

I took my prescription and left.


I can now use my prescription wherever there is a good deal so I've done allright this time!
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# 17
BlueAngelCV
Old 23-04-2012, 8:16 PM
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I would write a letter to Vision Express complaining.

I understand that they wouldn't let you use the 50.00 voucher if you were coming back at a later date (although ideally they would do) but to suggest that you have to pay because you didn't purchase glasses is ridiculous and I'm sure that isn't what was intended. Are they really suggesting that if you have a test and don't need glasses they will then charge you?!
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2 loans (01/04/09 & 01/02/11) 3 credit cards (01/12/10, 31/12/11 & 31/12/11), 2 overdrafts (31/12/11 & 31/12/11) & 2 storecards (01/07/10 & 31/12/11) down, 1 loan to go
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# 18
scoobos
Old 25-04-2012, 3:30 PM
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I'd like to add to this that I think VE are running a pretty good scam on charging for lenses INDIVIDUALLY - I've never had this.

Went into maidenhead for 1 pair of glasses with the free eye test, was offered an extra pair for 30 quid, thought great.

Got to the lenses discussion and the sales woman clearly said "Option 1 is 62.50"

I chose option 1 for what i thought was my LENSES - only to find when checking my reciept that I was charged 125 for 2 very slight lenses..

I hate it when people use decieving language, I was in a rush and getting a lot of things, so I didnt realise that I'd been ripped off on this one order...

It's like charging an individual price for a shoe.
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# 19
neilmcl
Old 25-04-2012, 4:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scoobos View Post
I'd like to add to this that I think VE are running a pretty good scam on charging for lenses INDIVIDUALLY - I've never had this.
Then you've not been to many opticians.
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# 20
scoobos
Old 25-04-2012, 10:10 PM
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ok I stand corrected then....
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