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Decided Against Surgery! 01 Feb 2014 16:24 #561

  • Roberta
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It's really sad to realize how much people try to manipulate others to achieve their goals ........

Refund 30 Jan 2014 09:27 #562

  • Deano
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Called today, finally, demanding letter once again. This will cost £20 from my GP plus time off of work to get to the doctor's, all due to their underlying mistake.

Still waiting... 29 Jan 2014 11:34 #563

  • Deano
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So it's Wednesday, and though I've had one call from OE yesterday, they said they'd need to call back to get confirmation from their manager for the refund.

I've called today but again, the person answering can't do anything except email the Retention department as no-one answers. This is the same thing I was told Friday.

Interestingly he stated the appointment hadn't been cancelled....though it was allegedly cancelled Friday?! What the hell are they playing at.

I've stated if I don't get a call by Friday I will take legal action. Not sure what to do from here.

Sasha, is it worth sending an email?

DEPOSIT REFUND 27 Jan 2014 13:59 #564

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Ben S wrote: After an exceptionally difficult year I'd pretty much hit rock bottom so decided to do something that would change my life forever,.

On the 20th of December, armed with enthusiasm and the financial resources to pay for it (although not the right state of mind) I went into the Cambridge branch of Optical Express to have my free consultation for laser eye surgery

Completing the pre-consultation form I noted that I suffered with clinical depression, ticking the box stating it was current. After 'checking' the forms, the branch manager (Marcus) led me into the consult rooms and performed tests on my eyes. No mention of my depression made at this point.

I was delighted when the optometrist told me I was a perfect candidate for lasik surgery as I thought I would have issues due to my having blepharitis.

Full of enthusiasm, with my eyes dilated and blurry, I was pressured into the first surgery date available. I was offered no finance options because the moment I said I had money in my account to pay for it I was told this was a better option so I paid £2,795 for iLasik surgery on my VISA debit card. I wasn't even told I could just leave a deposit.

I was assured that if I had any questions or wanted to change my mind it would not be a problem. I was given a pack consisting of a 6 page document and information which I was unable to read with blurry dilated eyes. I was told to “Enjoy your Christmas” and to “not worry about reading the documentation or signing it until a few days before the surgery”.

At this point I was really excited thinking this would have a positive impact on my life after a particularly difficult time, but my excitement quickly turned to confusion when the branch manager contacted me a few days later telling me that I needed a consent form signing by my GP as they'd noticed on the pre consultation form that I suffer from depression.

This started alarm bells ringing as it had not been flagged up during the consultation or when the manager checked the forms – but more importantly, they'd allowed me to pay for the surgery without getting it cleared by their head office or my GP first.

I then called the clinic and asked to have LASEK instead of LASIK as I was fearful of possible complications I'd read about with the flap, but was assured it would “heal perfectly”. I thought the optometrist should know better than any stories I read on the internet my gut instinct told me to switch to LASEK, and doing so calmed my frayed nerves somewhat.

When I went to OE to pick up the GP's consent form the branch manager asked whether I wanted to see the optometrist as I was obviously worried. I spoke to the optometrist for about 15 minutes, probing him with questions. He looked at my eyes again, noticed I had dry eyes and indeed did suffer with blepharitis. When I asked whether this would cause a problem with the surgery or after he said it would not. By then I was more nervous than ever due to the blepharitis being missed the first time and went home with my head in a daze. Convinced that something was amiss I immediately started researching Optical Express online.

I then stumbled upon this site and read that for LASEK Optical Express surgeons use a chemical called Mitomycin C (MMC), used to treat cancer patients and the long term effects on eyes unknown. It has been suggested that MMC can cause corneal melts and other problems. I called the branch and asked which chemicals were used. The guy working on the counter (Nick) assured me they only used ethanol (pure alcohol) and asked if I had any further questions. I then specifically asked about Mitomycin C when he immediately changed his tune and said they use that too but only a very small dosage. I asked whether it was possible not to use this chemical and he said it was at the discretion of the surgeon but more than likely not.

Now with very serious concerns I called the branch again to ask about cancelling or postponing the surgery but was told that if I did this I would lose my £2785 payment as they have a no refund policy after 72hrs. I was shocked as I was not told of this when I paid.

I was misled and mis-sold the surgery by Marcus (the branch manager) who took my money despite my suffering from depression and without prior consent from my GP.

I called the Cambridge OE branch asking whether surgery could go ahead without my doctors consent, to which Nick told me it was at the discretion of the surgeon but more than likely yes.

This means Optical Express are willing to override a GP's advice to risk the health of their patients just for the sake of money and statistics.

I went to my GP the following day and we discussed laser eye surgery. As I only had a few days to get the consent form signed with it Christmas and New Year approaching, he said I should really consider whether the risks are worth it.

I returned the following day and we had a lengthy discussion which he summarised by saying that with my depression, dependency on good vision for my job, personal problems and other health issues, I was unfit for surgery and proceeded to write a letter stating such.

I have been in touch with OE head office who have been particularly unhelpful, refusing to refund my money until I can provide this letter. I am able to do so, but I am sickened that OE offer such a poor ethical conduct, deliberately mislead their customers, take payment without informed consent from other medical professionals and are only interested in as much profit as they can make at the risk and well being of completely unsuitable candidates.

Optical Express took my money despite my not having signing a contract, despite my suffering from a blatant contraindicator for laser eye surgery, despite my suffering from depression, despite a form stating I did not receive my GP's consent.

If OE refuses to refund my payment, I will certainly be taking them to the small claims court to recover my money.

This is *EXACTLY* my experience. Paid deposit and full amount, then literally a day later or two say they've 'accidentally' missed my prior depression note. Thus I start to talk to my GP about it and he suggests at least waiting some time and then reassessing.

I went back to Optical Express (Friday) and am still awaiting any kind of refund call-back from them today (Monday) - though they can happily take money in-store, they can't do any refunds...
Popped in again today and they're 'emailing' the refunds department again, but suggested I may need a GPs note, and it's they can do.

Why the hell do I need to take time off work and spend £20 for a Doctor's letter because they f*cked up in the first place!? The audacity is quite unnerving, and there's absolutely noway I will now trust them to go forward with surgery in 6months/a years time (I'll probably never do it with anyone else either considering the feedback on this site).

Decided Against Surgery! 27 Jan 2014 12:26 #565

  • Radhia
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Having already decided not to go ahead with RLE surgery, earlier this year I was repeatedly chased by OE sales team offering financial incentives.

I said I'd think about it, until finally succumbing to continued sales pressure when I agreed to attend a consultation at their Harley Street clinic in August.

Salesperson Claire Donnelly then told me it was necessary to take a £500 deposit over the 'phone to secure an appointment, but that it was fully refundable should I decide not to go ahead with surgery. I said that I didn't have the money until my salary came into my account on or around 25/26th August. I was called back on the 26/27th and the deposit was taken.

Unfortunately, after my consult at Harley Street on 5 September 2013, further online research uncovered disturbing information concerning Optical Express and the serious problems suffered by many of your patients.

For example contraindications for conditions such as dry eyes, which I have. and also I read about one patient who was given the wrong RLE prescription at their Harley street clinic and one of their surgeons allegedly being investigated by the GMC with charges of negligence made by more than one patient.

On that basis I determined I would not consider surgery with OE and therefore cancelled my surgery.

Contrary to what their sales person told me at the time of payment, I was then told that my £500 deposit was only refundable within 24 hours of it being made. My consultation was 10 days after my deposit was taken.

My deposit was taken without full disclosure of information that would have stopped me entering into any agreement with their company. I therefore do not accept that OE has a legal right to keep my deposit. Not only did your Sales person tell me my deposit would be refunded should I decide not to undergo surgery, but their claim that the lenses had already been ordered conflicts with what I was told by the staff member at their Harley Street Clinic who explained that they could not be ordered until I returned the signed loan agreement, which I most definitely have not signed - or returned.

Even with guarantees of successful surgery, I would not wish to do business with such a company that insists on holding onto your money when infact they ought not. I need help to recover my money please

Decided Against Surgery! 22 Jan 2014 19:22 #566

  • Roberta
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I had no call from OE like Damian did, instead I received a text with the offer of "laser eye surgery for only £2795 and 18 months interest free credit..."

So now I'm even more angry because it's like they are mocking me!

Refund Agreed!! 21 Jan 2014 16:23 #567

  • Damian Tingle
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Just a quick update regarding the issues I posted previously

On Monday I got a call from Optical Express head office asking what my current feelings were towards the situation when I told them that I was intending to go to the small claims court to get my deposit back. They then agreed to give me a full refund of my deposit! :lol:

I was told that someone would call me today, which I was a little skeptical about, but they have called me and sent an email confirming my deposit refund! I should get this within the next 3-5 working days!

Cannot thank Sasha enough for the help she gave me at a time when I thought I had no other options than I stated. Thanks a lot!

Sales lies! 20 Jan 2014 15:38 #568

  • Dave P
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I can relate to the comments regarding the sales people. I was told in my consultation that I would have improved night vision if I opted for wavefront lasik. She had no idea what my night vision was like at the time! It was in fact exceptionally good, I remember checking old street lamps for halos after the consultation and there was virtually nothing there. Of course now my night vision is much worse. What a total liar.

I want my deposit back!! 19 Jan 2014 14:20 #569

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Unfortunately I have had the same experience as many of you, but luckily all they were able to take from me was £400 deposit!

I have a very high prescription, -10 in both eyes. I am Italian and in December I needed to find an eye doctor in the UK. Looking on the internet I found Optical Express and saw an advert for free eye surgery. Just out of curiosity, I completed the online contact form and within one minute someone called me and talked me into going for a free consultation.

I told them from the beginning that I was not sure I was suitable for laser surgery because my prescription is so high.

From the start they tried to convince me in any way they could to have iLasik surgery telling me it was a new procedure and was completely safe for my eyes. The initial price was £5,000 but then they said they'd call head office and see if they could get a discount. Then they said they had permission to offer me a big discount so it would only cost me £3,000, but only if I paid a deposit of £400 immediately.

(I found out that iLasik was advertised at that time at a FIXED price of £2,895)

It's difficult to refuse the chance to pay £3,000 instead of 5,000 in a moment when you can think only of the advantages of such a decision.

By the way, I am a psychologist with 20 years experience and should have understood these manipulative strategies, so I want to reassure those who feel guilty for taking such a decision that you are perfectly normal to have fallen for their tactics, they are the ones who are guilty, using high sales pressure in an immoral way with no care for professional ethics!

After administering drops to dilate the pupils I was asked to sign a form, and I couldn’t even think of reading the clauses of the contract as it wasn't possible. Also my English is not very good. (My friend has helped me write this)

I paid £400 deposit with their assurance that I could change my mind, but they did not talk about a cancellation refund deadline of 24 hours.

But you don’t think you need to worry when you are dealing with doctors: we expect to trust those who take care of our health without any doubts.

My surgery was booked for 17 December, but before then I had a cough and tried many times to speak to someone at OE but no-one answered my calls.

They finally called me and booked a new appt for the 8 January at Reading. I still had a cough so I only went to talk to an Italian surgeon (Mr Luca Antico) who suggested I considered Refractive Lens Exchange instead of laser.

I was also reassured by the store manager that I could decide on any kind of surgery and if I didn't go ahead my deposit would be refunded. The cost of RLE was much higher and they said I could have a big discount on this too.

My confusion and my doubts became bigger... it was not possible in my opinion that a patient should decide what kind of operation is the best in his/her case.

I asked to talk with other surgeons but in the days following I understood that I was going to make a big mistake to trust them, and I still didn’t know what I do now about the bad results of surgeries so many patients have had at OE.

So, still confident of their good intentions, they had promised to refund my deposit, a week ago I made my decision and spoke to Louise on the phone asking how to arrange a refund. She said: "I will call you tomorrow" but it was not so.

I called every day (more than once) to talk to Louise and every time she was busy or on a break. She didn't call me until Friday afternoon (2 days ago) when, almost as if it was good news for me, she told me that my deposit is not refundable.

Now I am very upset and angry, not only for me but also for all the other people who are not aware of their rights or maybe don't know the existence of this website.

At this point, and after reading about the experience of others, I won't be happy only being refunded as I will be thinking of those who resigned themselves to losing their money. Mainly, I can't be happy thinking of other people who are going to meet the same fate as so many people who have had their eyesight damaged for the rest of their lives.

I consider myself a lucky person because they did not touch my eyes. Nevertheless I want my money back!

Decided Against Surgery! 16 Jan 2014 17:44 #570

  • Tomasz Adamski
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I had an appointment at Optical Express in Southampton West Quay yesterday to find out whether I was suitable for laser eye treatment and was told that I'm the perfect candidate - I'm guessing now that's what they tell everyone!

They told me that the operation procedure changed recently and there is no longer any risk, promised the worst that can happen is that there will be no change to my vision. They also told me the sooner I do it the better the outcome will be.

The optometrist Alberto told me I'm only 20 yrs old which is the perfect age and that my vision would remain good after surgery until I'm around 45.

At some point I was unsure about everything so the sales counsellor, Dan, left me to talk to my parents in private for 2 minutes. When he returned he told me that it's illegal to drive a car in UK with my vision without glasses. I told him that it's not a problem for me to drive with glasses, but he kept repeating that it's illegal to drive without glasses - like I didn't know that?!

This shows how desperate he was to get a deal with me. He also told me that I had to pay a deposit and make an appointment quickly because their special offer finishes at the end of the month and there were only 2 places left. He also told me the deposit is fully refundable and there would be no problem getting a refund.

By this time both Dan and Alberto were talking to me and putting lost of pressure on me.

When my parents and I asked what was the guarantee if something went wrong they told us they have insurance worth millions so I didn't have anything to worry about. They kept telling me there is only 1% risk (or even less) and the worst that could happen was that my vision would not change.

Convinced, I was about to go for Finance option, but I wanted to have some time to think it through, so they told me to pay a deposit of £200 and then come back before the treatment to complete the finance agreement.

They booked my treatment for 29 January even though I was telling them that I might change my mind, but they told me that there will be no problem to get a deposit refund. So I said OK, if my deposit can be returned I have nothing to lose and some time to decide.

As you can see from the time of my post it took me less than a couple hours to decide that I don't want to do any business with Optical Express.

At the store I paid £200 deposit which took seconds for them to take from my account, I didn't sign anything, just received a folder with the Terms and Conditions, told to sign before I returned, and given my payment receipt.

Today I call the Optical Express in Southampton West Quay and told them that I want to cancel and please refund my deposit.

They told me they couldn't deal with it (but they took my money) and to call a different number (0800 023 20 20). I called that number and when someone finally answered they told me that I will have to wait 48 hours for someone to contact me.

I won't wait 48hrs, if I don't receive a call by midday tomorrow with the money credited straight back to my card then I will report them to my bank and Trading Standards.

Optical Express lied to me by not giving me honest and accurate information desperate to take my money. They put pressure on me to pay £200 deposit - luckily for me it was only £200, unlike Damian!

My parents were witnesses to all the lies I was told and I can't think what would happened if I'd agreed to the treatment.
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