• Report: #20687

Complaint Review: LensCrafters

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  • Submitted: Sun, May 12, 2002
  • Updated: Sun, September 05, 2004

  • Reported By:Laurel MD
8650 Governor's Hill Dr. Cincinnati, Ohio U.S.A.

LensCrafters Deceptive Sales Tactics Laurel Maryland

*UPDATE Employee: Two Sides to Every Story

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Lab technicians have varying degrees of talent.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: an optician's point of view

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On Saturday, March 16, 2002 I had an appointment with the independent doctor inside the LensCrafters store in Laurel, Maryland for an eye exam. The appointment went fine, and afterward, I approached members of the LensCrafters sales floor staff, intending to purchase new lenses (with my updated prescription) for my old frames.

The saleswoman asked me to wait for a moment, and took my glasses and the slip with my new prescription to the lab at the rear of the store. However, she returned quickly, and informed me that my frames were too bent, and that I would have to purchase new frames as well as lenses. She stated that the lab personnel had informed her that any attempt to adjust the frames or to install new lenses would likely result in the frame breaking.

This didn't sound quite right to me, since aside from the need for a few relatively minor adjustments, the frames appeared to be in good shape. When I tried to pursue the matter with the manager (Michelle), I was politely but firmly told that the lab decision was final, and in accordance with LensCrafters policy. Nonplussed, I went back to the independent doctor inside the store, told him what had happened, and asked for his opinion as to the condition of the frames. He seemed surprised, and said that he felt they were in good shape. I decided to try an experiment.

I visited a nearby, competing optical services provider and handed the salesperson the slip of paper with my prescription. Within forty minutes, I had brand new lenses, neatly installed in my old frames. Moreover, the frames had been adjusted and fit better than ever. The staff never once mentioned any problems with my frames. They simply replaced the lenses as I had requested, at approximately half the cost that would have been incurred had I replaced the frames.

In light of this experience, I can't help but draw the conclusion that there really was no MECHANICAL reason for the frames to be replaced. To put it bluntly, I suspect that the staff mislead me in order to get me to purchase a new set of frames, which I didn't really need.

I wrote two letters to Luxottica Retail (they own LensCrafters), explaining my experience. I was not actually trying to get anything out of them other than an acknowledgement and an apology. I got niether.

The customer service staff person who responded to my letters gave me a casual brush-off, informing me that the laboratory staff had acted in accordance with LensCrafters policy. They even had the audacity to state in their second letter that "LensCrafters does not wish to inconveinince customers with eyewear of inferior quality". The second letter closed with the statement "No further correspondence will be forthcoming", essentially telling me to shut up and stop complaining.

This seems like the perfect sales tactic: they can simply hide behind the illusion of acting in the customer's "best interest". The problem is, the customer has no say in what that interest is, and it just seems too convenient that somehow, they feel that the customer's interests are best served by spending more in their store...

Laurel, Maryland

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/12/2002 12:01 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/LensCrafters/Cincinnati-Ohio-45249/LensCrafters-Deceptive-Sales-Tactics-Laurel-Maryland-20687. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

Two Sides to Every Story

AUTHOR: Dawn - (U.S.A.)

I cannot speak directly for the associate or lab tech that was involved with the decision made on your frame; however, as an employee of Lenscrafters I have on many occasions replaced lenses in frames that did appear in very good "mechanical" condition only to have the customers return within a few months because the frame broke. Plastic frames dry out over time increasing the possibility of cracking. Spring hinges break down causing the temple to fall off. If you only purchased lenses for your frame and came back beacause it broke and we no longer carry the frame you would be forced to purchase a completely new frame AND another set of lenses. Our store always allows the customer to make the final decision as to whether or not they wish to reuse their frame but we do also like to educate the customer about the costs involved if their frame does not make it another year, sometimes two or three, before their next pair.
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Lab technicians have varying degrees of talent.

AUTHOR: Mark - (U.S.A.)

More Insight... Lab technicians have varying degrees of talent. It is possible that the lab technician at this store simply wasn't confident enough in either their abilities or the frame's integrity. I've worked with many NEW frames that I could tell were junk and was nervous about putting lenses in. I've also had recovered many frames from conditions that other talented opticians thought was hopeless. It is a judgement call. In this case, that call might have been influenced by the fact that Luxottica is a FRAME MANUFACTURER first and formost. They make virtually all the frames Lenscrafters carries. When they bought Lenscrafters, many smaller shopps dropped the Armani and Brooks Brothers lines, as well as many others, out of retaliation. That's why you don't see as much of those products elsewhere. Armani decided to not renew their license agreement with Luxottica effective Feb '03 because they did not like to be marketed at that level.

Support your LOCAL optical shop. You will ALWAYS get better service.
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

an optician's point of view

AUTHOR: Gail - ()

I understand your frustration, but it is probably not a conspiracy to rip you off. I have been an optician for 15 years, and have dealt with this problem many times. I worked for Lenscrafters for 8 years and have worked for a private doctor for 7.

This is what happens sometimes: during the process of making the new lenses, the patient's old frame is broken. This often happens. Plastic frames dry out and become more brittle with age. Metal frames may become weak because they have been bent too many times or they simply have a bad solder point.(This happens to cheap frames as well as the more expensive brands ie: rodenstock, safilo, etc.)

Whatever the reason, the optician/dotor is stuck with lenses that she can't use and can't be sent back to the manufacturer for credit and an unhappy patient/customer. The customer is unhappy because her frame is broken & she now has no old or new lenses that she can use. To make the customer happy the optician let's the patient pick a brand new frame (free of charge) & makes another set of lenses for the patient.(can't use the new lenses she already cut because the shape, bifocal height, etc. aren't right for the new frame) Now the owner's costs (for the new frame, 2 sets of lenses and cost of time spent redoing the job) are more than what the customer paid for the glasses.

They won't stay in business to long this way. This is the reason why some opticians/doctors are reluctant to use the patient's old frame. I worked in several lenscrafters stores in Indiana and Texas and have found that they were far more generous in settling customer complaints (legitimate and otherwise) than are most private doctors.

As a manager with the company, I often gave in to unreasonable customer demands because I knew that if they went over my head I would have to give the customer what they wanted anyway, and risk a reprimand from my boss.

I am surprised that Lenscrafters actually stood their ground. I cannot speak to your specific experience, of course, but I thought that there might be another explaination.

All businesses, both private and corporate, that supply glasses and contacts depend on repeat business and would not risk losing this by ripping off their customers.
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