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UPDATED: When a BOOTS 'free' contact lens trial turns out NOT to be free

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UPDATED: When a BOOTS 'free' contact lens trial turns out NOT to be free

edited 16 March 2015 at 5:38PM in Health & Beauty MoneySaving
6 replies 8.9K views
A_Phoenix_of_TangerineA_Phoenix_of_Tangerine Forumite
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edited 16 March 2015 at 5:38PM in Health & Beauty MoneySaving
... and you are actually charged £35 post-event for the privilege!

Had a bit of a weird situation today that I'm wanting to hear your views on.


I used to be an 'OLD OPTICIANS A' customer, and had bought a 90 day supply of dailies contact lenses from them last Spring. Didn't get on with the lenses, until I used started trying them with eye drops over the Winter. Although my eyes got dry and a bit uncomfortable wearing them, with multiple applications of the drops they were more bearable, and I found I much preferred wearing contact lenses to glasses, even if the lens type wasn't quite suitable.


Down to my last few pairs, and aware that I need some new, better performing lenses plus an eye test (my last test was about a year ago), I took a look at the deals being offered by the different optician websites.


I decided to go for the £10 eye test deal at 'NEW OPTICIANS B', with free contact lens assessment and trial.


Great. I booked my £10 eye test plus free lens assessment online, and a lady from the 'NEW OPTICIANS B' opticians main call centre soon called to arrange an appointment time.


During the conversation we established that I was a new customer to 'NEW OPTICIANS B' opticians, and I requested that, as my previous contact lenses were toric, could she put a note on my file if she thought the optician might need to know. She agreed that she would if there was enough space on the form, and that I could bring my lenses to the appointment to show the optician what I'd been using.


So THAT seemed fine; she stated no issue with the fact that I'd had lenses before through a different opticians, and was booking onto 'NEW OPTICIANS B''s eye test & free lens assessment.


Fast forward to today. I had my eye test, and after cross-referencing my eye test results with the lens catalog the optician suggested some different lenses that would help my problem with dry eye.


Great! But when it came time to pay, the manager insisted I pay £45, not the £10 I had originally assumed I would be paying. £10 for the eye test & an additional £35 for the contact lens assessment, even though I am a completely new customer to 'NEW OPTICIANS B' opticians & have never taken out a contact lens trial with them before, free or otherwise.


The manager said that he had to charge that extra £35 because I have used contact lenses before (even though it wasn't through this 'NEW OPTICIANS B' offer??!), and thus I didn't need an assessment to see if lenses are suitable for me.



I can't find this caveat anywhere in the terms & conditions that accompany the details of free contact lens assessment / trial on the 'NEW OPTICIANS B' website. I must add that I made sure to check this before making my booking, to make sure I was eligible


What do you all reckon? Standard procedure? 'NEW OPTICIANS B' omitting crucial terms from the website, or the manager making up his own rules? :question:

Replies

  • InsideInsuranceInsideInsurance Forumite
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    Or miss interpreting their rules.

    Would be easier if you actually gave the name of the new place so others could read the T&Cs listed on the offer.
  • edited 11 March 2015 at 1:01PM
    jenniewbjenniewb Forumite
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    edited 11 March 2015 at 1:01PM
    I don't think your alone- I tried a "free" contact lense trial about 2 years ago. I was almost charged a full £50 charge not because I had an assesment, but because I had an astigmatism and this meant I required a different type of contact lenses apparently. I agree there was a lot more work involved than for lenses created for "normal" short or long sighted eyes but not being an optition I was not aware of this until it was explained to me.

    I didn't pay the extra at the end of the day, but this was due to my placing a formal complaint at the state of the optitians consultation room which was dusty, had peeling leatherette seating and various other hygiene issues. I was apologised to about this and then told as a good will guesture they wouldn't be charging me the £50 fee. I didn't read the terms and conditions to be fair, I had thought the optitians were of a trusted brand and one I had used for glasses previously.


    I agree I should have read the terms and conditions and small print and everything else, but I think it would be just plain sensible and of good customer service to pre-warn people if the price is more than what is clearly stated (eg no longer free) before things change.

    I think though that when it comes to an astigmatism I've experienced a "special" more expensive cost for just about every opticians I've seen, be it a local or a well known high street brand. I think I've tried all the major opticians and found this to be true with all of them. I can't be the only one with a strong astigmatism and find it unfair I am essentially inapplicable for most if not all offers due to having an astigmatism, something I didn't think was that rare.
  • edited 11 March 2015 at 4:58PM
    A_Phoenix_of_TangerineA_Phoenix_of_Tangerine Forumite
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    edited 11 March 2015 at 4:58PM
    ...Would be easier if you actually gave the name of the new place so others could read the T&Cs listed on the offer.

    As I have included a lot of information I'd prefer to be able to retain my anonymity by at least omitting the opticians names. Perhaps it's a wee bit overcautious, but it's not outside the realms of possibility that someone from the organisation reads these boards, and will be unappreciative of potentially bad publicity.
    It is one of the national high street opticians.
  • A_Phoenix_of_TangerineA_Phoenix_of_Tangerine Forumite
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    jenniewb wrote: »
    I don't think your alone- I tried a "free" contact lense trial about 2 years ago. I was almost charged a full £50 charge not because I had an assesment, but because I had an astigmatism and this meant I required a different type of contact lenses apparently. I agree there was a lot more work involved than for lenses created for "normal" short or long sighted eyes but not being an optition I was not aware of this until it was explained to me.


    I think though that when it comes to an astigmatism I've experienced a "special" more expensive cost for just about every opticians I've seen, be it a local or a well known high street brand. I think I've tried all the major opticians and found this to be true with all of them. I can't be the only one with a strong astigmatism and find it unfair I am essentially inapplicable for most if not all offers due to having an astigmatism, something I didn't think was that rare.

    You're right, astigmatism isn't rare. I'm sorry to hear that you've been regularly penalised for having this pretty common eye condition.

    As an astigmatic you already pay a significant (approximately 33%) premium for lenses. Once you've had an eye test / lens fitting, you obviously can't very well not pay for it, but to be charged a totally different fee to what is advertised without being pre-advised before treatment due to having this common 'condition'.. well, it seems a bit of an unethical business practice, IMO.

    My fee wasn't due to having an astigmatism, I must reiterate; but I still feel it was an equally unethical charge to add on, without prewarning me. As stated in the OP, I had read the t&c for the offer before signing up to it, and there was no stipulation to suggest I'd be charged this additional fee.
  • edited 16 March 2015 at 5:39PM
    A_Phoenix_of_TangerineA_Phoenix_of_Tangerine Forumite
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    edited 16 March 2015 at 5:39PM
    Well, a week later, in spite of their online customer services being less than useless and treating me with patronising contempt, I FINALLY HAVE MY REFUND FROM BOOTS OPTICIANS! :money:

    In the contact lens leaflet that was included in my trial pack, I found irrefutable printed evidence that I was eligible for a free lens trial, despite having already worn lenses. It states:

    'Even if you've worn lenses for a while, we can help. Contact lens technology is improving all the time and your Boots optometrist might be able to recommend new lenses with even better features... Talk to us, whether you use contact lenses already or want to try them for the first time, we can help with our free contact lens trial.'

    I took this into the branch where I'd been lied to by the manager, and they couldn't disagree that I had been unfairly charged (although the assistant did try to make a weak excuse for the manager). A full refund for the overcharge has finally been issued! :j

    As I've now disclosed, the opticians was BOOTS, and (at least in my branch) I'd recommend thoroughly avoiding them, especially considering that if you are unlucky enough to have any kind of problem, their online 'customer services' team seem unwillingly to actually help the customer and accept that their staff sometimes make mistakes!

    My local Boots opticians were incompetent in multiple ways. As well as overcharging me, they also:
    • Forgot to give me any lens solution or a storage case when I collected my trial lenses (I had to ask, after noticing they hadn't put it in the pack)
    • They couldn't find the lenses the optician had recommended on their system to give me an indication of what the monthly price might be
    • When I collected the trial lenses they didn't mention the need to book a follow up appointment to check the suitability of the trial lenses

    Total shambles. :eek:

    I guess it's true what they say:

    Shoulda gone to Specsavers. :o
  • nedmundonedmundo Forumite
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    Or just go somewhere that doesn't have to offer free incentives to gain new patients - you gets what you pay for and opticians are no different.
    Beware the character seeking personal gain masquerading as a moral crusader.
    :beer:
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