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TOPIC: DEPOSIT REFUND

Money Claim Online (MCOL) 14 Oct 2017 17:14 #21

  • admin
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Optical Express have a new scam :kiss:

Theresa T issued a Money Claim Online (MCOL), and on the day OE were deemed to have been served with the claim they called and asked for her credit card details to refund her £500 deposit.

But even though Teresa had received her copy, OE claimed that they had not received anything from the court, and refused to pay her court fee!

Teresa emailed Tweedledum and received this response from Trainee Solicitor Rebecca O’Hear, 'I confirm that Optical Express has not received notification of any claim raised by you.'

OE can get away with this lie (as I allege it to be) because the court sends out letters via regular mail, not requiring a signature for proof of delivery.

Anyone issuing a MCOL therefore must be sure to scan/photo your court copy and email to OE the day you receive it!

Although she can now issue a CCJ for the unpaid court fee, don't get caught out as Teresa was!

Avoid engaging in any phone conversation with OE reps, and do NOT provide credit card details until they have confirmed in writing that they are refunding your deposit, plus 0.8% interest, AND the court fee!

OE's in-house solicitor David Magee has left (as I predicted he would in August when I met him at the GOC hearing for John Margetts), as it seems has his colleague Aimee Watson, emails to both bouncing back as undeliverable.

Any legal correspondence should now be sent to:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (In-house solicitor)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Legal Support Assistant)

Also copy Tweedledum in, as I expect he'll be there until the OE ship sinks!
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Meanwhile, this is an extract from Rebecca O’Hear's email to Teresa.

'The cancellation policy, as set out within the Terms and Conditions document, states:

"Cancellation policy
a. If you cancel a booking for treatment within seven days of making your booking, we will refund all amounts you have paid.
b. If you cancel a booking for treatment more than seven days after making the booking, we will take the minimum deposit from any money you have paid, before returning the rest of the money to you.
c. We will set the amount of the minimum deposit at the time of your consultation.
d. If, for any reason, we have to cancel a booking for treatment and we cannot offer you an alternative booking in either the clinic of your choice or a different location, we will refund your minimum deposit.
e. If, following a consultation with one of our refractive surgeons, you cannot go ahead with your treatment for any clinical reason; we will refund all amounts you have paid, except for any refractive surgeon appointment fee.*
f. We will pay all refunds within 28 working days.”

You agreed to be bound by these terms by paying the deposit for surgery.'
**

* In my opinion this contradicts OE's advertised 'FREE
Consultation'! Regardless of which, when you are heavily pressured to pay a deposit, if you have not read the T&Cs before doing so you cannot be bound by them.
** I took legal advice from Counsel on this a few months ago and was assured that it would not stand up in court.

Deposit Refund 14 Oct 2017 10:45 #22

  • Dan
  • Dan's Avatar
Hi Sasha,

I've just found your website having cancelled my surgery on the 4th of October. I cancelled after failing to be eligible for credit, due to a poor credit rating after some money issues when I was a student.

They happily took the £500 before even running the credit check to see if I could go through with it. They wanted to run a second credit check through a different company but having already had one failed check on my record I decided against it. This was all on the 4th of October. I cancelled and was then told the refund would be processed within 28 days, this sounded a bit funny to me when they said it but I didn't question it.

At first I didn't even receive an email confirming my cancellation so I had to ring customer service to get that email, I then received the below email on the 12th:

"I am contacting you today with regards to your refund.

I have checked with our accounts team and I can confirm your refund is in process. As contained within your terms and conditions given at outset we do advise that all refunds can take up to 28 working days to process. This does not include weekends or bank holidays. We endeavour to carry these out as quickly as possible and therefore will do our utmost to ensure your refund is processed within this time frame.

Your refund was initiated on 4th October 2017, therefore you will be contacted on or before 13th November 2017 by our refund team to obtain original payment card details or if they are able to obtain them from the store in which you paid in, they will send you an email confirmation once it has been processed.

On behalf of Optical Express I would like to thank you for your patience in this matter and in the meantime, if I can assist you further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards,

Jade Sinclair"


Do you have a stock response I could email to them to get this processed quicker?

Thanks in advance.
Dan
____________________
admin: If you did not sign a copy of the T&Cs before you paid a deposit - if at all - they should refund your money as fast as they took it!
Send email for more details This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
:kiss:

Decided Against Surgery! 12 Oct 2017 09:57 #23

  • Hadil tokio
  • Hadil tokio's Avatar
Hi everyone I'm new to this forum I paid £200 deposit to get LASIK eye surgery which after reading numerous bad reviews you have decided not to go ahead with it. Luckily I have cancelled within 7 Days of making the appointment and I'm already finding it difficult to just cancel the appointment! Apparently the cancellations department don't have a telephone number how convenient. Is there anything I should be doing at this early stage while waiting for cancellations to call me back they said they would call me back within 24 hours but I was told yesterday by the customer services team that I would be called back the following morning which certainly didn't happen. I really want to thank this forum and I hope more people come across it before dealing with Optical Express!
______________________
admin: Send your phone number and I will call you. However, OE pay close attention to OERML, so when they read this message you might find that they suddenly contact you!
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Decided Against Surgery! 16 Sep 2017 19:53 #24

  • Theresa T
  • Theresa T's Avatar
Hi Sasha 
After finding your site I have decided not to go ahead with lens replacement surgery.
I paid a deposit of £500 at the initial consultation on 15 July.
I met the surgeon Dimitris Kazakos on 3 August at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherds Bush and this highlighted several issues of concern which I was not made aware of at the initial consultation.  
Having now decided not to go ahead with surgery I am looking for a full refund of my deposit.
I have read that you have had success in helping people get refunds from Optical Express and your advice would be very much appreciated. What do you think my chances are and how should I approach them.  

Regards
Theresa T
__________________________________
admin: I have advised Theresa to issue a Money Claim Online :kiss:

Decided Against Surgery! 10 Aug 2017 15:22 #25

  • Nova
  • Nova's Avatar
Just an update...

Sasha did advise me to go through the courts, stalled a bit, as my daughter - who has only just graduated law school, said "social media drives these businesses", so give it a try, failing that, she would use this as her first case. :)

I opted to use Twitter, and it worked a treat.

I slagged them, followed a few persons who were having similar issues with OE, had my daughter retweet, a few of her friends did the same, I also started following BBC watchdog and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Tweeted late last Friday and first thing Monday, OE started following me, then asked for "details"..

The tone and the responses were quick...

And by Tuesday morning I got an email to say, my refund has been processed and will be in my account within 3 - 5 days (as against the 28 days Lawrence stated)... and it's Thursday today and I am pleased to announce that my money has been refunded in full.

So for anyone going through the "refund deadlock" with OE, don't get stressed out emailing and calling... put them on BLAST via social media.

Thanks again Sasha... your encouragement and advice was second to none, keep doing what you are doing, its helping a lot of individuals, so sorry I didn't see your website before taking mom there, but hey- ho!

And for anyone else that is going through it... there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Negative posts on social media impacts on OE... and its' a weapon that is free, I encourage you, to use it.

Best of luck.
Nova
___________________
admin: If you Tweet @OpticalExpress don't forget to add @OERMLuk :kiss:

No cataracts and money refunded 04 Aug 2017 22:39 #26

  • Anthony
  • Anthony's Avatar

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

Quick update from my original post on 10th July '17

After being advised by OERML I sent a few emails to Lynsey Shaw and received my full deposit back on 14th July .

I went to see my optician and asked if I have cataracts, she checked and said it's clear. I then made an appointment to be seen in Moorfields eye hospital in London. I had all the scans done and seen the surgeon who said that I have a dot behind my eye and it's none progressive as my prescription has not changed for years so lens replacement surgery is going a bit far and advised that laser will work on my left eye and a lens implant for the right eye, or just keep wearing glasses.

Thanks again Sasha for your help and advice.

OE have £2000 deposit and I want it back! 04 Aug 2017 13:21 #27

  • 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
Nova
______________
admin: I recommend that you issue a Money Claim online. Email your phone number if you need more details
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Decided Against Surgery! 28 Jul 2017 18:03 #28

  • 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
:kiss:

Refund Returned Successfully 22 Jul 2017 21:31 #29

  • 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,

Andy


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,

Andy 


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
 
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 19:09 #30

  • Julian I
  • Julian I's Avatar
Hi,

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

Julian
_____________________
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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