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Optical Express Ruined My Life - Discuss...

TOPIC: DEPOSIT REFUND

Not suitable for surgery, but witholding my money! 18 Jun 2017 14:56 #41

  • Elisabeth
  • Elisabeth's Avatar
I had an appointment in mid-April at the Norwich branch to find out if I was suitable for laser treatment (I had had radiotherapy on my left eye in 2006). After a long wait I saw the optometrist who examined me, did various tests and said No to laser, but I was suitable for lens replacement.

I was told it wasn't done in Norwich, so London (Westfield) was their nearest clinic where it could be carried out. I paid the deposit (£500), but there was great pressure to pay the balance - a further £6090 as they were able to get me an appointment with the surgeon within the next 2 weeks. I am not able to take out finance, so I paid £3500 on 2 credit cards and the rest on my debit card.

On the 5th of May, after a 4 hour wait, I saw the surgeon, who after a 5 minute exam told me that I was certainly NOT suitable as my retina is badly scarred from the radiotherapy, and is also very thin due to extreme short-sightedness. He could not recommend the treatment and assured me I would receive a full refund, since it was a medical decision not to proceed.

All I can say is, I am now VERY grateful he deemed me unsuitable for treatment after reading some of the stories on here!

I went into the Norwich shop the following day to organise my refund and was told it was already initiated by the surgeon and it would be 28 working days - June 14th. I rang the so-called customer services on around 5th of June and asked why it was taking so long. It took only minutes to remove the money from my accounts, it should take the same amount of time to return it. I was told it was due to financial regulations relating to money laundering! I said this was ridiculous - the money was going back into the accounts it came out of. After a lot of what was frankly nonsense from her, she said I had signed the financial agreement stating it would take 28 working days, but she would contact the finance department to escalate it, and get back to me. She didn't.

I phoned again in the afternoon of the 14th asking where was my money - she would find out and ring me back. No phone call, but an email stating she was very sorry but there had been a mixup in the finance department and it would be another 8 - 10 days. I told her I was not satisfied, if it isn't repaid - I will be taking it further.

I am not hopeful I'll get it back any time soon. Any suggestions, please.
____________________
admin: Refunds to debit/credit cards can be made immediately, and I guarantee there was no mix up - read my 15 June post below!
If you send your number I will call you
:kiss:
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Decided Against Surgery! 16 Jun 2017 17:26 #42

  • Mark P
  • Mark P's Avatar
So went along to Edinburgh to see about laser surgery, was thinking it would be around the 4k mark, after waiting a while i had all the "tests" and was told laser surgery was no good for me as one eye was distance and one eye was near sighted, they then suggested lens replacement surgery and the cost went up to £8,500 (with finance).
As i had not read up on lens replacement i said i would need to research it further, optician said not to worry as he had a video and paperwork explaining everything, they were very convincing and i was then more or less directed into a room with what can only be called someone who was a used car salesman in a previous life, i was told i needed to pay my £500 now as it may go up in the next few week, i also needed to pay this to confirm my surgeon appointment in Glasgow but it was explained to me that i could cancel at any point in the next 7 days and my deposit would be returned in full.

After talking to my wife and also re-looking at the financial implications i decided to cancel that night and called them first thing next morning to cancel, i spent all day trying to get through to someone at cancellations as they were always "too busy and lines were engaged".

A few days later i got through to them again and very sternly told them i wanted someone to phone me today or i was taking it further, no one did, so i called back next day and was furious, eventually someone called me back that day and tried to convince me that if i cancelled then the price would go up substantially if i ever went back to get the surgery, i again told them i was not interested and wanted my money back, i was then told someone would contact within 28 working days to take my card details, absolutely ridiculous in this day and age and for no other reason but to recoup interest on other peoples money.

I am now 3 weeks down the line from that last conversation and found this website, i have emailed the two individuals named on this website (lyndsey shaw and hugh kerr) and hope this helps as £500 is a lot of money. i'll keep you all updated if i get any further but any other help would be very much appreciated.
__________________
admin: Wow - £8,500 is a record high for OE!
Pls send your number and I will call you
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Reply to Kelly... 15 Jun 2017 14:00 #43

This is a stand alone post as it provides information for anyone chasing Optical Express for a refund.

If you haven't had confirmation in writing that your deposit IS being refunded, then I advise you to email Lynsey Shaw, OE Customer Care manager (an oxymoron if ever I heard one!), and ask for clarification: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

However, this payment should not have been taken before you met with the surgeon, so if you send your phone number I will also provide details of organisations and forums you should contact/post on concerning this issue.

And, as Lynsey Shaw is a very close friend of OE's Operations/Performance director Hugh Kerr, you should ask him why they cannot refund your money at the same speed they took it, because even Tesco immediately refund back to your card when you return a purchase!
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You've had a lucky escape btw, because Luca Antico is currently in litigation with a number of his damaged patients - as of course are the majority of OE's surgeons, bar newcomers (yet!).

Whatever nonsensical excuse Hugh Kerr might give you, the truth is that OE withhold refunds of deposits for a minimum of 28 working days to earn interest.

Kelly, you are one of countless numbers asking for a refund - especially after finding OERML - therefore the accruing interest on deposits for so many cancellations is significantl. And quite often customers are persuaded to pay the entire amount in advance of meeting with the surgeon.

Whether true or not (probable as they had more customers then than they do now), a few years ago an OE insider told me that at one time the company had £6 million in deposits sitting in a bank a/c waiting to be refunded! And even more recently, customers who don't find OERML often give up so OE get to keep their money.

If you scroll through this thread I remember one person contacted me who was still waiting after more than six months for their refund!! With my help they did get it back.

And I have yet to hear from anyone who was given a consultation appt with the surgeon within 7 days of paying their deposit. This is a ploy to back up their T&Cs that deposits are only refundable if cancellation is made within 7 days.

NB: I have been assured by a contract specialist that OE's T&Cs would not stand up in court!

To anyone wanting further advice, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. :kiss:

Still waiting for refund 15 Jun 2017 12:51 #44

  • Kelly Williams
  • Kelly Williams's Avatar
Just to share my experience after paying a £395 deposit (which I paid on 24th May and was told was fully refundable) I was booked in with Luca Antico for a consultation in the Cardiff clinic on 5th June and treatment in Bristol on Monday 12th June. 

I was told I had to pay the deposit to secure my appointment with him to ensure I was suitable for lasik due to some scarring on my eye. The original optician had said she was sure I would be ok but I would need to have this consultation to double check.

After meeting him for the consultation  I was told I was only suitable to have lasik on one eye and would have to have lasek on the other which was more painful. I was immediately put off going ahead with the procedure as it was not what I had originally planned.

I also have to admit that I wasn't completely comfortable with him performing the eye laser surgery as I asked some questions regarding risks and was asked to discuss these with the nurse outside. I then did some further research and thank god stumbled on to your web page.

Needless to say I have cancelled my laser surgery and am chasing a refund without much success even though they have said I should get it in 28 working days I have no confidence I will. Also why does it take 28 days? They took my money in seconds and called me regularly whilst thinking of booking now all of a sudden no one is available to take my call to refund my money and I have to just wait !

When I call they tell me the cancellation line is busy so I ask to hold but apparently you're not allowed to hold on the incoming line but someone will call me back. I did get one call back but it was from someone who tried to do a sales pitch on me telling me I had a great price and he would hate for me to lose it and that lasek really wasn't that painful. Its really alarming the lengths they will go to just to make the sale !

I am in the early stages of trying to get this refund but just looking for tips off anyone from your site.

Great work by the way that you are doing.

Decided Against Surgery! 09 Jun 2017 18:14 #45

  • In
  • In's Avatar
I visited the Middlesbrough branch and was sold the Lasik idesign and was advised that this was the best option for me as the other cheaper laser, Lasek is 'painful' and they never recommend unless they have too. I was put off this alternative.

I mentioned that I had been to Optimax who said that I had a thin cornea and could only offer Lasek, but Optical Express said their technology was far better than Optimax had, so Lasik was not a problem for them.

I paid my £500 deposit there and then, and was chased for the outstanding balance of £2995 a few days later.

I opted to meet my surgeon Erik De Koning in person for my pre-op consultation, even though they pushed me to agree to just a phone call.

On arriving at the clinic in Newcastle my eyes were re-tested only for the surgeon to then tell me that I could not have Lasik as my cornea was too thin. I was sooo upset!

It was my eyesight they were risking and I asked why I was told Lasik would be possible. They told me that the technology at the Newcastle branch is better than at the Middlesbrough branch where I was sold the treatment. I was told I would get a slight refund as Lasek treatment is cheaper.

I then tried to contact customer service for help. I rang and rang and was told someone would come back to me several times. Eventually I had a call but it was the optometrist who tested my eyes incorrectly who tried to say these mistakes happen all of the time and there wasn't an issue.

I tried again to speak to customer service and once again no reply!

I then sent an email saying if no one was to contact me I'd cancel my surgery and report the company. Funny enough I got a phone call off customer service on a untraceable number straight away. They said they would look into my situation and call me back. I then had another phone call from the optometrist again asking what my problem was. I told them I didn't want to speak to them and so they said customer service would ring, but once again no phone call.

I was that sick and fed up I called to speak to the cancellation team who were of course unavailable and told someone would call me within 48 hours. I said this wasn't good enough and they basically said tough. I then sent an email advising that I will be putting a complaint in about this company but this time I did not have a response.

Days later after finally speaking to someone in the cancellation team, I was told that I have cancelled outside of the cooling off period, so basically tough. After venting my frustration and advising that I have been trying to cancel since the 15 April, I eventually got an apology and was told I had to wait 28 days for a refund. I wasn't very happy about this as I'd have thought that they would refund my money quicker after everything I had been put through, but rules are rules and so i waited.

The last day of the '28 days refund' was the 26 May if you take away weekends and bank holidays.

On the 26 May I called only to be told that as the financial team were VERY busy I would have to wait another 7 to 10 days. I was furious, I told her this is theft and that they were breaking the contract, and all she could say was sorry. I asked to speak to a manager and she told me no one was available.

On the 29 May I had a call from Optical Express telling me that my issue had been escalated to the financial director and I would DEFINITELY have my money back by the 6 June. Surprise, surprise, no phone call came, and I rang to ask what was going on. Then I was told that it's actually the 9 June, and the woman tried to convince me that no one rang me on the 29 May because no one had left a message on my records.

So now I'm being treat as a liar! Lovely.

And that's where I am at the minute, they have £3495 of my money!

I just hope you read my review before this happens to you - DO NOT TRUST THEM WITH YOUR EYES!
_________________
admin: Pls send your phone number for advice on seeking your refund via small claims court if they continue to refuse. Also, there are a number of points you have mentioned that should be raised with various organisations.
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Cowboys! 05 Jun 2017 15:35 #46

  • Do not go to these cowboys
  • Do not go to these cowboys's Avatar
Do not go to these cowboys, they take a deposit from you before you even finish your contact lens trial, claiming it is fully refundable. For both myself & my wife the trial was not successful & there the problems began!

After chasing many many times and being lectured to by the hard nosed staff at the Glasgow office, they finally agreed to refund the £1,000 in four working weeks. At the end of this period we received a call advising that due to an accounting problem, the refund was delayed. It was only when my wife called the shop & threatened to sit there telling their customers that they were crooks, that the money was finally refunded!

Clinic | Southampton
Surgeon | Manek Patel

This is a sales organisation and do not care about your health and eyes.

Update re 'Refused refund & offered store credit!' 20 May 2017 16:26 #47

  • Kavita Trehan
  • Kavita Trehan's Avatar
Update to my previous post on 27 Apr 2017 13:45:

I contacted Sasha and she advised me to write and inform Optical Express that I would pursue court proceedings if they did not refund my deposit. No reply from them so I issued a Money Claim Online on 6 May.

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Within days of OE receiving notice from the court I received this email from Rebecca O’Hear.

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I replied...

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I’m pleased to say that my £500 deposit plus £35 court fee was paid into my bank account that day, within a few days of raising court proceedings.

But they forgot the interest.

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Approximately £7, not £40 as I mistakenly wrote on my claim, which I expect to receive tomorrow.

I definitely recommend that you contact Sasha for help if you are also wasting time banging your head against OE's brick wall!

Decided Against Surgery! 17 May 2017 12:51 #48

  • Suzy
  • Suzy's Avatar
After just having received another annoying text from OE, I was searching for complaints when I found this page.
I went for my initial consultation at Bristol on 8th March and was recommended for LASIK eye surgery. I paid £500 deposit on 10th March and was booked in for surgery with Luca Antico for 19th April and preassessment on 12th April.
I was informed by the surgeon at preassessment that I wasn't suitable for LASIK and he recommended me for lens replacement, which I declined. The sales manager at Bristol then proceeded to try and convince me to book in for lens replacement, despite me clearly stating several times that I was not interested. He even went as far to suggest that if I didn't go ahead with the procedure I would be likely to develop cataracts within the next couple of years, even though my eye test showed that apart from needing glasses for reading my eyes were perfectly healthy.
I am still waiting for the refund of my deposit and phoning is a complete waste of time as there is NEVER anyone available to speak to me and no-one ever calls back.

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) 13 May 2017 13:16 #49

  • Nigel Baird
  • Nigel Baird's Avatar
Although I can't say that anything horrible has happened to my eyes or that I haven't received my deposit back from OE I think this is worth posting for information value.

My main problem with OE arose from the recommendation made by the Optician at the first consult in Canterbury. RLE was proposed as the best procedure for my eyes as opposed to laser eye surgery. After checking with another company it seemed that laser surgery would have been suitable as RLE is a more invasive type of surgery that was not necessary. There was also all the information I found on this website which did not bode well for OE.

When I put this (by email) to OE along with a few other points they did not respond, hence I advised them I was cancelling the surgery prior to any consultation with a surgeon. Within a few days they confirmed my cancellation and that my money would be refunded.

The only hitch was when when one of their cancellations team rang me to discuss why I'd cancelled
and tried to convince me that he knew better and that I should go for the RLE procedure. He also advised that OE were not legally obliged to return my deposit.

On discussion of his lack of medical qualifications to be giving me clinical advice, and reminding him that the head of customer services had already agreed a refund, and that I intended to complain about his behaviour, he refused to give me his last name and the call ended.

I then complained to the OE head of customer services about this young man and she came back apologising profusely advising that my monies would be paid back immediately. They have since refunded the deposit although it probably took about a month since first request.

Still awaiting for my £500 deposit refund 28 Apr 2017 15:10 #50

  • JD2
  • JD2's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Karma: 0
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My request for my deposit to be returned seems to have fallen on deaf ears within the confines of the "Galactical Headquarters of Optical Express" situated in not so Bonny Scotland, as my request has now been put in the hands of the "Customer Service Team".

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In the meantime I have been made aware that the main protagonist in this whole sordid affair, namely Dr Dimitris Kazakos, is still being allowed to practice his butchery, despite there being a vast number of legal claims lodged against this man, and I believe that failure to reimburse me with a complete refund of £500 will undoubtedly result in my having to seek legal advice.

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