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Refusing £2,000 deposit refund!! 16 Jan 2014 16:59 #571

  • Damian Tingle
  • Damian Tingle's Avatar
I attended a consultation at the Optical Express clinic in Leeds last summer and despite the pressure to try and get a deposit from me immediately I decided to think about it for a while, because of the cost.

Then they sent an email with a discount offer of £3,490 so I decided to go ahead. They called me and I made a £2,000 initial payment intending to look at finance for the balance.

I had a second consultation two weeks before the scheduled iLasik Wavefront surgery but wasn't given any forms, they just did a few scans, said it was fine and set me up with some glasses to wear for 7 days before surgery as I was told I couldn't wear contact lenses.

On the day of the surgery, 10th January, they gave me forms to complete then took me for some extra scans. After which the surgeon pulled me in to a room and stated I was not suitable for Lasik due to the size of my cornea. I then had a call from head office to say they were reviewing my files.

I asked for a full refund as I have lost confidence in them and didn't want Lasek, but they told me the £2,000 I paid was a non-refundable deposit!

I told them I was not informed of this but they would not budge, just stated that I either go through with Lasek or lose £2,000.

I have just spoken to a manager at Optical Express Head Office who stated that I was sent the information pack via email on 28th November and that as far as they are concerned this was all the notice they needed to give for withholding my deposit.

Despite me stating that I do not remember seeing this form in the email, they stated it was provided in an information pack that I was initially given at my consultation - which was months ago! - and as far as they're concerned this is enough to warrant them not giving me a refund.

If I dont get my money back I have told them I'm taking this to the Small Claims Court because, apart from this being illegal I'm sure, I paid for Lasik not Lasek. But they're also telling me "no", that I signed for "laser eye surgery" even though the email I received form Kirsty Smith (OE Customer Care) states iLasik!


Decided Against Surgery! 15 Jan 2014 12:56 #572

  • allison mcintosh
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At my first consultation at OE I was given a full assessment for laser surgery and drops put into my eyes that affected my vision so I could not focus. I was asked not to drive for about an hour after this as my vision was really bad, and at this point they had me sign a agreement form and I paid £400 deposit.

I did tell them that I couldn't see it to sign as my vision was that poor. I went into M&S afterwards and walked past my aunt who was upset because she thought I was ignoring her!

After booking surgery for the 23 September 2013, I went into OE Aberdeen store to pay my final installment on the 31st August when a patient arrived complaining about problems post surgery and another called complaining about theirs.

This made me feel very uneasy and after googling further details about surgeon Joanna McGraw my attention was drawn to worrying reports on www.opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk

When I asked about Joanna McGraw during my initial consultation I was told she had done 30,000 procedures and was very good at what she does. I asked if she'd ever had any complaints and was told "absolutely not". I now know that I was misled and the truth withheld, that she is under investigation with the GMC and apparently being sued.

Ootical Express also ignored the fact that I have Dry eyes and I've recently been diagnosed with Sjögren's syndrome which is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks glands that secrete fluid, such as the tear and saliva glands.

I cancelled my surgery and was refunded most of the payment but have been told that my £400 deposit is non refundable. Stephen Hannan offered me "gift vouchers"!!

I will be taking further action to get my deposit refunded.

Decided Against Surgery! 13 Jan 2014 10:14 #573

  • Caz
  • Caz's Avatar
After finding this site two days ago I sent the following message to Sasha:

"I have booked and paid to have my Wavefront Intralase Lasik surgery at Harley Street tomorrow. Jonathan Carr will be my surgeon. I have just come across your site having thought I’d better do some research on this. My prescription is -6.0 and -7.0 and I have bad astigmatism and dry eyes. However I was told as my dry eyes were caused by years of contact lens wear and not affecting my cornea that it was fine to go ahead. However, my Boots optician advised me that I wasn’t a good candidate for laser surgery."

Sasha called me almost immediately and with her help, after cancelling my surgery, I sent this to David Moulsdale:

"Dear Mr Moulsdale,

I have cancelled my surgery scheduled for Saturday 11 January at Harley Street after reading some frightening facts about Optical Express' surgical results on the internet.

I believe the optometrist was negligent in selling this surgery to me when she was aware I have DES which I now know to be a contraindicator for such surgery.

I therefore expect my payment to be refunded in full without delay.

Sasha told me to expect a call from OE trying to persuade me to go ahead, but first I received this email from Stephen Hannan in answer to the one I sent to David Moulsdale:

"Dear Ms C_____

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

Whilst we in no way agree there has been any negligence in your care we will refund you in full. One of my colleagues will be in contact to discuss our refund process in more detail with you.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Hannan MCOptom
Clinical Services Director
Optical Express

Yesterday I had a call from a woman in the cancellation department. Sasha was right, she tried everything to get me to change my mind, quoting this and that, telling me that they wouldn't perform surgery if there was any risk to my eyes or sight... they do thousands of operations a week up and down the country... 99% success rate etc etc... Anyway I wasn't having any of it and I said I was not going to take that 1% risk due to my dry eyes, as it was not worth it to me. She then started saying I could not get the deposit back, only the balance, to which I quoted Stephen's email above. After a lot more discussion she finally agreed and said someone would contact me to get my bank details and set up the refund within 28 days!!

Not sure why they can take the money from my card immediately but take 28 days to repay it, but I've contacted my credit card company and will let you know what happens.
admin: Stephen Hannan is fully aware that a patient suffering with DES (Dry eye syndrome) should not have been approved for surgery without first managing the problem. In my opinion both the optometrist and sales 'counsellor' were negligent for having sold this procedure to Caz by withholding the truth.

DEPOSIT REFUND RECEIVED! 05 Jan 2014 16:35 #574

  • Anna
  • Anna's Avatar
Just to let you all know, I too have had a refund from Optical Express following a letter that I sent to David Moulsdale.

Sasha helped draft it and June Moulsdale called me on 2 January by to say that a refund would be processed. This came through on my credit card a few days later.

My sincere thanks to Sasha and the best of luck with her campaign.

DEPOSIT REFUNDED! 03 Jan 2014 21:33 #575

  • Ben S
  • Ben S's Avatar
After my previous post I emailed the CEO (and his PA) with a list of reasons as to why I wanted my deposit back. I decided to wait before sending evidence that I was unfit for surgery as I wanted to see whether I would get a response without it.

I heard nothing by 14:00 the next day - it was time to force their hand.

Shortly after 14:30 I sent an email containing a doctors letter confirming I was unfit for surgery. At 15:07 I received an email from Stephen Hannan stating that the money would be refunded.

Diane, from the customer support desk called after 17:00 on the 2nd January and simply asked for card details to refund the money to, there was no small talk or attempt to get me to change my mind. Today, I have received the full amount I paid back into my bank account.

I would really like to emphasize that Sasha has been absolutely fantastic throughout my ordeal and I do not think I would have gotten this far without her help and wisdom. She really is one of the most selfless people I have had the fortune of communicating with and works tirelessly to help those who need it when they have been let down by organisations who should be offering ethical and professional business practice.

I will continue to monitor this site and I am eager to see how Sasha dismantles Optical Express and improves the refractive eye surgery industry through parliament in the future.

DEPOSIT REFUND 02 Jan 2014 15:41 #576

  • Danny
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  • Posts: 43
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You are lucky in that you've seen first hand how OE operate and conduct their business before they have been let loose on your eyes.

At my consultation they told me I was a perfect candidate for laser surgery (I think they tell this to everyone regardless of suitability) and I stupidly believed them thinking they were professional and had my best interests in mind. My eyes now are pretty much b*ggered as i was unsuitable yet they still took my cash and operated anyway, risking my sight for the sake of a few quid! That is how OE work. Ethical they most certainly are not.

Ignore OE's company policy rubbish, it's the letter of the law that counts here not some trumped up OE idiot. Take comfort in the fact that you never let them near your eyes.

DEPOSIT REFUND 01 Jan 2014 18:44 #577

  • Ben S
  • Ben S's Avatar
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.

DEPOSIT REFUND RECEIVED! 30 Dec 2013 20:09 #578

  • Richard Shields
  • Richard Shields's Avatar
A brief update following my previous post.

I contacted OE today regarding my £300 refund and within minutes they refunded it back to my credit card with no mention of a 28 day wait and I was informed the credit would show on my card within three days depending on which card company I use.

Sasha, I would like to thank you so much for all your help and advice and the numerous calls I received from you.

I am sure that I would have had a hard battle receiving any refund without your help.

I wish for a speedy resolution to anyone awaiting a refund or other resolution regarding eye surgery complications.

I will continue to watch this site and wish you all the best in your campaign against OE and other companies.


Glasgow Renfield Street Clinic agreed refund!! 24 Dec 2013 16:35 #579

  • Richard Shields
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This afternoon I received a telephone call from Vicki at Optical Express. She has informed me that after my telephone conversation with Jamie on 13/12/13, they have reviewed my file and decided that I am in fact entitled to a full refund in this case.

I have been advised that someone from the refund/banking department will be in touch with me by next week and my Visa Card will be refunded in full to the sum of £300. This may take up to 28 days to complete.

I have also contacted my Visa Card Company to update them with the outcome and I have been informed that I should not have to wait 28 days for a refund, this should be processed on the same day.

I will take this matter up directly with Optical Express on Friday 27th December 2013 and post same day to update you with the result of my telephone call.

I am delighted with the outcome and I would like to thank Sasha so much for her help and assistance.

Kind Regards


Merry Christmas & Best Wishes to you all for 2014.

Optical Express Cheltenham 21 Dec 2013 23:55 #580

  • Claire Foley
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If all you have lost is a deposit then please take some comfort in that you have had a blessed escape. I have recently had RLE and am absolutely devastated with the results. My eyesight has been impaired so badly that I am afraid to drive my car! OE have been an absolute disgrace in their follow up to my procedure.
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