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America's Best - America's Best is anything but
Posted on Thursday, June 24th, 2010 at 11:57pm CDT by a547b5b8
Product: contact lens eye exam & lens purchase
Company: America's Best
Location: LAWRENCEVILLE, GA, 30046, US
Category: Products, Services
I'd like to share my recent and continuing experience with a local store of America's Best.
When I set the appointment, I was told to speak with an employee on the day of the eye exam regarding contacts pricing; I spoke with three, none would provide me with lens pricing, each evading the question.
During a very brief eye exam, one of the least thorough I've ever had in more than 30 years of wearing contacts, I was told my current brand of several years was not prescribed very much any more. (It's still among the leading best sellers, I've since confirmed.) I was offered a pair of contacts to try, without being told what brand they were, pricing, etc.
The employee that checked us out was very rude. I asked about pricing for eyeglasses for my wife. He never looked away from his computer display while I was speaking with him. He seemed upset that we didn't wish to become Club Members, an offer of this business that allows lower cost eye exams and discounts on lens purchases for payment of a $99 fee. All he did was make a motion with his hand as if to show us where the eyeglasses could be found on the walls. Why a grumpy, unmotivated employee is given the responsibility of being the point-of-contact with your customers at time of payment is beyond me.
I phone today, trying to compare prices and determine availability so I would be sufficiently prepared to make an informed decision when I am to return for the follow-up eye exam next week. The first AB employee said he could not give me the prescription information, but did tell me that the lens given to me was "like a store brand". I asked to speak with the eye doctor. After being on hold another AB employee came on the line, said the eye doctor was not available, and she would not divulge to me my prescription, that it was "not finalized". She said I could sue her if she told me this information because of HIPAA laws. I'm the patient. Like any other discussion such as this, she could have asked for information to verify my identity, or allow me to speak with the eye doctor as requested.
I tried to explain that, particularly because I've been unemployed since early '09 our money is very tight, I was simply trying to determine best pricing and availability of my lenses, and that I really wanted to buy the lenses from America's Best, provided they could do better on the lens pricing. Their pricing proved to be extremely high compared to virtually any other business selling contact lenses.
The lens for which I sought information has but one diameter, and two base curves, and is available for a range of powers. All that I needed to know so that I may check for pricing and availability was the base curve for the lenses given to me to try. That's part of my prescription.
There was no movement whatsoever. Essentially I was told I must return to the office, an additional, roughly 25-mile one-way trip that we can't afford, and speak with the eye doctor in person. I was told he may decide to give me a prescription for a lens that is more affordable.
The employee questioned why I would have driven so far in the first place, and I replied that it was because when I set the eye exam appointment with her a few weeks back she said the business would consider meeting or beating pricing from the competition and that I should ask about this on the day of my exam. The pricing for the eye exam therefore made sense at that time. I explained that in addition to my contacts, I'll need a pair of glasses, my wife needs an exam and glasses, etc., and that we'd be interested in keeping all of our business with America's Best if the service and pricing was good.
Asking why there was no interest in moving on the pricing (roughly $10 more per box for the lenses I'm trying, $15 more per box than my current lenses, each if bought elsewhere), why it seemed as if this employee wished to refuse my business, she said she was not refusing my business. But in fact any time I spoke about pricing her response was that if I, like any one else, was not happy with their pricing, I should just buy my lenses elsewhere. That's telling me take-it-or-leave-it. I just can't fathom in this economy a business holding fast to such a policy.
At this point I'm stuck having to incur further expense to drive to-and-from this AB location for the eye doctor to simply provide me with my prescription. I've already paid in full for the eye exam. That prescription should be mine and, because I've paid in full, I believe it already is. I hoped to do business with AB for this contact lens purchase as well as in the future and, as I note, for purchase of glasses. But under these circumstances?
I called AB Customer Service and left a message, but no one bothered to call back. After this pair of lenses, I have none. I need to buy contact lenses and have them shipped to me promptly so that I may see properly, and I'd really like to move forward here rather than be stuck as I am at this point.
This place is a rip-off. Its eye exams are cheap ($69 for contact exam) and how brief and cursory that exam was shows why it's so cheap. But to hold me hostage now, not releasing my prescription so that I may purchase the same lens at a more affordable price -- that's just wrong.