Blurry text clearing up through eyeglass - medical optics concept

It’s time again to hear from you via a guest blog post (but really, I like hearing from you all the time: guest blogs, comments, G+ posts, etc.). Susan Bowen has a bone to pick with Island Eyecare in Victoria, BC. To summarize: bad communication and a lot of driving. Let’s let Susan tell it: 

“I used a Groupon at a local optometrist and got lousy service.

I already have a great eye doctor looking after me, my friends and family. Dr. Steven Taylor at Mayfair Optical. I have never had any complaints about their service or their products. But I was looking for an inexpensive pair of glasses to have as a spare and the Groupon seemed to offer that AND a free pair of readers.

First Contact

So on Friday November 2, 2012, I went to Island EyeCare, Oak Bay office, with a $40 Groupon and my prescription from Dr Taylor and explained that I was looking for an inexpensive pair of spare glasses. I was offered progressive lenses.  I was dismayed that the glasses were going to cost $700 and verbalized this to Lisa, the person who served me. At no time was I offered a less expensive alternative. Not being an optometrist, I assumed that because the prescription was for progressive lenses that was my only option.  I opted to go without the non-glare coating in an attempt to keep the price down. I chose a style that came with sunglass clip-ons thinking that would extend the usefulness of this spare pair of glasses.


Location, Location, Location and Lenses

I was called on Monday, November 5th and told the glasses were ready. I said I would be in to pick them up on Saturday, November 10th and was informed that the office would be closed for Remembrance Day but open on Monday, November 12. I had that day off work for the holiday and said I would be in to pick them up.  As I was getting ready to leave the house, I received another call from Island EyeCare to remind me my glasses were ready and I said I was on my way to pick them up.  When I arrived at the Oak Bay store, it was closed. I was very annoyed as I had spoken to them just 10 minutes earlier. I returned home and called the office and received no answer, so I called the downtown store. Sure enough, my glasses were there. At no time did anyone tell me that the glasses were downtown at the Broughton Street store and I hadn’t had any contact with this branch and didn’t even know it existed.

The glasses were sent to the Oak Bay store and I went in the following Saturday to pick them up. I didn’t think the prescription was right as the focus on the outer edges of both lenses was blurry. Numerous adjustments were made to the nose pads and the frame but it didn’t help. I was encouraged to wear the glasses for a couple of weeks and assured that my ‘eyes would adjust’.  After three weeks of feeling like I had tunnel vision, I still felt that there was something wrong and took the glasses to my regular optometrist who examined them and declared that the frame was crooked and that could be causing the blurriness. I went to Island Eyecare’s downtown office because I had lost faith in the Oak Bay branch and explained that I was unhappy with the glasses and further adjustments were made to the frame. I tried them for a few more days with no improvement. I returned again to the downtown store and at that point was offered new “computer lenses” as a compromise. I agreed and new lenses were ordered.

Refund? We Don’t Do Stinkin’ Refunds 

When I came to pick up the new glasses, no mention was made of these lenses being less expensive. It occurred to me that there might be a difference in cost and when I asked, I was told they were approximately $300 cheaper and that I would get a credit. I asked for a printed copy of the credit note but was told she couldn’t do this. At this point, I also enquired about the magnetic sunglass clip-ons that came with the original frame. They weren’t given to me at the time I first picked up the order. The search began for the matching sunglass clip-ons but they were in Oak Bay so I had to travel to Oak Bay again to get them. Are we keeping track here? By this point I had been to the Oak Bay store three times and the downtown store twice. I had my computer lenses (which are fine) the free readers and the sunglass clip-ons and they have $300+ of my money. I was feeling uncomfortable about not having anything in writing to say I had over $300 in credit at a business that I have had a bad experience with.

badmood 200x300 Island Eyecare: Seeing Your Way to Better Customer Service I went to the Oak Bay store on Friday, February 8th (4th visit)  to enquire about getting the credit refunded and again asked for a printed copy of the credit statement. I was told she (Lisa again) couldn’t provide a printed copy and that the policy is not to give refunds “as clearly stated under their policy on their website”. She (Lisa) said she would speak to the business manager (Jag Bains) about it and call me on February 11. On February 13, I still hadn’t heard anything so I called and spoke to Sarah and explained the situation. She said she would have Lisa call me or ask herself and get back to me. I waited for two days and still no response so I phoned again (Friday February 15). I could tell Lisa was getting tired of hearing from me. She said she had been busy and had several excuses for not returning my call and then said that the policy was not to give refunds and that was the end of it. I told her I was in the communications business and that I would be twittering, blogging, emailing, filing a complaint with the BBB, etc. and her response was basically, “go ahead and do whatever you feel you must but the answer isn’t going to change.” No refunds. Apparently they have never heard of the power of social media to turn customers against a business providing bad service.

Last Word

At every turn, dealing with Island EyeCare has been a disappointing and frustrating experience. I have requested a refund of my $300+ and they refuse, quoting their policy. I’m particularly frustrated that they will not provide a written credit statement. I do not want to ever use their services again and want my money refunded.  They have suggested that I purchase $300 sunglasses, something I wouldn’t normally do and certainly not from them.

What could they have done differently? Offered me a less expensive alternative on my first visit when I was resistant to spend $700 for spare glasses for starters. How about an apology for the bad experience and poor customer experience and offer a refund? Be more astute to the power of social media to publicize bad customer service experiences which negates any money they might spend on advertizing to draw customers into their stores.

I’m determined to get my money refunded. I’ve filed a complaint with the BBB but I’m not hopeful it will be effective.

Thanks for sharing your story, Susan. What do you think of Susan’s story? Was the optometry in the wrong or could Susan have done more? Please share. 


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  • Alysa J

    You seriously are the guru of complaints. No one cares who kissed your ass and put up with your complaints. I would hate to have to encounter you. What have you ever done for anyone else????? Post something where you went and did something for someone without complaining and the person was hostile to begin with. How did you defuse the situation? I think until you are able to achieve a hard goal like that then you still don’t have the right to judge the customer service industry. What would you say if you didn’t have the product? Or couldn’t produce what the customer wanted… would you still keep them a customer. I would like you to imagine that you had to encounter yourself, unfortunately there are others out there like you with a twisted sense of pride mixed with obnoxiousness.

  • Alysa J

    Susan you get back what you put out there.

  • Eleanor

    I see this review and the comments on it were written some time ago, but
    I am going to add mine anyway. In light of the experience I had with
    Island Eye Care, I agree with the reviewer that this business has poor
    customer service in the front of the house. I don’t agree that the
    reviewer is “the guru of complaints” and that she put something “out
    there” she deserved to “get back”.
    I have been going to the Broughton
    Street store for many years through many changes of ownership. I liked
    Dr. Narang when I met her for my eye exam. I felt confident in her
    abilities as a doctor and she was friendly and accommodating to me as a
    patient. However, at the end of my appointment, when it came to getting
    my prescription for glasses filled, I felt I was steered by the optical
    staff to the most expensive frames and upsold with add-ons to an
    alarming degree. A pair of glasses with all the options the Dr’s husband
    assured me I needed, would have ended up costing me $1300.00!! Needless
    to say, I did not order glasses that day. I excused myself, saying I
    needed to think about it and never went back. I felt I had very
    obviously been viewed as an open wallet from which to pluck as many
    bills as possible. I had no idea what I actually needed and what was a
    just a money maker for the store. To top it off, a few months later, a
    staff member phoned to tell me I had an outstanding bill of $1300.00. It
    took me a moment to realize that, in anticipation of my return, there
    been some sort of pre-order drawn up which had confused the bookkeeper. I
    am seriously debating whether to return to Island Eye Care for my next
    eye exam or find another place to go — hence my looking up reviews and stumbling upon this discussion.

  • Russel Lolacher

    Hi Eleanor,
    Thanks for sharing your experience, I’m glad you did. It’s interesting that the technical service provided (good) doesn’t actually match the customer service (pushy/bad). I wonder if the front end staff are told to push the hard sell or if there’s a commission for getting additional costs added on. Either way, it really sounds like they are going about it in a way that is pushing customers, like yourself, away. There’s far too much competition in eye clinics, including online, for this to be tolerable.