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Optical Express Ruined My Life - Discuss...


OE have £2000 deposit and I want it back! 04 Aug 2017 14:21 #21

  • Nova
  • Nova's Avatar
My mother is 71 years old and lives overseas but is currently here with me as we suspected she was getting cataracts due to diminished vision so came for tests.

For more than two weeks I have been making and receiving phone calls and emails from OE with regards to a consultation, with no issues about me acting on my mothers behalf. As I explained from the start, because the British accent is not always clear to my mother all communication has to be made via me. There were with no issues with this even during the consultation. And as I am the one funding this I too needed clarification on what the procedure entailed etc.

Last Friday, 28 July, we went to a consultation at OE Westfield store in White City and were told by the first person (lady 1) we saw that maybe surgery would not be possible, but IF mom was suitable, the cost would be up to £6300. This ploy worked, as I was so relieved after the tests and a meeting with another person (lady 2) that they said she had cataracts and was suitable for lens replacement surgery.

I kept being told that I would need to pay a (fully refundable) deposit to ensure an appointment can be made with the surgeon. Instead of the minimum £500 I paid £2000.

En route home, some of what we’d been told made my mother uncomfortable with the process. The surgeon's name was Dr Dimitri Kazakos, whose name sounded familiar to me (having researched about cataracts in the months prior), and the fact that after the deposit was paid the sales person (lady 1) said she could “re-arrange" his diary to facilitate an earlier surgery date (which was my preference) because his diary was full for the dates I preferred.

More in-depth research when I got home proved why Dr Kazakos’ name was so familiar, as he had several lawsuits pending (red flag).

And how was the sales person going to re-arrange his diary, was she going to cancel other patients? Funnily enough this person (even though it was her day off) rang me on Monday to say the surgery dates I wanted would not be possible as they were only 2 days after mom sees the surgeon and it needs to be 7 days.

On 31 July, I got a call asking for my mom, which is the norm since I've being dealing with OE and all contact details are mine, and my normal response was, "she's not available, but this is her daughter, how can I help you?”.

All of a sudden, this young missy made me know in no uncertain terms that she does not wish to speak to me but to "the patient". I said I have been speaking on behalf of the "the patient" for weeks with no hassle, so what's the issue. This didn't go well, at which point I informed her I would be cancelling and ended the conversation. I immediately rang their customer services who told me, "the patient" needs to either come in, write to them, or call them, and tell them they can speak to me. So I had mom ring them in the evening by which time customer services had closed.

1st August at 8:58, called again to speak with cancellation team, told they would be open in 2 minutes and to call back.
9:10, called back and told the cancellation team's line is busy, but someone will call me back in 24hrs. 10:00, called again and told the previous colleague has sent an email for the cancellation team to call me, as they need to check my mother's "details" and this could take up to 48hrs. To which I replied, this is misleading as I was told 24hrs a few minutes ago. I asked for an email for the cancellation team but was told they only have an internal email and no direct telephone number.

A very rude man named Lawrence [McLaughlin] from head office rang me a short while after regarding the call on Monday, to basically defend his colleague and tell me they are the best in the world (which I told him was debatable and indeed bias) to which he told me, "he knows what he's talking about", as if in an effort for me to change my mind that he and his rude attitude would frighten me into doing so. I abruptly told him, besides all he is saying, all I need is my money back, to which he stated that could take up to 28 days as that is the "standard UK practice". But he did not tell me my money would be refunded.

I know this is all garbage, because the longer they keep my money, the more interest they make.

I also need this money back, to take mom elsewhere, and the longer they hold on to it the more delayed her treatment becomes.

Can you help me please?

Sorry for the length of this message, but I am at my wits end (already) and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Warm Regards
admin: I recommend that you issue a Money Claim online. Email your phone number if you need more details
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. :kiss:

Decided Against Surgery! 28 Jul 2017 19:03 #22

  • Blofeld
  • Blofeld's Avatar
I went in for a consultation yesterday at one of their Edinburgh stores. While the staff were perfectly fine and answered my questions I have decided not to go ahead with the LASIK. I already paid a deposit yesterday, perhaps stupidly, but after thinking it over I don't want to commit to the cost of the surgery.

Having spoken to my friends in Korea and Slovakia, they have had the exact same surgery and the cost was not even a third of the price that OE want to charge. I don't understand why other developed countries which high standards of healthcare can charge so little and OE charge so much for the exact same procedure, so I will look into treatment abroad. I did mention this to the staff and they said something along the lines of the treatment not being as good, not as professional etc, to which I said...well my friends do live there and with all due respect they didn't feel the need to come to the UK to get more professional or better treatment, which was met with silence.

I have a back up plan if they get difficult. Anyway, if I have any issues I'll be sure to report them.
admin: I can't criticise you re your concern for cost, because like many others I too wanted the lowest price I could find - and fell for the Optimax carrot in 2011, advertising '£395 per eye'. However, more than 6 years later, refractive eye surgery and this industry are now my area of expertise, and I warn you that financial cost should be the LAST of your considerations!

No matter which country, and regardless of cost, refractive eye surgery procedures/risks/post op problems are identical worldwide! And while your friends might have experienced successful results, be assured that there are plenty more who didn't!

But, like tens of thousands of damaged patents worldwide, you will no doubt accept the lies you'll be told before handing over your money.

If in doubt, ask the clinic to give you a written guarantee - they won't! Or ask them to give you a written statement that they have never damaged patients and had no complaints - they won't!

Many thousands of damaged patients in the UK and Ireland are struggling with legal claims, and aftercare refused by the operating clinics. More and more are turning to the NHS for help - and advised to do so by the clinics responsible! This is wrong, because why should the NHS pay to pick up the pieces? But, unless you have unlimited funds (literally unlimited), there is no alternative, and this is a major issue for the government to stop turning a blind eye to and address as a matter of urgency! (One of the issues I discussed with John McDonnell at our recent meeting.)

What will you do if there are post op complications, not always immediately apparent, fly back to Korea or Slovakia for more treatment... sue them? As I said, difficult enough in the UK - and it's not just high street clinics at fault, most of the ophthalmic surgeons I know have damaged patients!

If it were only possible, I would pay any amount to restore my pre laser healthy eyes and regain the crisp vision I enjoyed with glasses. But unfortunately, burned away corneal tissue does not regenerate, and once the damage is done that's it!

PLEASE, spend plenty of time researching more about this dangerous and unregulated surgery, and think very carefully before risking becoming a member of my non exclusive club!

If wishes were fishes, this forum would be unnecessary, and I'd be enjoying a book.

The most valuable advice you will probably ever receive, don't take the risk

Refund Returned Successfully 22 Jul 2017 22:31 #23

  • Andy R
  • Andy R's Avatar
Hi all,

Here's my story regarding the deposit, which has now been successfully refunded to my account.

I went to visit the Birmingham store for a consultation on the 8th July. It was what appears to be a very common story, a quick eye check, some drops in the eye and then a meeting with the sales consultant. This was the part where I started to really question things, as the experience was more akin to buying a used car rather than arranging a surgical operation. The price I was originally quoted was £4,400 for iDesign laser, which mysteriously dropped to £3,700 as some sort of "on the day discount". I questioned why there was a discount today and whether it would be available in the future, to be told it was highly unlikely and this was something they do "very occasionally". Reading the above back it is frustrating to think I was fooled by such nonsense, but fooled I was and I paid my £400 deposit, albeit suspiciously. At no point whatsoever did I meet with or speak to a surgeon.

Following the consultation, I immediately when home and began researching OE and the procedure. After some time I found this website and made the decision to cancel my operation, which I duly did via phone call on the 10th July. I then had a phone call from Lawrence in the retention team, which although pleasant in tone, firmed beyond all doubt that cancelling was the right decision.

During the call, I mentioned to Lawrence that I felt the discount process was questionable practice for a health procedure, to be told that I had been given a discount as I was under 30 and the hope was I would spread positive feedback amongst my peers. Needless to say, I am giving feedback to all I know regarding my experience, none of which is positive.

I discussed with Lawrence my experiences to date of dealing with a clinic in Prague that had been nothing but professional and offered substantially cheaper prices compared to OE. Sensing the danger, the script regarding the aforementioned clinic was launched. I was clearly not the first person to have raised this. One of the responses given by Lawrence was that the surgeons in Prague would not complete as many operations as the surgeons within OE do on a monthly basis. I later asked for evidence of this statement, and of course received none.

Lawrence also went on a spiel regarding the overseas equipment being outdated. I noted this, and later asked the overseas clinic what laser they use. I then compared this with Lawrence's answer (who at first did not know what laser OE used, but yet claimed to know the overseas equipment of choice?) to find out both lasers are in fact very similar.

I also asked Lawrence, considering a potential conflict of interests, whether the remuneration of the surgeon I would potentially speak to was linked to the amount of operations he would do in a year? I did not receive a response to this question, and I suspect there very much would have been a conflict of interests.

In terms of my deposit being returned, it is best explained via this series of emails:

Lawrence, 15th July:

"Dear Mr R,
Thank you for your email and further consideration.
The customer service team will call within 28 working days of the 10th July to process your full refund.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can helps further in any way.
Best Regards
Lawrence Mclaughlin

Note that Lawrence's email doesn't say my deposit will be refunded within 28 days, only that someone would call me within that time period. My response on the 18th July, following very helpful advice from Sasha:

Dear Lawrence & Lynsey,

I write further to my request to cancel my services with you on the 10th July. 

I understand that you have no legal basis to retain my deposit for 28 working days.  Therefore I would be grateful if my deposit can be returned as soon as possible.

In the event I do not receive confirmation of the above by 4pm today I will be submitting a claim via the Small Claims Court, claiming both the court fee and the 8% allowable interest.

Kind regards,


I received the following a few hours later:

Thank you for your e-mail.
I can confirm your treatment has been cancelled and your refund is in process.
We have escalated this with our accounts department and they will be in contact within the next ten working days to process your refund accordingly.
Thank you for your patience with this matter.
Kind regards 
Lynsey Shaw
Head of Customer Care I Customer Care Department

My response:

Dear Lynsey,

I am afraid that is unsatisfactory.  Your company saw fit to take my deposit instantly following high pressure sales tactics, and this is now the 6th working day since notification of my cancellation.

Working in finance I am aware how straightforward it is to refund a deposit, and I am aware of why you will attempt to hold it for as long as possible, in order to benefit from the interest.

Should I not have a call before 4pm today from your accounts department confirming a refund has been processed, a small claims action will be filed prior to 5pm, and a compliant filed with Trading Standards.

Kind regards,


Owing to work, I did not actually have time to file the court action. The compliant to Trading Standards will be done after this post. I received the below on the 19th:

Dear Andy,
I can confirm that your refund has now been processed. This was done using the card details you originally made the payment with in store. The funds will leave us immediately and show in your account within 3-5 working days depending on the card provider.
If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Kind regards,
Linsay McNab
Refund Administrator I Customer Services Department

And today the £400 was refunded to my CC.

The conclusion to me is that they seem to be well aware they are in the wrong in taking your deposit and attempting to hold it for so long. Being firm with them and not accepting their nonsense worked for me, I hope it does for others.

Thanks also to Sasha for both her time and for her advice in terms of dealing with OE. Lots of luck to everyone chasing a deposit, potentially legal action is the way to go.

Refund problems 18 Jul 2017 20:09 #24

  • Julian I
  • Julian I's Avatar

I’m looking for advice regarding the possibility of getting my refund returned.

My partner (46) and myself (47) attended a free consultation with optical express in Cardiff about four weeks ago. The optometrist informed both of us that we had the development of cataracts in one eye and would recommend replacement lens exchange. We were asked to read and sign documentation on agreement to proceeding with treatment. To be honest I could not read the document due to the eye drops I'd been given but foolishly signed anyway as were told the treatment would provide 20/20 vision with no need to ever need glasses in our later years.

On leaving optical express we were asked to pay £500 deposit each, which we agreed to do for this life changing treatment. After extensive research it transpires there are a number of risks and complications associated with this procedure, none of which where discussed at the time of our consultation. I have also spoken with a number of people (3 who were also informed they had cataracts) most of who have experienced some sort of complications. For example, needing corrective laser surgery, dry eyes, runny eyes, struggling to drive in the dark.

We had an appointment with the surgeon this Saturday but have decided to cancel due to the risks far outweighing the benefits. (When we cancelled we were told the surgeon was Alex George but the information we were given was about Dr Amir Mani.)

We are also going to an optician to check for cataracts.

Do we stand any change of our £1000 deposit being returned? If so can you please advise the best course of action.

Kind Regards

admin: Although it is of course possible, you are very young to show signs of developing cataracts. However, if you discover this was another of OE's sales pressure tactics, then you MUST complain to the GOC! The optoms and 'counsellors' work hand in hand for sales commissions.
Btw, Alex George is being sued by many of his damaged patients, and he allegedly operated on some without indemnity insurance.
Pls send your phone number and I will call you :kiss:
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Refund problems update 17 Jul 2017 20:34 #25

  • Tracy Churms
  • Tracy Churms's Avatar
Finally received my full refund today, after I chased and chased them again!!
I'm so glad I didn't go ahead with the surgery after all of the horror stories that I've read.
A massive thanks to this forum as it really helped me to get my money back and thank you to Sasha for contacting me, I wish you all of the best of luck with your campaign...

Refund problems 13 Jul 2017 12:49 #26

  • Tracy Churms
  • Tracy Churms's Avatar
From: Tracy Churms
Sent: 12 July 2017 18:39
To: Customer Services
Cc: Lynsey Shaw
Subject: Refund

I would like to make a complaint about your refund policy.

In a nutshell i attended Optical Express in Meadowhall, Sheffield for a consultation on 21/05/17.

I was told I only needed one eye treating with surgery and it would cost £1,695.00 and that the results would last for between 10 to 15 years. I told them that a friend of mine had had the surgery and they said because I had a friend that had it done I was entitled to a £500.00 discount. I was very pleased and booked the surgery there and then to be done on 9th June 2017. I asked if I needed to pay a deposit but they said because I had booked the surgery at such a close date that I had to pay in full. So I paid £1195.00 on that day via my debit card.

The day after I received a call saying they had made a mistake and that the £500.00 discount was if you had BOTH eyes treated but as a goodwill gesture they would give me a 10% discount. I contacted citizens advice to be told that optical express had breached their own contract as the contract states that the price quoted at consultation is the price that would be charged. I took a couple of days to think about it but really wanted the surgery doing so I told them I would go ahead and had to pay an additional £330.00. So in total I have paid £1,525.00.

The surgeon rang me for a phone consultation on 30th May - Mohammad Kamzi. He told me that among other things I was at a higher risk of dry eyes (which I wasn't too bothered about) and that the results would last from 1 to 10 years. I questioned why I was originally told 10 to 15 years and he said it definitely would not last 10 years and that I would be very lucky if I got 10 years out of it. I said I was considering cancelling the surgery if he couldn't guarantee me a longer period as, if it was worst case scenario then I might only get 1 year and didn't think it was worth the money, he said I would get a full refund if I cancelled.

On 2nd June I decided to cancel and rang to cancel and was told that I would get a call from Cancellation Team. They rang me on 5th June, a guy called Scott, (0141 248 8234) he said customer services would call me to arrange my FULL refund and it could take up to 28 WORKING days but it is usually quicker than that.

I had heard nothing by 6th July so I rang the 0141 number, spoke to Daniella, she said 28 working days would be up by Wed 12th July (today). She said they were busy so it would not be any quicker and would be 12th July when I got my refund.

12th July (today) I rang again as I've still not had a phone call. Spoke to Amanda. She said the team were really busy and she couldn't get through. She would send them a message and they would respond within 48 hours????. I told her to make it urgent as I have waited the 28 working days now and want my money back.

Its disgraceful that you have held onto my money all this time. I want to make a complaint and I want my money back in my bank.

I will be contacting citizens advice in the morning, I have already opened a file on optical express with them and I will be issuing a claim through the courts for the full amount back plus interest plus Court costs if I do not get the full amount by close of business tomorrow.

Reply from Lynsey Shaw today:

My reply:

I can certainly say that I'm glad I didn't go ahead with the surgery if this is the level of customer service I have received regarding the refund!

Decided Against Surgery! 13 Jul 2017 07:57 #27

  • Sharon
  • Sharon's Avatar
Sharon wrote:
Just phoned to cancel today after being told on the phone "you can cancel at any time and receive a full refund" to be told that there's only a 7 day cooling off period. Waiting for cancellations to ring me back. Anything I should be doing in the meantime please?
admin: Yes - email me with your phone number This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. :kiss:

I contacted Lynsey Shaw via email. She apologised for any inconvenience and said I would be refunded within 28 days. She then emailed me two days later to say the refund had been processed and the deposit was returned to my account about 3 days later. Would have preferred not to have had the stress after the initial cancellation phone call but can't fault her customer service.
Thanks to OERML thread for the advice.

Decided Against Surgery! 10 Jul 2017 21:50 #28

  • anthony
  • anthony's Avatar
I had my first appointment on 24th May in Swansea to see if I was suitable for laser eye surgery. I was told I was unsuitable because I have a small cataract in each eye but I could have phakic IOL instead. I had to make an appointment to go Cardiff for more scans to check if there was room in my eyes to implant lenses but to secure the appointment I was told I had to pay a £500 deposit to cover the scan in Cardiff and an appointment in Bristol to see the surgeon.

The Cardiff scan was on 14th June and I was told there is room for the lenses but no mention of cataracts.

I was given an appointment to see the surgeon Alex George in Bristol on 7th July and surgery booked on the 1st and 2nd August

On the 7th July the surgeon Alex Gorge told me I had cataracts and just putting lenses in wouldn't be any good but I could have lens replacement surgery.

So after researching online and finding OERML and reading all the reviews I cancelled. I have now been told someone from customer service will call me after 28 days to arrange payment back on my card.

I have had eye tests every 2yrs and had one a few months ago and have never been told I have cataracts. I am going back to the optician again to check if I do have cataracts, but if not I will report this to the GOC.
admin: Pls send your phone number :kiss:
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£500 deposit 09 Jul 2017 19:36 #29

  • Abigail
  • Abigail's Avatar
I've just re-read what you wrote regarding making an online money claim... they said it will take 28 days for the refund. Should I make a claim?
admin: Yes - they should not have taken your money before you saw the surgeon and you should not have to wait 28 days for it to be refunded. You are entilted to claim interest on your payment.
I also advise that you make a complaint to the GOC asap.
Email me for more details

£500 deposit 07 Jul 2017 19:05 #30

  • Abigail
  • Abigail's Avatar
Well, after eventually getting to speak to them (after 3 missed calls and me ringing them back 4 times), I spoke to Fiona McPhail and she has cancelled my appointment and will refund the deposit within 28 working days of 3rd July!

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