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30 Jun 2020 04:35 #524

Rebecca

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I am also waiting for my £500 deposit back..
Opitcal Empress’s head office told me the finance department was shut due to Covid and I could not have my my refund until it opened, which should be 1st July. Well that’s a lie, if you got refunded in a June. This company seems to say what ever they can to get your money.
I cancelled my lens replacement surgery due to being told conflicting advice my different members if their staff. Optical Express feels me with dread and cannot be trusted. I am so glad I made the right decision to cancel with them.
19 Jun 2020 15:59 #523

Jor

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I just wanted to share my experience with OE, as I'm worried I'm facing a very similar situation.

I'm a young woman who has been wanting laser eye surgery since I first heard about it many years ago. I'm now finally at a place where I can realistically afford it (although I'm not in the best financial situation right now thanks to the current state of things), and whilst I had heard one or two whispers about OE before booking, I didn't think anything much of it and booked in for my free consultation a few weeks ago.

Yesterday I went for that consultation at the Harley Street clinic, and in hindsight I'm finding it a little hard to believe what they tried to pull on me. I arrived ahead of time and was still seen a good 20-30 minutes late, meaning I was feeling a little rushed to get it over with.They did the usual diagnostic tests and judging from the iScan report they sent me afterwards and what Specsavers gave my prescription as a year ago, they clearly thought my uncorrected eyesight is better than it is. And I may have misunderstood (it was a bit of a blur after all), but one lady seemed to imply my uncorrected vision is near to 20/20? Patently false, and their own (albeit, incorrect) reports show that to be the case.

I'm usually fairly confident and calm in medical consultations* but I was left feeling like a young naive child. They seemed to want to book me in asap (which I wasn't keen on and I tried to slow them down a little), and despite the fact that my prescription is -3 and -2 with a little astigmatism, I was a bit shocked when their idesign quote came to £3951 WITH a 10% NHS discount (that they told me was likely going to be scrapped soon and just mentioned on the spot. Nor did they seem to mind that I didn't have my NHS ID with me). I know most competitors seem to quote around £3500 for their wavefront options. It still would've been £3451 with a discount for standard LASIK.

As an aside, early on I asked them if they'd noticed much of an increase in custom due to it being 2020. My technician Reiza mentioned how actually they've had a big hit from the pandemic. It wasn't so much what he said but the way he said it that took me by surprise there, and I did wonder if maybe this rush in the clinic that I was witnessing was in response to that.

Still, I gave in to their pressures and proceeded. What really shook me though was when they sprung a credit check on me without warning, and certainly without any warning that that would affect my credit score. Thankfully I was already aware of that, but it seemed a little worrying that they didn't mention it, even when I expressed how uneasy I was about the check. He just kept reassuring me "I'm sure it'll be fine", "I'm sure there won't be any issue".

The technician filled in the info. I explained that the address the bank account is registered to and is on my driver's license is different to the one I'm on the electoral roll for. Still, he filled it out and submitted it, left the room for around 5-10 minutes, and then came back and told me that the credit check was declined. I still don't know why and I'm rather shocked as I have a good credit score. I was given no clue, and Hitachi don't seem to give the reason away unless you contact them directly. While I was left reeling from that and trying to figure out why, STILL OE pushed forward and took my deposit of £600 and booked me in for everything. The finance options I were given after that were a) a guarantor b) they could run it by a more "lenient" credit company or c) I pay it all upfront. Thankfully I said I would go away and have a think about it. He said that ideally they needed to know how I was going to finance it by the time of the surgeon’s consultation phone call on Sunday. I asked if the deposit needed to be done today and he continued by telling me that I needed to do it to confirm my place and so I can speak to the surgeon (Niraj Mandal - someone I never met during the whole appointment, and whose name I can't even remember being mentioned. I only found out the name of my surgeon once I got home and looked at my info pack).

All in all, I feel like OE are almost trying to pull a fast one on me. I'm going to cancel everything and ask for my deposit back as I'm still within the 3 day cooling off period he mentioned
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NB: *Not a medical consultation as there were no medically qualified people present.
It was a high pressure sales pitch - for which the ‘technician’ and optom earn target based commissions.
17 Jun 2020 15:30 #522

John Mc

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I was due to have a Multifocal Natural Lens Replacement on Saturday 21st March 2020.

On the 20th March I spoke with Patient Advisor Laura Halliday at Optical Express Newcastle Branch to cancel my operation as I have underlying health issues and because of Coronavirus, I had spoken with my Consultant at my local hospital who advised me to cancel this operation. I gave all this information to Laura, and we decided that I would be refunded £6471.00 minus £800, as I still wanted this operation when timing was correct and safe to do so. Laura advised that the money would be paid back into my account within 28 days.

I had been booked in for surgery with Dr Sandro Di Simplicio at the Newcastle branch and the same day I cancelled my operation I received a telephone call to say that I could come in earlier for my operation on the 21st. I explained that I had cancelled this due to health risks and was awaiting refund. I thought no more about this until the next 28 days when no refund had been returned. So I have emailed them several times since and been sent standard email explaining that due to covid-19 they are unable to do this. By this time I have had enough so I emailed Stephen Hannen on 13th June who replied stating that someone would contact me beginning of this week but nobody has!



I have now read lots of the stories and reviews from patients who have had serious problems after surgery at Optical Express and I will no longer be requiring their services. I emailed Stephen yesterday telling him that I want all money returned by Friday 19th June or I would start Court Action. I have had no reply. I just want all my money refunded, this Company is an absolute shambles……..CAN YOU HELP ME

John Antony McGuigan.

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15 Jun 2020 15:50 #521

Sean

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I had an appointment on the 5th June at Harley Street (still in lockdown!) and after only 30 minutes was given the go ahead for Lasik Surgery.

I was originally elated, then taken into an office to talk about pricing plans for the surgery appointment on the 9th - only four days later. I was told I need to pay £400 deposit to reserve the appointment.

The next day I was told I had failed the credit check and asked to pay in full. Alarm bells began to ring, because my Experian Credit Score is 999/999 given the number of financial commitments and a perfect financial record for the last 10 years.

How many people may have been told they failed the credit check and pushed to pay in full?

I then immediately asked for a refund of my £400 deposit on Monday when the offices reopened, and was told I would get a full refund and a confirmation email.

Two phone calls, many emails, and a week later, I received an email saying their 'intention' was to start processing refunds from the 1st of July, but not that they will.

Perhaps my story is not as serious as some but it could have been if I fell for the traps.

Regardless, it's clear something suspicious is going on.

I have spoken with Sasha and because I paid by credit card she advised me to contect them.

I called American Express, and they said it's a 6-8 week process where they'll contact OE to give my money back, and if they need supporting documents they'll liaise with me. I will let you know the outcome.
12 Jun 2020 12:15 #520

lera669

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I hope this is going to help others not to get into similar situations. I have been trying to get my deposit back from Optical express since March and still did not get it...I paid £500 deposit paid to Optical Express on the 24th February 2020 and had the initial consultation with the surgeon on the 20th of March. I decided that it was too risky for my particular case to go ahead with the surgery and cancelled the surgery on the 20th of March. BUT I have got no reply form the OE regarding my refund...

However, on the 24th March, I received an email from the customer service telling me that my surgery had been postponed. I informed them that I had cancelled the surgery, but I have received no further emails regarding my cancellation, or when my £500 deposit will be refunded. I spoke with customer care department on 8th April and they could offer no further assistance in this. On the 27th April I spoke with customer care department again and was told that the government Coronavirus restrictions affect the work of OE and, therefore, the deposit cannot be refunded in the near future. The possible refund timescale was not explained to me either, which I found very frustrating. I asked the OE worker to leave a note on my account that I would like to get my deposit back as soon as possible. They said the note is added. I emailed the CEO of OE twice and no response....I drafted a very nice emails but it does not help....

BUT recently at the end of May I received a call form the optometrist asking when I would like to have my surgery.......I explained the situarion and asked her to leave a note ob my OE account that I need my deposit asap and i am very annoyed with their Customer service. BUT again on the 3rd of June call from OE asking when I I would like to have my surgery... That was a very big surprise...I explained the situation and asked to leave a note again.. well.. it has been frustrating indeed. I hope this is going to be useful for anybody who deals with them.a
11 Jun 2020 13:43 #519

Andy

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UPDATE

FINALLY after over 3 months of battling OE our sons deposit has been refunded.

We need to say a huge heart felt thank you to Sasha Rodoy who has supported and guided us all the way, we could not have done it without her.

PLEASE to anyone out there considering Eye Surgery remember this is not a regulated industry (This fact was brought to our attention through Sasha). Its beyond belief this is the case so please Sasha keep up the crusade to get this changed