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Optical Express Ruined My Life - Discuss...


DEPOSIT REFUND 12 Dec 2013 14:38 #441

  • David
  • David's Avatar
Hi there,

At a consultation with OE last Friday I was told I was suitable for Lasik Eye Surgery and then immediately sat down in an office with a salesman, had some paperwork put in front of me - that I couldn't read because I'd had drops in my eyes, and then he really tried to pressure me into putting a deposit of £200 down to secure an appointment. I refused telling them it was a lot of money and I needed to consider the finances with my wife.

The salesman then called me the following day and offered me a 20% discount, which I found strange as surely it should be a set cost? I had reviewed my finances and decided it was viable so I paid a £200 deposit over the telephone - but I had not, and still have not, signed anything. There was no mention of a 72 hour cooling off period at this point.

I went into the Preston branch on Monday to finalise the finance agreement but when I got there none of the paperwork had been set up. The sales assistant (very nice but unhelpful) was apologetic and told me he could sort the paperwork out and would call me to finalise it over the telephone and all I would need to do was sign on the day of my treatment.

Three days passed since then and I've just had a call from the original salesman who asked me when I was coming into store to set the finance up. He said there was no record of me going to the store on Monday!

Alarm bells started ringing, if they can't manage the most basic paperwork or customer service how can I trust them with my eyes?? So I asked him to cancel my procedure and refund my £200 deposit.

Then for the first time I was told about the 72 hour cooling off period! I decided to do a bit more digging and found this website.

It is safe to say that I will definitely be cancelling now, even if it means losing my £200, which incidentally is a lot of money for me.

Surely I am entitled to a refund of my deposit, as they haven't provided any kind of service to me so far to justify this cost?

I will be making a formal complaint to the CEO - and as a last resort make a claim through the small claims court if I have valid grounds for a refund.

So what do you think? Any advice is appreciated!


David Davies

REFUND AGREED! 10 Dec 2013 17:19 #442

  • Wlod
  • Wlod's Avatar
Hi All,

Thanks a lot for all your support, advice and comments. I spoke today with OE Refund Team and they have taken my card details. I was told that money should be on my bank account in 3 to 5 days so I am really pleased.

Here is what has happened since my last post.

As I mentioned previously, with Sasha’s help, I drafted and sent the following email to David Moulsdale:

Dear Mr Moulsdale,

I am writing with regard to cancellation of my Lasik surgery at your Birmingham clinic as detailed in email below.

I emailed Optical Express customer service team on the 25th November 2013 to cancel my surgery scheduled for the 11th December requesting a refund of my deposit being seriously concerned that, should I proceed, the health of my eyes might be jeopardised by what seemed to me a poor quality of examination.

In addition to the reasons provided in my email regarding my decision to cancel the surgery, on the day of the examination I was not given full information that would have affected my decision to make an informed consent: this includes treatment success rates, retreatment statistics, statistics for probability of starbursts, halo effects, night time distortion, dry eyes etc; current investigations by the General Medical Council into your surgeons, numerous legal claims, the numbers of damaged patients etc.

Having spoken to Becky Hill from your Customer Service Team who I explained all my concerns to I have found out that the deposit will not be refunded. I am totally dissatisfied with this decision and I am not prepared to accept it. I do not dispute that I confirmed I understood the deposit was not refundable after 72hrs from making a booking, but Optical Express did not carry out the examination with reasonable care and skill and withheld critical information from me, so I do not consider any agreement made on the 21st November as legally binding.

Therefore, I am writing to you requesting that you override Becky Hill's decision and refund my deposit within 5 working day, otherwise I will be seeking legal advice in order to pursue my refund via a small claims court. I also appeal to you to review the examination procedures in your company as even MP John McDonnell mentioned concerns over the quality of patient assessment at Optical Express in the House of Commons on 20/11/13.


I received no response, so spent last weekend describing my case on various internet forums, including Martin Lewis, MoneySupermarket, Customer Actions Group etc. I also left lovely reviews for OE on Trust Pilot and Review Centre.

All of the above resulted in this email yesterday:

From: Stephen Hannan < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >
Date: 9 December 2013 16:57
Subject: Optical Express

Dear W___

Thank you for your recent email which you addressed to our Chief Executive Officer.

In my capacity as the Clinical Services Director for the Optical Express Group I have reviewed the content of your email and will now offer a response.

Although we are not obliged to consider refunding you the deposit based on our terms and conditions, on this occasion I will agree to do so as a gesture of goodwill.

I have confirmed the same with my colleague, Miss Vikki Hill who will be in contact to discuss the next step on this process.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Hannan MCOptom
Clinical Services Director
Optical Express
T. +44 (0) 1236 795104
M. +44 (0) 7740 592389

Sasha thanks a million for all your support, guidance and help. I would not get my money back, without you. If you ever need any help, you have got my contact details. Wish you all the best! x


DEPOSIT REFUND 09 Dec 2013 14:53 #443

  • Mr X
  • Mr X's Avatar
  • Karma: 0
Hi Wlod,

I don't think you will be the first to try to claim this back unfortunately.

I can pretty much tell you the exact response you will receive:

Dear ........

As Clinical Services Director, I am the most senior patient interface at O.E. I will be dealing with your letter regarding your Deposit.

You have signed the relevant documentation that clearly states deposits are non refundable if within 72hrs blah, blah, blah,

Waffle, Waffle, Lies, more Lies etc.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Hannan.

You get the point.

Get a solicitor immediately or advice from CAB.

The reasons you specified are reasonable grounds to cancel a contract.

Contracts are not enforceable if they are not fair to both parties and seek to serve one party more than the other.

Do explore a challenge with your card issuer, it may be the quickest and most painless way of retrieving your money.

State that the service was not provided by O.E. and information was witheld.

They have at least one investigation ongoing with one of their surgeons because I complained to the GMC and they ARE investigating the matter.

Best Regards,


DEPOSIT REFUND 04 Dec 2013 22:01 #444

  • Wlod
  • Wlod's Avatar
Hi All,

I have a short update on my case. Following my phone conversation with Diane from the customer service team, I have also spoken to her manager Becky. I have only found out that I will not receive my deposit back as I have cancelled my surgery after 72hrs. Not really surprising to be honest. She did not want to listen to my explanations, repeating like mantra that deposit is not refundable. Fed up with her I only asked to explain me their official complaints policy. Not a surprise it is a letter to their head office.

Yesterday with Sasha’s help I sent an email to their CEO explaining my case and asking to override any previous decisions. We will see what will be their response…

Has anyone made a court claim for their deposit? I may be the first one:-)


DEPOSIT REFUND - FINALLY!! 04 Dec 2013 15:29 #445

  • Liza
  • Liza's Avatar
After 3 months of waiting, I finally have the £200 back in my bank account!! :woohoo:

Lesson learnt by me!

Many thanks for all your help Sasha, couldn't have done this without you.

Keep up the good work.

DEPOSIT REFUND 30 Nov 2013 16:28 #446

  • Wlod
  • Wlod's Avatar
Hello All,

I have some updates on my deposit refund issues described below.

Today at midday I had a call from Diane at OE customer services team. Firstly she asked me to explain why I am cancelling the surgery, which you can read in my previous post. Then, for about 10 minutes she tried to convince me to proceed with the treatment giving various reasons, including OE having the best equipment and staff in the UK, I'm a perfect candidate, only 1% of people have complications after lasik, there are higher risks and complications from wearing contact lenses than from eye surgery with Optical Express.

She also mentioned that the internet is full of bulls*** about eye surgery and I should really not listen to this as they are perfectly safe.

Believe me, she sounded really convincing. They do have very good scripts and I think they actually believe what they are telling people.

She proposed that I have a second examination with their senior optometrist - which proved that my initial examination was not with the senior optometrist!

When I strongly refused, she said that she has cancelled my surgery but I will not receive any refund as I cancelled 72 hrs after booking.

I explained that I do not agree with this as I believe Optical Express did not carry out the examination with reasonable care and skill and withheld critical information, such as success rates, investigations by the GMC into OE surgeons, outstanding legal claims etc. Therefore, I do not regard any agreements made on the 21st November as legally binding. I added that if they do not return my deposit I will be seeking advice from people on every medical and consumer rights related forum I will find. Moreover, I will contact campaigners against eye surgeries to seek advice and then as a last resort I will go to small claims court. After this she said that she will ask her manager to call me on Monday to discuss this further.

Please let me know what do you think about this?


DEPOSIT REFUND 28 Nov 2013 15:16 #447

  • Wlod
  • Wlod's Avatar
Hello All,

Here is my story:

I attended a free consultation appointment at Optical Express in Coventry on the 21st November 2013. The examination suggested that LASIK surgery would be suitable and this was booked for on the 11th December 2013 in Birmingham. The price was £3690 for both eyes.

On the examination day my prescription was found to be higher (I believe by -0.5 in both eyes) than my current contact lenses prescription of -1.5 and -2.0. This surprised me as I have not been experiencing any degradation in my eyesight. Therefore, I felt I should book an appointment to double check and I managed to get an appointment at Boots three days ago. That examination showed that my eye prescription has not changed at all for either glasses or contact lenses as compared to my last prescription.

Moreover, during the examination at OE I explained that the reason I was investigating surgery was because I cannot wear contact lenses for long without experiencing dry eyes. During my examination at OE I was given no reason to believe that this could be an additional risk factor should I opt for corrective eye surgery. Over the weekend I discovered that this may represent an increased risk of suffering dry eye following corrective eye surgery and therefore, when I found that the Boots examination did not confirm the change of prescription identified by their optometrist, I asked to have my existing concerns around dry eye checked in detail. The Boots examination revealed that I have blocked meibomian glands, which although I had mentioned my current concerns was not identified during my examination at OE. Having become concerned about this, I have checked various medical articles which have given me the impression that eye surgery should not be carried out if you experience problems with dry eyes.

During my consultation I also explained that I train in mixed martial arts, which is a contact sport. I wanted to fully understand the risks associated with the combination of LASIK eye surgery and contact sports and the potential dislocation of the “flaps” created during this type of surgery. I was told that the LASIK method would still be appropriate. However, the lady examining me needed to check this with "a senior optometrist" since she was not 100% confident. I was somewhat confused by this because I was told when booking my appointment that I would be examined by a senior optometrist. It occurs to me now that lady examining me was not a senior optometrist, though I had been led to expect that this would be the case.

Moreover, the clinic was really busy, with people waiting and new patients constantly arriving. As a result the receptionist with whom I was discussing payment and appointment details was really busy, dealing with several people at a time. Although unrelated to my concerns on medical grounds, I felt that this put me under pressure to make snap decisions.

I would not ordinarily make a fuss about my experience at the clinic, but the independent examination made me feel really concerned about the standard of examination I have received, particularly when the quality of that examination would be paramount to the success of any operation.

As a result of all of the above, I have lost confidence in OE and have decided not to proceed with the operation booked for the 11th December. I was seriously concerned that should I proceed, the health of my eyes may be jeopardised by what appears to me to be a poor quality of diagnosis. I have requested OE to refund my deposit (£400). I sent an email to Optical Express customer service team on the 25th November 2013 with a request to cancel my surgery and refund my deposit. The day after I sent my email I received a phone call from Diane from your customer service team at 15:13. Unfortunately, I missed that call so she left me a message to call her back on 01236 795111 which I did at 15:47. However, nobody answered, so I left a message on the voicemail with a request to call me back. I am really disappointed not to have heard anything from them yet.

Moreover, later reading this forum I have found out that on the day of the examination I was not given the full facts that would affect my decision, including treatment success rates, investigations by the General Medical Council into your surgeons, outstanding legal claims, the numbers of damaged patients etc.

While I do not dispute that I had confirmed that I understood that deposit was not refundable after cancellation from 72hrs from making a booking, I feel that Optical Express did not carry out the examination with reasonable care and skill and withheld critical information. Therefore, I do not regard any agreements made on the 21st November as binding. If they do not refund my deposit, I will be taking the matter further in a small claims court

I am so glad that I have not progressed with them.


DEPOSIT REFUND 15 Nov 2013 13:23 #448

  • dunx
  • dunx's Avatar
Hi, I recently inquired about laser eye surgery and made an appointment as my eyesight had deteriorated over the last few years and I needed to pass an 'ENG1, marine medical' eye examination for my work.

After going in for an examination I was told that I was border line for getting laser treatment but was told they could replace my lenses in my eyes (RLE), which would give me better long and mid distance vision, but I would still need glasses for reading which would be fine for passing my medical.

After discussing the price which was around 5k I agreed verbally to go ahead and make another appointment. When making the appointment I was then told (out of the blue ) to pay a deposit for £500. Reluctantly I did.

The next day there was a voice mail message on my mobile phone saying about paying a deposit. but nothing in any previous correspondence. I later received my medical and my eye sight was OK to pass so I had been mislead and never needed the operation on my eyes in the first place .

As far as I was concerned I was only going in to enquire about it. I have just read about a 24 hr cooling off period on the forum which I was never given or knew about.

Does anyone have any ideas on the best way to get my deposit refunded

DEPOSIT REFUND 08 Nov 2013 13:28 #449

  • Siun McDonald
  • Siun McDonald's Avatar
I posted last month about my experience with OE in Dublin. When I decided not to go ahead with the surgery I was informed by their Cancellations Department that I would not get my deposit of €500 back as it was outside the 24 hour cooling off period. I then wrote to the CEO pointing out why it was unethical and immoral to keep my money. Next day I got a call informing me that my deposit would be refunded in full and today I received cheque for €500. Mores the pity that this wasn't done in the first place. However it was a satisfactory outcome in the end.

DEPOSIT REFUND 23 Oct 2013 16:34 #450

  • Siun McDonald
  • Siun McDonald's Avatar
A few weeks ago I decided to check if I was suitable for Laser treatment which would dispense with my reading glasses. At the end of the free consultation in OE, Dublin I was told I would be a suitable candidate for RLE, cost €3,995 They said it was a very safe procedure which had been performed by Dr. Hurley thousands of times. Night vision, halos and starbursts were mentioned as possible side effects but I was assured that this would be temporary…nothing to worry about.
I was asked if I wanted to book dates for surgery with emphasises on the fact that the dates could be changed later if they didn’t suit. (Just get the booking!)
It all sounded great so I booked the dates and paid the deposit of €500. She mentioned 24 hours refund but at that point it never crossed my mind that it would be necessary to cancel. They are excellent sales people!
Only then was I given the Consent Form to read at home and bring back signed.

I spent the next 4 days researching RLE at the end of which I decided I would definitely not go ahead with it and informed OE in Dublin.
A woman from their Cancellation Dept (Scottish) rang me on Monday and did her utmost to make me change my mind. I kept saying it was too risky and she kept insisting it wasn’t, they use the latest technology, etc. Finally, when she saw my mind was made up she said there would be no refund as I didn’t cancel inside the 24 hours.

I feel their procedure sequence is wrong:
How can they take €500 before a contract is even handed over, never mind signed? How can anyone hearing about RLE for the first time have the right questions to ask?.
How can anyone decide within 24 hours if they want to have elective eye surgery?
When you go to a medical practitioner you expect a certain ethical standard. When you attend a Medical Clinic you don’t expect to have to be on your guard in case you’re ripped off! What they did was immoral!
I will do whatever it takes to get my money back.

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