Absolutely shocking how Optical Express keep damaging and then screwing their patients - Katie well done for taking them to court, you are so brave and Sasha for working tirelessly to put this out there.
When I started my journey in 2012 there was NOTHING and NOWHERE to look for information, as we know, these companies including Optical Express made sure of that. Now we have, thanks to Sasha's platforms which are growing and are very busy with people telling their stories (all of which are horrific and have ruined peoples lives). We are now getting great help where we can talk about what these companies have done to our eyesight and how to fight them in Court, and importantly discuss which Solicitors are there to help the victim and those who are just running up their own costs and have no intention of allowing the patient their day in court.
My case was settled out of court (against my wishes) and the solicitors got more than I did out of it. I recommend that you ask Sasha if you want to know which solicitors you can trust.
For those who are considering any treatment for their eyes - join the sites, read the comments, and think about this carefully.
29 August 2019: Needless to say, Optical Express complied with her terms, and whilst Katie can't post anything more online, she got the better of them by getting her story out regardless of the 'gagging' agreement that so many people have been forced to sign simply to get their money refunded.
How we did it: Katie told the truth, she (and I) had posted details of her claim on OERML forum, but I hid the posts until today, so Optical Express had no idea of their existence - they do now
Update to my previous post – OE have just contacted me a few days before my court date and have now offered a full refund and to reimburse my court fees!
The process of going through the Money Claim has taken just over a year but totally worth persisting and not accepting substandard offers!
Sasha has also been amazing during the whole process! I would not have gotten this far without her help ????
I underwent laser eye surgery at Optical Express, Southampton, in July 2014 at the age of 20. Dr Luca Antico performed my surgery. 2 years later my eyes had started to regress and my dry eye symptoms and night glare, that I would told would get better, persisted. I complained to OE and requested a refund as I believe I was too young to have the surgery and they failed to check if my eyes had stabilised at the time. They refused and so with Sasha’s help, I made a Money Claim against OE in May 2018. I attended mediation but OE only offered me half of my money back so I decided to take the matter to court.
I attended a preliminary court hearing in April at which OE tried to get my case thrown out.
They have failed miserably and I will be continuing with the court case that is set to go ahead in July. OE have recently contacted me and offered a full refund but would not reimburse my court fees. I have rejected this offer as I am seeking a full refund and reimbursement of my court fees!
An update for those of you who generously contributed to my CrowdJustice fundraiser for an expert legal team to consider my defamation claim against Optical Express on a 'no win no fee’ basis in June 2018
For those who missed it, in May 2018 I discovered that from late 2014 Optical Express had been paying a very grubby 'crisis & reputation management' PR company* £5,000 a month - close to £1/4 million by then - in desperate (successful) attempts to stop the press and media publishing/broadcasting interviews with me. *Google 'Luther Pendragon Sasha Rodoy' for quick links.
Information disclosed under my Subject Access Request to Luther Pendragon proved that they'd helped OE lobby corruptible MPs, badmouthing me (and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell), with no stone left unturned in their attempts to silence me by convincing anyone they considered might be supportive that I was lying!
And finally I understood why not even a single minute of my two hours interview filmed at the BBC studios in Manchester had not been included in the BBC Rip Off Britain intended exposé of the industry in 2017 (the piece regrettably dependent on my cooperation).
Not only did the production team leave out interviews recorded with two quite badly damaged patients (having initially told me that they wanted more serious case studies), but they iced the piece with heavy duty propaganda from a refractive surgeon spokesman for The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, and it sickeningly became yet another advertorial for the industry.
And just like two recent articles in the Daily Mail, no mention of me, John McDonnell, or My Beautiful Eyes campaign for government regulation, while even OE’s lengthy right of reply at the end probably left viewers believing they weren’t so bad!
Flattered though I was (am) to be such an expensive thorn in OE's side, four years of much needed publicity was lost as a result of Luther Pendragon’s actions.
And while you will of course be disappointed to learn that I am not currently pursuing legal proceedings against OE...
I can happily assure you that this story is far from done!
Unable to tell you more because OE et al monitor screenshot my every written word on social media!
Many damaged patients believe that they can’t take legal action against Optical Express (or any other provider) because they signed a Consent form.
Stephanie Holloway signed a Consent form (Dr Joanna McGraw/OE), I signed a Consent form (Dr Wilbert Hoe/Optimax), Emma Adley signed a Consent form (Dimitris Kazakos/OE), and so did all the other damaged patients who’ve successfully sued these unethical surgeons and the corrupt companies they work for.
Stephanie Holloway’s won her court case in 2014, entirely on lack of informed consent, (with huge thanks to the OE insider who provided me with a copy of the PAF that proved Stephanie’s version of events), when the very clever Judge Edward Bailey awarded her a record amount (£569,000 +£20k interest). The trial attracted press and media coverage, and that’s why no refractive surgery provider wants to risk this happening again, so claims are always settled out of court.
Unfortunately some law firms don’t get this, persuading clients to settle for meagre amounts, often based on poor advice from barristers, or (as with one law firm I’m familiar with), having racked up extortionate fees they don’t honestly care how little the client gets for irreparable damage to their eyes, often needing treatment for the list of their lifetime, because the firm’s fees greatly exceed the settlement figure - AND they get 25% of the client’s general damages!
And whilst I’m on this subject, I was amazed to hear from one of my previous clients who went on to litigate, that because it was a ‘no win no fee’ arrangement, he had no idea that he was entitled to see a breakdown of his solicitor’s costs.
If you’re in litigation, no matter what the arrangement, you are entitled to be provided with a summary of costs at regular intervals. Therefore, if your solicitor is trying to persuade you to settle for what you consider to be an unreasonably low figure, find out how much they will be getting.
My own claim v Optimax was settled out of court, without legal representation, and I strongly regret this after information disclosed under my SAR in 2018 (emails dated 2011 yet dishonestly withheld from previous SARs) proved that I should not have been given the operations I was, with owner Russell Ambrose knowing this before we first met.
He lied to me and withheld information in order to persuade me to sign our settlement agreement.
But thanks to an Optimax internal email thread, dated 2011, disclosed under my SAR in 2018, regardless of the confidentiality clause in my agreement, my personal story will be publicised.
In April 2017 I tried to make an appointment at Optical Express (OE) due to on-going issues with my eyes. Up until this date, since surgery in December 2009, I had received free lifetime aftercare, so it was a surprise when I rang to book an appointment and I was told I would have to pay.
Following this I wrote to CEO David Moulsdale, to which I did not receive a response, instead I heard back from Stephen Hannan, Clinical Services Director. He stated the 'free of charge aftercare was provided as a gesture of goodwill'.
In June 2017 I issued a small claims action for breach of the terms and conditions, for which OE settled out of court with a few hundred pounds.
In June 2017 I saw an independent optometrist. Following the consultation I sought legal advice and then wrote to David Moulsdale again in October 2017. Again I did not receive a response.
Subsequently their in-house legal team responded.
In January 2018 I raised a claim for clinical negligence to which I received Judgement for Claimant.
However, due to administration issues OE were able to submit an Application Notice to have their case heard.
Due to varying factors the hearing was delayed and it was finally heard in September 2018. OE's argument was that my claim was an abuse of process, due to the case I brought in June 2017 and was also statute barred as my surgery was in December 2009.
I successfully challenged both points and I am now able to raise a claim for clinical negligence.
The moral of this story is - do not give up the fight!
On 20 June I posted, 'As for Dan Reinstein - after claiming on 6 June that he had no info other than our email exchanges, to which I replied ’Not true Dan!’ - he asked for a 9 days extension, due to, 'switching IT companies’.
Two days later a courier knocked at my door, and handed me a large envelope containing copies of emails exchanged with third parties - that Dr Blindstein had told me did not exist!
A few were heavily redacted, copying the example of his Optical Express playmates, albeit with dates at least, but he has still not disclosed other emails that I’m aware of!
This is one of the emails Dan disclosed - and I have a very good idea who sent it to him!
I trust that all of you involved in this desperate and futile attempt to hide info from me now appreciate how very wrong you were in 2013, and understand my ‘mission’ as clearly as I do - and have done from the very first day I met Russell Ambrose, on Friday 13 May 2011.
Meanwhile, a little OE birdie (fast becoming a a flock!) told me that David Moulsdale is regularly seen around 200 St Vincent St turning his favoured puce colour trying to figure out who is providing me with info!
Threats bouncing off walls and all inmates scared to think my name, let alone speak it
Unfortunately for him, thanks to the way he's treated his staff - at all levels - many of his 'loyal subjects' now see the writing on the wall (or Snellen chart) and are listening to their conscience!
DO NOT email me from your own phone, because the tentacles of Optical Express grope around in private spaces where they have no right to be!
If you read my previous post then I have no need to explain why I found today’s email from FODO so funny - keep in mind that all these organisations regularly monitor my sites and will also have read yesterday’s post!
In response to FODO's one page of data disclosed under my SAR on 13 June,, I replied,
'I am fully aware that there are numerous other email communications with third parties concerning me.
I suggest you search your system again, and check deleted mail.
Unless I receive ALL data that I am entitled to by 4pm today then I am complaining to the ICO.’
I didn't so I did
And I've now forwarded FODO's latest email to the ICO...
After reading the shocking content of my SAR data received from Luther Pendragon on 3 May (the reason for my potential legal claim against Optical Express for defamation/malicious falsehood) I lost no time in issuing SARs to a number of other organisations I realised were involved in some way!
I received my data from Optimax on 6 June, Optical Express on 9 June, and others have filtered through in accordance with the 40 days time limit set by the ICO.
Albeit a few days late - because at 5pm on Friday afternoon Kathy Evans (RCOpth Chief Exec) alleged problems with the photocopier - the postman delivered the College's disclosure yesterday.
Although I haven’t yet had time to read thoroughly, I did note that the College didn't edit the emails as they wrongly did in response to my SAR in 2015, and they have also resent docs from my previous SAR unredacted.
This includes correspondence David Moulsdale sent to Bruce Allan and others, and shows email addresses previously hidden from me. So perhaps the College has had enough of being linked to Optical Express, and appearing to collude with them.
Bit late for that methinks, especially having invited OE’s Medical Director David Teenan as a core member of the RSSWG and kicking me off to keep David Moulsdale happy!
That really worked out well for them, with OE refusing to accept the RCOphth standards
Meanwhile, the SAR responses from FODO, CT Pillai, and Dan Reinstein, are another matter.*
They have all blatantly withheld data!
FODO’s response arrived last week, and is beyond ludicrous: just one page showing only six items from/to me!
And I understand that when he received my SAR, CT ran to FODO and asked what he should do before replying. Fifteen days later he asked me for a £10 fee, as he was entitled to, but should have done immediately on receipt of my SAR. He was warned that the 40 days time limit still applied as the DPA rules don't accept stalling tactics.
Then, after I challenged CT Pillai's disclosure last week, he ridiculously claimed that he regularly deletes mail, even though he'd disclosed emails pre-dating the ones that he claims he hasn’t got, and wrote, 'you have provided no further details about which emails you are referring to and so we cannot comment further.'
I replied, 'You obviously don't delete your emails as regularly as you imply, given that the date on some of those you have disclosed is July 2017.
I suggest that you search through your claimed deleted emails as a matter of urgency, and if necessary employ an IT expert to do it for you.
And nor will I provide you with details of emails I know that you have not disclosed, because I don't intend to miss out on the fun of seeing how far you will go before I expose you as a bare faced liar!
For your information, I lodged a complaint with the ICO last week and will be forwarding your recent email to them.
An old adage that you and your cohorts should keep in mind: lie down with dogs and wake up with fleas!'
As for Dan Reinstein - after claiming on 6 June that he had no info other than our email exchanges, to which I replied ’Not true Dan!’ -he asked for a 9 days extension due to, 'switching IT companies’.
Good excuse to dispose of data!
Either I’m exceptionally clever - as I’m told I was so flatteringly described by a main player in OE’s latest farce - or they’re all exceptionally stupid, because the reason I sent out a total of twelve SARs was for exactly this purpose, to cross reference what came back and see who lied by omission.
And so far (RCOphth excepted for now) every one of them has done so!
It seems the only person who understood my intention was David Moulsdale, hence the heavily inked sheets of paper, most not showing even as much as a date!
The ICO are now investigating nine complaints I’ve made concerning the content of the SARs I’ve received so far, mostly relating to withheld data.
I can't give you any more detail until the barrister gives his opinion on my claim, but I promise all will eventually be revealed!
*CT Pillai @Advanced Vision Care @London Vision Clinic, and Dr Blindstein @London Vision Clinic, both members of the 'expert panel' who wrote FODO's refractive surgery standards, funded by Optical Express in opposition to the RCOphth standards.
CT invited by Russell Ambrose(!!), and Dan Reinstein perhaps because he likes to get his name on any publication he can, whether he wrote it or not - or so I'm told!