Customers’ anger over Optical Express’ response to free aftercare for life claims
High Street laser surgery chain Optical Express has infuriated customers after answering complaints that “lifetime care” promises are not being honoured.
Droves of customers have taken to social media and forums, including A Spokesman Said, to complain that they were told when they paid for laser surgery with the firm that follow ups and aftercare would be free for life.
Many say this promise is what persuaded them to chose to buy the expensive procedures from Optical Express rather than rivals.
They claim that they have now been told that they will have to pay for check ups and any aftercare treatment.
In response Optical Express has now said, in effect, that customers are simply mistaken.
"12 months of free aftercare instead"
A statement said: “For a period of time in 2009 we offered free lifetime aftercare to our laser eye surgery patients.
“As technology developed and the procedure became even more successful, it became clear to our Medical Advisors that the vast majority of patients only required aftercare in the early stages following their surgery. In October 2009, we changed our terms and conditions to offer 12 months of free aftercare instead.”
Why was the lifetime care promise withdrawn?
But this doesn’t tie in with what dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people are saying on social media.
We asked Optical Express why, if patients weren’t having to take up the lifetime care offer, it was withdrawn – wasn't it a great reassurance to give to customers?
More importantly, we also asked them how they could explain why so many people were making the same claims at the same time from all over the country – all of them saying they were told they would have free life-time aftercare.
Surely, the company aren’t suggesting that all these people are confused or mistaken?
Optical Express said they didn’t want to add to their statement by answering these questions.
But customers remain adamant that, even though they didn’t have treatment in 2009, they were verbally promised lifetime aftercare when they were sold the laser treatment in-store.
One angry customer, Katie Adameic, from Leeds, told us she had the laser procedure in 2013 – long after Optical Express claims the lifetime aftercare promise ended.
“I was definitely promised a lifetime of aftercare, including drops. They said it would be for as long as I needed it.”
Katie, 28, said her mother, Jackie, was present when this was said and recalls it clearly.
“When they said I would start having to pay last week, and I queried why, I was told there was a clause in the terms and conditions I signed that said they could vary them.
“I didn’t read through everything, but when you are told something like that you tend to believe what is said. I just don’t see how they can do this!”
Katie said she was originally told her laser treatment would cost £4,000, but received a text later saying, if she booked quickly, she could have a 50% discount, so she went ahead.
She had trouble with dry eyes and had to keep going back as this got worse. Last week she says she was told for the first time she would have to start paying.
Optical Express - offer popular laser eye treatment
Customers share their experiences
Many others say they’ve had the same experience.
Sasha Rodoy, from North London, who campaigns for laser surgery regulation, says she has been contacted by hundreds of people over the last few weeks who tried to book appointments only to be told that they will "no longer receive free aftercare of any description.”
Katherine Willmer, from Nottingham, had surgery in 2007 and is adamant she was promised free lifetime aftercare.
“I paid nearly £3k for surgery and they sold their product to me as life time aftercare with free eye checks for life. No time limit on this service and as many free eye drops as I needed. I had experienced five issues where I needed enhancement procedures, all of which were paid for by them.”
Vanessa Roe, who had her £1,000 laser procedure in Milton Keynes in 2012, said: “I only had it done because of this free lifetime aftercare promise.
“Everyone I spoke to at the shop was banging on about it. They didn’t go into details but free aftercare for life means just that. They can’t just say it’s stopped now! It’s shocking!”
Optical Express employs slick PR agency, The Big Partnership. Perhaps they should urge the company to offer an explanation to all these people as to why they are all under the impression they were sold a free lifetime care promise.
Did they all dream it?
Or did Optical Express’ sales people in branches around the country promise it to customers?
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