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29 July 2010 @ 09:44 pm
Product/service rec + anti-rec: Optical shops/products  
I've been meaning to provide recommendations for products or services that pleased me, as well as anti-recs for those that haven't. So today I bring an anti-rec for LensCrafters, as well as recs for Oakley sunglasses and the Mansfield (MA) Eye Center.


I bought a pair of prescription sunglasses from LensCrafters. I'd previously been satisfied with their service and they were convenient, if overpriced. Their affiliated optometrist left me waiting for approximately two hours between dilation and the associated eye-check, so I had plenty of time to wander around looking at styles, and I eventually chose a regular frame for most times and a pair of Oakleys for sunglasses.

About a month ago, I was removing the sunglasses and one of the arms came away completely from the front frame. (In many cases, this would be due to sitting on them, but I never have; however, my face is skewed relative to unadjusted glasses frames, and I suspect the adjustments to them put too much strain on one of the pieces.) I brought them in to see if they could be repaired and was immediately given the "we'll give you half off a new pair" pitch. I pressed and eventually got the rep to check if a repair was possible, or if they might have the right parts to replace only the broken element(s). This process took a surprisingly long time, and the rep was consistently confused, eventually recommending that I call Oakley myself to find out if I could get a replacement front frame. (How was I to contact them? Well, I could check the internet or something, she supposed.) Unless I wanted to just buy a new pair from them, of course. I decided to investigate further and just use tape or some other binding agent in the interim. The rep strongly indicated I shouldn't use duct tape and offered to tape them for me. I agreed, thinking that an optical shop would have a much more suitable binding agent.

She used desk tape. The clear stuff that's also used to wrap gifts (or, on my desk, collect dust). Desk tape.

I went home and found a contact for Oakley. That rep told me that they could repair/replace frames, but the type of break I was describing would require a full-frame replacement. He quoted me a price and indicated that, due to California state law, they could not accept prescription lenses directly from a consumer; I would have to have my optical shop send them in. He was very apologetic about this requirement.

When I called them to arrange this, LensCrafters flat-out refused. That wasn't their policy; they would not assist me in any way beyond offering me half off a new pair.

I checked Oakley's retailers and found the Mansfield Eye Center of Mansfield, MA. I called them, and their rep had to put me on hold to ask someone else for each stage of the process (and to be fair, it's an unusual request), but she thought they could send the glasses in for me for $30 shipping plus whatever Oakley charged. I went in as soon as I could after that. At her suggestion and then with a little pressure from me, the rep called Oakley while I was there and got a (different) quote, with the caveat that the repair/replacement might be covered anyway. The MEC rep therefore had me pay the $30 up-front but hold off on any other charges. She was helpful and polite throughout.

It took several weeks (which the Oakley rep had warned for and the MEC rep had relayed), but my sunglasses are now whole and back in my possession ... and Oakley did in fact repair them for no charge, under warranty.

I therefore intend to give my future optical business to the Mansfield Eye Center and to make sure Oakley is in my shortlist for future sunglasses purchases. I will also no longer be patronizing LensCrafters and cannot recommend them.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth | Comment | comment count unavailable comments
 
 
 
Sophia: TDS: Stewart: hmm...no.sophia_sol on July 30th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC)
Well then.

I've always used lenscrafters myself, buuut I think after this I shall definitely be staying away.
michelel72: DW-Doctor-Sadfacemichelel72 on July 30th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
I've had good service from one of their locations (many, many years ago), but I really don't think they can be trusted as a brand to provide consistently good service. It's a shame; they are convenient. But working with customers would seem to be a far more effective strategy ... or so I'd think ....