Last month Optical Express called an emergency meeting in London after angry surgeons demanded that they should be able to see their patients before the day of surgery, not just a few minutes before the op.
The guest list included some of OE's best known players: CEO David Moulsdale, Steve Schallhorn, Tweedledum - they even flew Jan Venter in from South Africa for the day!
It was agreed that patients would be given the option of seeing their surgeon before the day of surgery - at an additional cost of £150!!
Yet a little birdy I know went to an OE store for a consultation very recently, and at no point were they asked if they'd like to meet with the surgeon before the day.
In the name of research, on Monday I called OE's sales line, said that I’d like to book a consultation and would I see the surgeon.
In no uncertain terms I was told “NO!” The telesales person told me I would see a 'refractive optometrist’ for my consultation and the surgeon ONLY on the day of the op.
I pushed and said I really wanted to speak with a surgeon before making such a big decision. Still no, not even if I paid!
So it looks like the patients might not be the only ones OE senior management are lying to.
David Moulsdale addressed the meeting, and instead of answering surgeon's concerns I'm told he preferred to talk about OERML and me - flattery will get you nowhere David
He apparently kept waving around a copy of an email I'd sent him last year, telling his audience that it proved Optimax pays me to run OERML.
For the record, I issued Court proceedings for Breach of Agreement against Russell Ambrose (t/a Optimax Unltd) a few months ago, and we have an Allocation hearing at the Central London County Court in early January.
Keep up David!
He also explained why OERML website has dropped down the Google rankings.
For more than a year on the 1st page, OERML was recently relegated to who knows where, because, he told his frustrated audience (repeatedly) that he had "invoked a Google penalty".
Happily I now have my answer to that puzzle and will be contacting Google with all the details they need to see the underhand tactics OE have used to force OERML down the rankings - I'll be back
This morning I went to the Post Office to send Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg hard copies of documents supporting my argument that OERML Community Page should be restored.
Yes, I do see the amusement in my method of delivery to the CEO of the biggest online social networking service - but I guarantee that's why I'm more likely to grab his attention, regardless of the result.
Coincidentally, this email (edited) arrived on my return:
...As we've stated in our previous e-mail, we received a legal notice from a business in the United Kingdom that content on the reported Page was defamatory, and on that basis we made the content unavailable in the United Kingdom....
You may reach out to the reporting party directly to resolve this issue:
Name – Mary-Frances Kelly, Optical Express
Thanks for your understanding,
I was fully aware of the reason WHY Optical Express had suddenly challenged my Page after 2.5 years, but I couldn't do much about it until Facebook provided proof.
This was my next move:
Subject: FAO Mary-Frances Kelly
Date: 11 November 2014 15:47:13 GMT
(Copied to David Moulsdale and others)
Dear Ms Kelly,
Re: "we received a legal notice from a business in the United Kingdom that content on the reported Page was defamatory”.
Earlier today Facebook provided me with information (below) that a “legal notice” was made in your name, the reason my OERML Page was made unavailable in the UK.
I therefore ask that you please provide details of the content you reported as “defamatory”.
If you are unable to comply then I ask that you contact Facebook and withdraw your complaint immediately, or please advise when I should expect to receive your letter before action.
As this matter is urgent, I would appreciate a reply within 48 hrs before I instruct my lawyers to take responsive action on my behalf.
Published on the Optical Express site: "Our Chief Medical Director, Mr Steve Schallhorn, one of the UK’s leading eye care specialists explains that these lenses could be a nightmare for your eyes.
“The implications are terrifying and in the most severe cases can result in loss of sight,” warns Dr Schallhorn, one of the world’s leading refractive surgeons. “[edited] these contact lenses are typically a poor fit – ‘one size’ does not fit all and they can cause corneal scratching, as well as impaired vision.”"
You could be forgiven for getting excited, believing that Dr Schallhorn is finally telling the truth about MPlus lenses, which cause untold problems for so many people (without cataracts) who've undergone RLE surgery at Optical Express!
But unfortunately the US doctor is talking about Halloween decorative contact lenses, ignoring the fact that OE damage far more people's eyes with lens implants. Not forgetting that you can simply pop out CLs, sadly not possible with IOLs once your natural lens has been removed.
Claimed to be "one of the UK’s leading eye care specialists" you could also be forgiven for believing that Dr Schallhorn is licensed to practise in the UK.
Fortunately, Steve Schallhorn is not licensed to practise in the UK, and to pass him off as a "UK specialist" is misleading and untrue.
OE also wrote: "We love a good scare here at Optical Express, as long as it’s in good fun and nobody gets hurt".
Imagine fighting a big UK company for years for the simple right to campaign fairly online against an under-regulated industry. You go on to win a dispute resolution case probed by Nominet to keep your perfectly legitimate gripe website alive. You also successfully defend yourself against the firm's strong-armed appeals. Then picture the moment when your campaign is trashed by the likes of Facebook and Twitter, after they kill painstakingly built up pages with little explanation for the sudden take-downs.
That's the plight of laser eye surgery campaigner Sasha Rodoy after Facebook yanked her "Optical Express Ruined My Life" page from its site late last month, citing copyright infringement issues.
It came after Twitter barred two similar campaign accounts used by Rodoy on the micro-blogging service for apparent "aggressive following behaviour".
Rodoy told The Register that she had complained to the networks about having her pages removed from their services. But neither Facebook nor Twitter had responded beyond automated email replies briefly explaining why the OERML pages had been deleted.
The Facebook page, in particular, had been used by thousands of people who were concerned about the lack of regulation in England and Wales around the corrective eye surgery industry, Rodoy said.
As we previously reported, dot-UK registry company Nominet ruled in January this year that there were insufficient grounds for a rehearing of a case brought by Optical Express against Rodoy.
Among other things, the High Street optician had claimed to Nominet that the comments posted on Rodoy's website opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk had caused "significant and unfair disruption to its business" and amounted to a personal vendetta against Optical Express. It was further claimed that Rodoy was abusing her domain registration.
However, Nominet chucked out the complaint saying that there were "no exceptional grounds" for taking action against Rodoy.
Now, the campaigner is finding herself once again in the unfortunate position of having to defend her criticisms of Optical Express and other High Street opticians, because – it would seem – both Twitter and Facebook are unaware of Rodoy's legal wins.
Having written to David Moulsdale requesting copies of all images taken by OE employees @ the OERML Harley St demo last week, I was both amazed and amused to receive this response from McOptom:
Subject: Optical Express
Date: 21 August 2014 09:16:00 BST
Thank you for your e-mail to David Moulsdale dated 16 August 2014 (12.43).
Please note that the Data Protection Act 1998 entitles Optical Express to charge a fee of up to £10 for responding to subject access requests. While Optical Express has waived the levying of such a fee in the past, an increase in the number of subject access requests received has resulted in Optical Express reviewing its policy and electing to impose a fee going forward.
We will provide you with copies of any images that were captured of you by our staff at 22 Harley Street on 14 August 2014 if you pay the £10 subject access fee. Please make your cheque payable to "Optical Express". This should be included with a letter of request marked for my attention and be sent to the following address;
200 St Vincent Street
With regard to any images captured by our staff of those individuals who accompanied you, we are unable to provide you with copies of their images unless you provide us with evidence that they authorise you to act on their respective behalves for the purposes of making subject access requests to Optical Express generally or specifically with regard to this particular request. We will only accept a written letter of authorisation - a scan of an original sent as an e-mail attachment is acceptable. Please note that each such individual must also pay a subject access fee of £10, as further outlined above. We will also require you to provide a recent photograph of each such individual in order that we are able to distinguish that individual from others within the image and thereby provide each individual with his / her respective image.
Please note that we have 40 calendar days to respond to your subject access request from the date that we receive your payment of the subject access fee.
Stephen Hannan MCOptom
Clinical Services Director
T: +44 (0) 1236 795104 M: +44 (0) 7740 592389
NB: "...an increase in the number of subject access requests" will of course be a reference to the many damaged patients asking for copies of their records
I will be seeking legal advice re the legality of someone taking my photo without my permission and then asking me to pay for copies of same.