Report: #404912

Complaint Review: Costco Inc.

  • Submitted: Fri, December 26, 2008
  • Updated: Tue, November 22, 2011
  • Reported By: Montebello California
  • Costco Inc.
    900 Montebello Blvd
    Montebello, California

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

As a member in good standing of Costco, I took it for granted that part of my "member privileges" included purchasing glasses at their optical center.

I purchased my frames from Randolph Engineering which is licensed by the U.S. Government to fabricate its Air Force glasses. The frames have a lifetime guarantee.

I figured that I would have my prescription lenses installed by Costco Optical.

Imagine my surprise, when I was charged $18.00 for not having purchased the frames from Costco Optical. I told them that as a member, optical was one of my privileges.

They explained to me that they are not part of Costco and operate independently. They pay Costco for the space inside their warehouses and avail themselves of the Costco members. So eye exams, eyeglass purchases and related optical services are as they see fit.

I've had to pay "corkage fees" to a restaurant when I've taken my own wine for dinner, but to pay it to a misrepresented "Costco Optical" because I brought in my own frames, is fraudulent.

Montebello, California
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/26/2008 12:56 AM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

somewhat agree

AUTHOR: Everybody_just_cool_out - (United States of America)

Same experience 1 week ago.. Costco does not carry Smith Optics and this brand is what I prefer due to the style, lifetime warranty, and durability. Before purchasing them I asked costco what they charged for lenses. The fee was very reasonable so I decided to buy the frames off e-bay and have costco produce the lens. Well, when I had them do it, I got the 18.00 fee thrown my way. I asked why and they explained that all their frames are located where the lenses get produced so if someone wants to use their own frames they have to package and ship the frames to the lens manufacture. Totally makes since but I think 18.00 is too steep and they should explain the fee when you ask for the price up front. I will add that the craftsmanship of the lenses were pretty impressive once I received them so I'm very happy! The lenses were also cheaper than walmart which whom also has a "bring your own frames charge" of 10.00.
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#2 General Comment

I totally agree

AUTHOR: Michael - (United States of America)

I recently had a similar experience at Denny's.
I brought in some bacon and eggs and they wanted to charge me to cook them!
Whats up with that, why should they get paid for cooking MY food!
What a RipOff!!!
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#3 Consumer Comment

The fact of the matter

AUTHOR: Voice of reason - (United States of America)

The "Corkage Fee" that you refer to is actually a template fee. If the frames you brought in are not a standard Costco optical product, then the lens technicians need to make a template of the lens shape so they can be cut and ground to size. This fee is typical of any optician, anywhere.
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

$18.00 Customers Own Frame Charge

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

I don't know who gave you the mis-information that the Costco optical departments are not owned and operated by Costco. I can assure you that they are. Many of the optometry offices located next to the optical departments are sub-leased by an independant optometrist as required by various state laws. The very large red optometrist sign states this. The optometrist has nothing to do with the optical department business. The $18.00 own frame fee is simply a charge that is required to cover the shipping costs associated with sending your frame to the lab, and the labor and expense of cutting a pattern in order to cut the lenses. This is standard throughout the optical industry, where many optical shops charge $20.00-$25.00 for this same service. These other shops also charge much more for the lenses than Costco. If a frame is originally purchased at Costco and reused, this frame fee is not charged, since the patterless edgers have the frame shape and sizing info. in it's database already, so a pattern is not needed.
Many people use their own frames and then come in for adjustments, repairs, nosepad replacements etc. Costco never charges for any of these services, even if the frames were purchased elsewhere. For this amount of service and labor $18.00 is a bargain.
Consumer Reports and JD Powers consistantly rate Costco Optical as tops in quality and price.
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#5 Consumer Comment

I don't see the difference

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

What's the difference between bringing your own wine to a restaurant and bringing your own frames to an optical shop? A business charging an extra fee when you supply your own materials is not out of the ordinary. The optical shop makes their money by selling glasses (lenses AND frames). By supplying your own frames, you're cutting them out of a piece of their profit. It is not unusual to expect a reasonable charge. Eighteen dollars doesn't seem unreasonable. The few times that I've had an optical shop install lenses in special frames (that I supplied), I have always been charged a 'corkage' fee.
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

Seems Fair

AUTHOR: Salvati13 - (Canada)

I can only assume that these places make their money on the purchase of the frames, not the installation of lenses, so I don't see the problem. In my shop(clothing), if you bring me someone else's merchandise to be altered, you pay more for the work done than you would if you had purchased the item from me. Everyone is entitled to make a profit.
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#7 Consumer Suggestion

no difference from other businessesRh

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

This is no difference than if I walked off the street and I brought in my glasses to say a Lenscrafters or Pearl Vison and they could if they wanted to charge a fee to work on them. One of the reasons they might do this is that many businesses survive on selling glasses. When you bring yours own in they lose that profit. They also may have to use their own products that are not from your lenses if they break. So they charge a fee. I have gone to another competitor that does not charge me for mine that wasnt bought there.

This is no difference than the photographer that rents space inside Walmart or McDonads who rents space inside Walmart. If you so not like it, shop around like I do and find a place that allows you to bring your pair in.

It is not a ripoff, it is just the fact they are a business that is competiting for business. They have a right to make their own rules for prices. You , though as the consumer, has the right to shop somewhere else, but it doesnt mean it is a ripoff. It is an inconvinence to you. So start phoning around and find out prices on if you bring in your own glasses and prices if you buy theres. See what is cheaper. That is what calls shopping comparison.
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

Next time, just send Randolph Engineering your prescription!

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

I cannot see the "rip off" here. You expect the optician to work for free?
You must be really clueless, or just really cheap!
You must be an officer because you have no common sense.

FYI...Randolph Engineering will do prescription lenses. All you need to do is provide them a valid prescription with your order.

And, any optician can get those frames for you as well.
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#9 Consumer Comment

If they are independent...

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

Then it would seem to me that your beef is with the optometry practice and not with Costco.
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#10 Consumer Comment

Wow you had to pay for a service

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

The cost of that service is normally figured into the frames. You didn't buy the frames so there was a fee.

This is not a ripoff it's fair.

I love how people want everything free. You pay for service either as a fee or in the price of the items.

Next time I am at Sam's Club(no costco) I will take a pizza into their snack bar and have them cook it for me. I am sure they will do it for free, right?
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