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February 08, 2008

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Yes, with a little initiative you can avoid all sorts of scams -- and a "scam" is exactly what the optician-optometrist racket is!

A hundred years ago, people bought glasses from a vendor on a truck, and occasionally, the choice was incorrect or injurious.

A group of schemers sought to capitalize on this, and successfully lobbied, in all the United States, to prevent the dispensing of eyeglasses by anyone other than state-licensed practitioners, who called themselves "optometrists."

As the name implies, these practitioners are "metricians" only, that is, their job is to take measurements. They are not physicians, but merely paraprofessionals, with minimal standing in the medical community. Yet they successfully convinced state legislatures to allow them to adopt the title of "doctor," which is totally misleading, especially among people who are poor and ignorant.

As time went on, these paraprofessionals were able to enforce a virtual monopoly on the dispensement of eyeglasses, and in 20th-century America, the price of a pair of eyeglasses became inflated to 100-200 times beyond its value, and most people became reduced to owning only one or two pairs.

This was only eased in more recent times, when it has become possible to purchase a limited number of strengths (+1.00 thru +3.00), over-the-counter, for as little as a dollar. Naturally, this has aroused the greatest objections from the optometry industry.

A dollar, in my estimation, is just about what a pair of eyeglasses is physically worth. All the rest is frills, and there is no reason today why one should not own dozens of pairs of eyeglasses, of many different styles, and several different strengths, for various occasions.

The work of the optometrist consists of nothing more than common sense in sitting a customer down -- in a specially appointed, pseudo-medical-office environment -- and in approximating the customer's own responses as to "which is better, A or B; which is better, B or C?" As a true paraprofessional, the optometrist is also trained to be watchful for signs of eye disease, but if any such sign is apparent, there is absolutely no recourse other than to enlist the help of the professional, namely, the opthalmologist.

In every case, however, the optometrist parades around like a doctor, ripping-off customers for hundreds and hundreds of dollars for services which have more to do with decor and demeanor than anything else. The only reason they get away with it is because of the state-legislative regulations which were enacted a century ago.

Optometrists do help people see, which is incredibly helpful. They operate fancy equipment, something I couldn't do. They charge for these services and then charge again in the form of overpriced glasses.

I don't mind being charged for having my degree of blindness measured, but it needs to be seen as a totally separate purchase than that of the prescription glasses themselves. We're beginning to learn the true cost of manufacturing RX glasses thanks to the emerging market of online eyewear retailers.

I'm not anti-optometrist, I'm just pro-consumer.

I got a pair from zennioptical.com for $8. Great glasses, incredibly cheap. I may get another pair soon. If anyone is looking, I'd check them out.

What a timely article. I just placed an order with bestbuyeyeglasses.com today; their customer service was great and I easily saved $200 armed with my prescription and the size of my current glasses.

Unlike Tony, my wife just recently bought glasses from a chain store (Pearlevision) and I won't even till you the price because I am embarrassed how much we paid now. This article is very useful and will be using it in the future. Thanks.

Better to know late over never! I used to pay well over $200 for my frames, and one time I chose a top-of-the-line model which hit almost $450. Yikes. No more, though. Here's to the informed consumer!

Hmm,

No doubt the Freemasons and The Bohemian Club are in on this too.

I'll continue seeing the eye guy annually, but am finished buying my contacts & glasses through eye doctors and similar.

I bought a pair of name brand glasses and saved over $200 easily on go-optic.com. Make sure you have all the measurements, I had to call my last optician to get my pupil spacing, something I never heard of before.

I've purchased four pair online for about $60. I have no complaints and will never purchase from a brick and mortor ever again.

What I did do, however, was visit my local Lens Crafters (and another, the name of which escapes me now) and spied their selection of frames. That gave me the opportunity to try a few on to see if I liked them.

Take your time with the measurements and you won't be disappointed.

I have purchased many times from Zenni Optical and have been more than happy! I recommend them to anyone!
But not bestbuyeyeglasses! I placed an order with them and have not even received a shipping confirmation or any response to my e-mails.
Don't go there!!

Excessive Shipping Charges and Poor Customer Service

I purchased a Burberry frame priced at 169.99 USD, and paid 16.95 USD for shipping to Canada with UPS Ground Service as stated on the company's website.

When I received the product I had to pay additional 50 CAD to UPS, 8.50 CAD were for the standard Goods and Service Tax (GST) and the remaining 41CAD !!!! were for brokerage fees to UPS in addition to the shipping fees already paid to BestBuyEyeGlasses. The Canadian Border Services Agency does not charge duty of prescription eyeglass frames.

I called BestBuyEyeGlasses.com to inquire about the additional brokerage fee charged by UPS and questioned them if they were aware about the extra fees I had to pay. The customer service representative first tried to convince me that it was duty and taxes, I stated that on the UPS invoice it clearly states that it is a brokerage fee. I had already spoken to UPS and the Canada Border Services Agency and had a good understanding regarding the fees. UPS had also informed me that by choosing UPS ground service, BestBuyEyeGlasses.com acquired unnecessary brokerage fees on my behalf and should have sent the product by air instead.

To make a long story short, the three customer service representatives from BestBuyEyeGlasses (and their manager) were unhelpful and uninformed. The manager informed me that they were aware about the brokerage fee and therefore has a statement on the web page indicating that the purchase could be subject to brokerage fees. Interestingly enough they did not consider important to state the amount of the brokerage fee on their web site and choose the most expensive mode of shipping.

I requested to speak to the owner of the company, but the customer service representative told me that she did not know who the owner was.

BestBuyEyeGlasses.com also omitted to sign the Certificate of Authenticity and the Certificate of Guarantee, which invalidates the 24-month warranty on the frame. This also raises questions about the authenticity of the product that I received.

In summary I would not recommend this company to anyone purchasing prescription frames from Canada.

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