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In January 2012 I launched My Beautiful Eyes Campaign, calling for the UK government to regulate the refractive eye surgery industry.

This resulted in a surprisingly high number of people asking for my advice, and so I set up MBE patient advocacy service...
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Optical Express Ruined My Life - Discuss...

TOPIC: DEPOSIT REFUND

Money Claim Online (MCOL) 27 Mar 2018 19:53 #1

  • Matt A
  • Matt A's Avatar
Sasha helped me to get my £500 deposit back after Optical Express failed to inform me about the 'cooling off' period and failed to reply to my email when I asked for a refund.

Sasha supported me in submitting an MCOL. The day after the MCOL was issued, I had a call and email from OE asking to talk about my booking and answer any questions regarding money or surgery.

After I didn't respond, following Sasha's advice, I eventually received an email telling me that the refund had been processed.

Shortly afterwards, my deposit plus the £35 court fee was refunded to my account.

Decided Against Surgery! 22 Mar 2018 17:59 #2

  • Cristina
  • Cristina's Avatar
Hi guys,

I'll keep it short. I cancelled my surgery and I am struggling to get my deposit back.

It's not only frustrating, but massively disrespectful. The whole process brought me to tears, as I am feeling that this company is having a laugh at me.

The 28 WORKING days expired and all I am being told is that this will be processed tomorrow and it never happens! I want to complain or sue them. Any advice?

Below their unbelievable emails!

Earlier I wrote them again saying: Still nothing and it's soon close of business!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Answer: out of the office

This morning:
"Good Morning

Thank you for your email.

I apologise profusely that your refund was not processed yesterday, I have spoken with our refund team this morning who have confirmed that your refund will be processed by close of business.

I understand how frustrated you must be and I apologise sincerely for any upset this has caused.

You will receive an email from our refund team by close of business today to confirm your refund has been processed.

Kind regards,

Debbie Hamilton
Customer Services Associate I Customer Care Department
Tel: 01236 795010 Ext. 5558
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "

Original Message

From: Cristina
Sent: 20 March 2018 08:25
To: Debbie Hamilton
Subject: Re: Urgent C

Good Morning Debbie,

I have been patiently waiting for my money back, but today is the 20th March, i.e. 40 days since I paid the deposit.

Your company is having a laugh at me and I find it massively disrespectful and deceiving. Are you waiting till the last minute of tomorrow's to make my refund???

Optical express should be ashamed, this is not the way to treat your customers!!

I want my money back!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe I need to go though this to get what rightfully is mine!!!

Best regards
Cristina

On 20 Mar 2018, at 09:53, Debbie Hamilton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote:

Good Morning Cristina

Thank you for your email regarding your refund.

On contacting our refund team they have advised that your refund will be processed by close of business tomorrow. A member of our refund team will be in touch with you tomorrow to confirm when it has been processed.

I understand your frustrations and apologise profusely for any upset or inconvenience this may be causing.

Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

Debbie Hamilton
Customer Services Associate I Customer Care Department

Tel: 01236 795010 Ext. 5558
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Original Message
From: Cristina
Sent: 21 March 2018 18:49
To: Debbie Hamilton
Subject: Re: Urgent C

Hi Debbie,

This is outrageous. Still don't have my money back.

As today is the deadline for the payment, this means you would be in breach of contract if I don't get my money back today.

I will seek legal advice tomorrow morning first thing and complain to the relevant authorities.

This company put me through a terrible distress and I find this behaviour hugely disrespectful. Your company should be ashamed!

Best regards
Cristina

Laser Eye Surgery 17 Mar 2018 14:21 #3

  • Lolita Lapuha
  • Lolita Lapuha's Avatar
Laser eye surgery has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember as I`ve been wearing my glasses since I was 9 and the idea of waking up in the morning and being able to see straight away without help of glasses or contact lenses sounded amazing.
So I was over the moon when my girlfriend messaged me while I was at work telling me that she`s been looking into Laser Eye surgery and had booked me in for a consultation @ Leeds Whiterose Centre branch of Optical Express. I was excited but scared and nervous at the same time. And the price was great too. Starting from £595 per eye, how could I ever go wrong with that?
My appointment was on Saturday 24 February 2018 @ 3:50pm. We turned up 10 minutes early to be told that we need to wander around for a bit and will get seen at the time I was booked in for. We came back at the right time and were told to take a seat. The staff had a really bad attitude and I hadn`t been made to feel as unwelcomed for a very long time. Half an hour later a timid shy guy was sent over by his colleague, who kept looking in our direction, sniggering and making comments to another member of staff, to tell me that there will be half an hour wait! After the half an hour that we had already waited for.
After long delays I was seen @ 4:50pm by a consultant called Mark, who seemed like a very nice guy. We told him how we were made to feel by his colleagues and he told us not to worry about them, as he`s dealing with us now. He examined my eyes and told me everything looked fine and I would be ok to qualify for a Laser Eye Surgery.He even assured me in regards to my astigmatism and dryness of my eyes.
Then it was my turn to be seen by an optometrist who did further tests on my eyes, applied dilating drops and prodded my eyes with something that looked like a miniature microphone. While still in his office, I was made to watch a video in re to Laser Eye Surgery and read and agree to some terms in the smallest writing ever below the video. Clever tactic really to make you read and agree to things while you can`t see anything. He then confirmed that I`m good to go ahead with surgery but it would ultimately come down to the surgeon, as he gets the last say whether HE thinks I`m fit for the surgery.
Now it felt real, this is happening, I will finally get my eyes fixed! I`ve been waiting for this for so long, I just needed a little encouragement to go ahead with it.
It was time to speak to Mark again in regards to prices and dates. The price he told me was £3890!!! I nearly fell off the chair. How could this be when it`s advertised as "starting from £595 per eye"? I told him that I would have to leave it as I couldn`t afford that! I have to give him his due - he`s an amazing sales person and knows exactly what to do/say to win his customers over. He then said that he will have a word with his Regional Manager and see if he can get the price reduced. 5 phone calls later the price was dropping from £3890 to £3395 , then £2995, then £2895, then £2845 followed by the final price of £2723, which still was steep, but worth every penny if it meant I would get perfect eyes. He said that I could be booked in as early as 1 March if I paid £500 deposit there and then.
I told him that the price is still a lot more than what I was willing to pay and I would have to go away and think about it. He then advised that this price is only valid if the deal is done on the day. I told him I can`t make a decision there and then, so he told me not to worry about it, as he would be able to honour the price if I came back another day with my deposit. But how could I agree to anything if I didn`t even know, if I could afford it? So we looked into finance options and to my surprise I passed the checks and was able to apply for the finance if I wanted to. Still, this was a lot of money and I had to think about it, so we thanked Mark, told him we will be back soon and left the store.
Walking through the shopping mall, talking to my girlfriend about this, we came to an agreement that I should go ahead with it. I have nothing to lose and she'd help me with payments if I ever get stuck. Oh My God!!! This is happening!!! We are going back to the store to sign me up for the Laser Eye Surgery! The surgery that I have always wanted. Is this a dream?
There I was, back in the store to select the date for my surgery and pay my £500 deposit.
I Now it was time to select the date. Mark advised that 1 March is available an that he will book me in with Dr Erik De Koning, who is an amazing surgeon and who would call me on 27 February to discuss my surgery. It did seem weird, that a surgeon would call me instead of seeing me in person, but I thought these people do this on daily basis, so they know what they`re doing.. I know.. Silly me.. I told Mark that I would have to check with my boss, as it was a very short notice and I wasn`t too sure that such an early date would be suitable. He assured me that that wouldn`t be a problem at all and I can call back to change the date, if my boss wouldn`t give me time off.
Sure enough, after speaking to my boss on Monday 26 February, I had to call back to change the date as the notice was far too short for my boss.. I was devastated, as I had already been preparing myself mentally for this surgery and now I had to postpone it and go through the emotional roller coaster all over again at a later date. But it`s ok, as Mark assured me that I can change the date, so I made a call. Mark was very understanding and helped me to rearrange my surgery for 29 March, without it affecting my deposit or finance. This time it was with Dr Waseem Aziz, who Mark told me was even more experienced than Dr Erik De Koning.
I`ve worked myself up for no reason, everything is fine, I`m still having my surgery, just a bit later on and my boss is happy with the date. Win win situation.
The next day 27 February Mark called me back to advise that he`s been told by someone in a higher position than himself that they wouldn`t be able to honour the same price and the discount would reduce from 30% to 20% increasing the price from £2723 to £3090. A £367 increase just for changing the date? That can`t be right. I was going ahead with surgery based on the price and at the time was assured that this would be honoured even if I changed the date. I had three options - either go ahead with the original date for the original price, change the date and pay the increase in price, or cancel. No, this is not happening. Trust this to happen to me..
So I called the store to speak to the manager, to tell them that I wasn`t happy with the service I`ve received and to see if there was any way around. I was told I would get a call back from the manager, Ryan.
Alarm bells were ringing. Something doesn`t seem right, so in the meantime we were researching the deposit policy for Optical Express just in case I couldn`t go ahead with the newly arranged surgery for the same price - and the things we found. WOW!!! There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to cancel my surgery and wanted to have nothing to do with this company! EVER!!!
I read that if I go ahead with this I will either be told by a surgeon that I`m not fit to have the surgery or if I do have the surgery I will more than likely be left with damaged eyes.
Ryan never called, however I got a call from his "colleague" Nyree Pickering who told me Ryan was busy (her name is on my deposit receipt as a manager). I told her I wanted to cancel and she told me that I need to do it verbally, as there is no e-mail address that I could send my cancellation to. She said she would pass the message on to Mark or Ryan who then would have to apply for a cancellation on my behalf on their system.
This wasn`t good enough for me, so I found an email address for customer services online and emailed my cancellation through. I also sent a cancellation letter to Head Office. I have attempted to cancel three different ways, so surely this should be sufficient now.
I didn`t know what else to do. So I went on the newly found website OERML and was shocked by the stories I read. It wan`t just me who had been screwed over. This is a very normal practice for Optical Express and they do it to EVERYBODY!!!! I felt loads better when I knew that something can be done about this, so I contacted OERML and got a call from Sasha later on that day, who told me that everything will be alright. I had hope.
After coming home that day I had received a letter from OE confirming the date of my surgery. My surgery was with Dr Erik De Koning even though I changed it to Dr Waseem Aziz and my surgery date was 14 April!! I don`t know where this date came from as it was originally booked for 1 March and I changed it to 29 March. The best part though was that my surgery was confirmed in NEWCASTLE. On both dates I was advised that the surgery would take place in LEEDS.
I received a call from Cancellation Department on 5 March and another call from Refunds Department on 7 March. I ignored both of them, as I was advised by Sasha to keep all communication in writing.
On 13 March I checked my bank and sure enough £535 had been deposited into my account the day before. It is over and I never have to have anything to do with this company ever again.
So I wanted to say a huge, massive, gigantic THANK YOU to Sasha. She`s been absolutely amazing through this and has helped me every step of the way and thanks to Sasha I got my money back.
I know I am extremely lucky for getting out of this in time and not going through with my surgery. Things could`ve been a lot worse and for many people they are, that`s why I`ll forever be grateful for the way that things worked out. I`m a very strong believer of everything happening for a reason.
Once again Sasha, thank you so so so much.. I could never express as to how very grateful I am. xxx

So here`s my story guys, I am sharing it to raise awareness of how terrible this company is. Thankfully I got my money back and I wouldn`t want anyone else to lose their money or even worse - eyesight. Please do your research before making such a massive decision, because I know for a fact that I will be researching like an FBI agent if I decide that I`m finally ready to go ahead with my Laser Eye surgery..

Decided Against Surgery! 09 Mar 2018 21:09 #4

  • Rebecca Ainley
  • Rebecca Ainley's Avatar
I'm in living hell with optical express right now! My refund was initiated 24th January! I can't get anyone to talk to me! I've rang and rang... I've now emailed the citizens advice bureau as literally do the know what else to do to get my £500 deposit back! They've breeched the 28 day timescale MASSIVELY! Any advice is appreciated x
________________________
admin: No, living hell is what you could have ended up in had you not cancelled surgery!
Send email for advice :kiss:
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Decided Against Surgery! 26 Feb 2018 11:45 #5

  • Brian Feehily
  • Brian Feehily's Avatar
Anyone know how I can get hold of Stewart Mein the finance director as its bee over 5 weeks and they still have not given me a refund.

Thanks Brian.
__________________
admin: As previously posted, if you would like my help, send your phone number and I will call you...
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Decided Against Surgery! 21 Feb 2018 16:25 #6

  • Brian
  • Brian's Avatar
I have had the same issue and they still owe me £3995. You can not reason with these people and to be honest they need a hefty fine for what they are doing to people. I wish there was something I could do to stop them from doing this as I pad for my treatment before I saw the surgeon on the 12th December and am still waiting.

This company should be closed down.
_____________________
admin: As written below, if you need help, pls send your phone number :kiss:
It's also worth complaining to the GOC about the optom - read my General Chat posts on 4/10/12/14 Feb!
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Refund question 19 Feb 2018 13:38 #7

  • Alan
  • Alan's Avatar
This is a really great forum, and a big thank you to the Admin person who has shared the invaluable insight.
I cancelled my laser eye surgery the next day after my initial consultation, having paid £500 deposit.
I have now waited the 28 working days and had no contact from Optical Express for my refund. What is my next step, or how do I get my money back.
_______________
admin: If you return an item to Tesco customer services with the receipt your payment is immediately refunded. And in this case you have purchased nothing, and probably don’t have a receipt either, so Optical Express are illegally holding your money and you shouldn't have to wait 28 (working) days, it should be refunded immediately.

This corrupt company earns interest on your money and hang on to it for as long as they can, because times are hard for them - with a little help from OERML it must be said!

And no payment should have been taken before seeing the surgeon, this goes against the RCOphth guidelines, but Optical Express ignore these and have written their own!
Email your phone number and I will call you :kiss:
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£3495 refunded at last! 14 Feb 2018 15:18 #8

  • Uloma
  • Uloma's Avatar
The powers that be finally refunded my money on the 9th of February 2018. No extras for the delays. At least I can continue with my mums treatment. Cash was holding it up. I wish you all luck. Thank you Sasha for calling me and encouraging me.

Deposit not refunded after 28 days 12 Feb 2018 17:43 #9

  • Becky Crevald
  • Becky Crevald's Avatar
I arrived for my surgery and the Consultant did not want to proceed.

I waited for the 28 days for my deposit refund which was due on the 7th Feb. I called on the 9th of Feb as no refund was received I was told it had been processed but they would check with the refund team and they would call me back - received NO call back.
So I called again today and was told there is an administration back log I asked what does that mean??? it seems a load of lies and they just want to hold on to your money with no actual commitment to when you will be paid - they said between 7 and 10 days but that is NOT good enough. I will be looking to pursue my claim under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 if I am not refunded my deposit within 48 hours.
I would urge others to review their rights under this act.!
_______________
admin: Contact me if need be for a much simpler option :kiss:
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How long does it take Tesco customer services to refund your payment if you return an item?!

There is no 'administration backlog', they earn interest on your money and hang on to it for as long as they can get away with it.

And payment should not have been taken before seeing the surgeon, so you shouldn't have to wait 28 (working) days!

Optical Express owes me £3495 - Don't be like me. 07 Feb 2018 11:30 #10

  • Uloma
  • Uloma's Avatar
Latest, they wrote me an email yesterday saying they will pay and bla bla blah. No call. No apologies just as I expected. The final email yesterday said they had paid and that it will reflect 3 to 5 days. In the mean time my credit card remains in debit. This money I repeat was paid 16th of December! what about interest?!

All the complaints on twitter is mostly about Refunds, you would think they would take it seriously but they don't care. With 80% of people on trip advisor praising them, it makes nonsense of the other people who are treated really badly.

Normally I am not into complaining and throwing a tantrum online but I now know how aggrieved people feel. I now understand that people can be pushed to the wall.

I will continue to update you on how things go. Hopefully we can leave enough footprint online to ensure no-one else goes through this. A couple of people have contacted me so people are reading.
__________________
admin: Uloma first posted as 'Deposit Refund' - see below :kiss: