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£500 deposit refund request ignored! 16 Aug 2021 13:07 #11

  • SuzanneC
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My story.

I wrote to Sasha Rodoy on the 13 August:

'I have longed to get rid of wearing glasses and after a friend recomended Optical Express lens replacement in Manchester, I went for a consultation. They recomended me to have lens replacement surgery. I have paid £500 deposit and have signed a finance agreement to pay the rest over the next 10 months. My surgery is next Thursday and I am super nervous about this and started to google it today and came across your websites
www.opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk/
www.mybeautifuleyes.co.uk/
Which is starting to make me feel twice about this.
My friend still thinks her lens replacement was a good idea and says they are 100%, even though she had to go back and have laser surgery, 6 month after her lens replacement surgery to correct her distant vision caused by the way her eyes healed.
I guess I am looking for your opinion on lens replacement - Can it work? and if so which company would you recomend using? + any other advice you can give to me
.'

Sasha called me and told me about the real risks of this surgery, at OE or anywhere else, and that the industry is unregulated. I wasn't told the name of the surgeon when they booked me in so she advised me to write to Stephen Hannan and ask him for information, which I did with her help.
_________________

From: Suzanne
Sent: 14 August 2021 10:33
To: ContactUs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>; Stephen Hannan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: Re: Suzanne, your aftercare appointment is confirmed

Dear Mr Hannan

I found your contact details on the internet and understand that you are the clinical services director for Optical Express.

My lens exchange surgery is currently booked on the 19 August at Bridgewater Wellness Clinic in Manchester.

On the 12 July I received a call from someone in Northampton who asked if I'd read through the documents and then proceeded to obviously read from a script.

The call lasted just under eleven minutes, and quite frankly most of it went over my head, whilst I don't even know the name or position of the person who called me.

Of more concern is the fact that I have not been given the opportunity to speak with the surgeon or the team I will be detailing with before the day of my surgery, or was even provided with his name and credentials.

This has set off alarm bells for me and I am now reconsidering the advisability of proceeding with surgery.

I would therefore appreciate the following info;

1. Who is the surgeon?
2. Does he or Optical Express have any legal claims from his patients?
3. What was the name and position of the person who called me on the 12 July?
I look forward to your written response by return.

Regards
Suzanne C
__________________

On Sat, 14 Aug 2021, 10:42 Stephen Hannan, <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote:

Dear Ms C

Thank you for your email.

You are scheduled under the care of Dr Manu Mathew. The Profile of Dr Mathew, a very experienced Ophthalmic Surgeon, can be found via the following link - About Your Laser Eye Surgeon | Manu Mathew | Optical Express.

We would be delighted to arrange for Dr Mathew to have a discussion with you prior to your day of surgery. In this regard I will have one of our team members engage you by telephone to make the appropriate arrangements.

I can see from your records that you underwent a Pre-Operative Consultation on 6th July 2021, followed by a second telemedicine based consultation with Mr Bhavik Parmar, an experienced General Optical Council Registered Optometrist.

Regards,

Stephen

Stephen Hannan BSc (Hons) MCOptom DipTp(IP)

Clinical Services Director

T: +44 (0)1236 795104 M: +44 (0)7740592389

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
________________

Sasha told me that she had a number of clients damaged by this doctor and some were suing him and Optical Express. I asked if I could speak to any of them and she introduced me to two people. Their horrific stories were enough for me to decide to cancel. But Sasha advised that I press Stephen Hannan for more information before cancelling in case I need to take legal action to get all my deposit refunded.
_________________

From: Suzanne
Sent: 14 August 2021 12:18
To: Stephen Hannan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Cc: ContactUs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: Re: Suzanne, your aftercare appointment is confirmed

Hi Stephen

Thanks for the information could you please let me know if Mr Mathew or optical express has any legal claims from his patients?

Many thanks
Suzanne
___________________

On Sat, 14 Aug 2021, 14:17 Stephen Hannan, <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote:

Dear Ms C

Thank you for your email. We know of no court judgement or case that has been successfully found against Dr Mathew, relating to his work on behalf of Optical Express, or work out with Optical Express. I will ask Dr Mathew to discuss this matter with you further ahead of any procedure.

Regards,
Stephen
__________________________

From: suzanne C
Sent: 14 August 2021 18:04
To: Stephen Hannan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Cc: ContactUs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: Re: Suzanne, your aftercare appointment is confirmed

Dear Mr Hannan

For the third time of asking, could you please let me know if Dr Mathew, and/or Optical Express, has any legal claims from his patients?

Please also tell me how many Optical Express patients have complained of problems after being fitted with Multi Focal lenses, and how many of these have issued legal proceedings that you are aware of, and how many of these were patients of Dr Matthew?

I am concerned that the information I have recently found, both online and from people I have spoken with in person, suggests that there is a significantly high number of complaining patients, which does not fill me with confidence.

However, before cancelling l would prefer to give you the benefit of the doubt, because I find it difficult to believe that you would have taken my money without disclosing this information.

Until you answer these questions honestly, without prevarication, then I have no wish to speak with Dr Mathew, and I look forward to your written response.

In the meantime, please do not arrange for anyone else to call me without my agreement.

Regards
Suzanne
____________________

Today (Sunday): Early this morning I answered the phone to a mobile number I didn’t recognise and was shocked to discover it was Dr Manu Mathew, calling against my wishes made so clear to Stephen Hannan!
I didn't want to be rude so I asked him some of the questions I'd asked Stephen Hannan, but he was very unhelpful and told me I should ask Optical Express!

____________________

From: Stephen Hannan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2021, 12:55
Subject: RE: Suzanne, your aftercare appointment is confirmed
To: suzanne
Dear Ms C

Thank you for your email. [14 August]

I understand you have now had a discussion with Dr Mathew. I trust that Dr Mathew answered any outstanding questions that you had. Dr Mathew confirmed you may wish to learn of the outcomes of other Ophthalmic Surgeons. I have included a link to the Profiles of all Surgeons that perform surgery on behalf of Optical Express here - Learn About Our Experienced Refractive Surgeons | Optical Express. The Profiles contain outcomes information. In addition we have published sever clinical papers in peer review journals, which can also be found on our website - Published Expert Optical Papers, Articles & Journals | Optical Express

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Regards,

Stephen

Stephen Hannan BSc (Hons) MCOptom DipTp(IP)

Clinical Services Director
________________

Update 19 August
_________________

From: suzanne C
Sent: 16 August 2021 18:50
To: Stephen Hannan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>; ContactUs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: Re: Suzanne, your aftercare appointment is confirmed

Dear Mr Hannan

I seem to be banging my head against a brick wall as you have again avoided answering my straight forward questions, paramount in my decision to continue with surgery.

You also ignored my explicit request that I had no wish to speak with Dr Mathew until you answered me honestly and without prevarication. Unfortunately I did not recognise the mobile number because otherwise I would not have taken his call, and certainly not happy to be disturbed in this way early on a Sunday morning. I had also told you not to arrange for anyone to call me without my agreement.

Dr Mathew was however either unable or reluctant to answer most of my questions and told me that I should ask you. You of course told me that I should ask him, so we seem to be going round in circles.

I questioned the success rate of Dr Mathew's operations and explained to him that I had spoken with some of his patients who weren’t happy. He said I should get them to contact Optical Express but I told him they’d gone past that point and were taking legal action.

He told me there was minimal risk, and not to worry about it, that he operates on between 12 to 17 patients per day. He told me 95% of his operations were successful, and that I would be able to drive the next day. Can he/you guarantee this, because what about the 5% he says are not a success?

I checked the Optical Express website and it advertises 99% success, so please tell me which figure is correct? Please do not direct me to Trustpilot for verification because this cannot be seriously accepted as a reliable source.

Dr Mathew was mistaken, I have no wish to learn of the outcomes of other Optical Express surgeons, I asked about the global results for Ophthalmic Surgeons.

You told me that you 'published sever clinical papers in peer review journals, which can also be found on our website - Published Expert Optical Papers, Articles & Journals | Optical Express’.

I checked your link and then googled the name of the contributors. Notably they are all connected to Optical Express!

For the fourth time of asking therefore:

1. Could you please let me know if Dr Mathew, and/or Optical Express, has any legal claims from his patients?

2. Please also tell me how many Optical Express patients have complained of problems after being fitted with Multi Focal lenses, and how many of these have issued legal proceedings that you are aware of, and how many of these were patients of Dr Matthew?

I look forward to your answers without further prevarication.

Regards
Suzanne
___________________________

By now Sasha told me he would have realised I was talking to her.
___________________________

From: Stephen Hannan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2021, 10:39
Subject: RE: Suzanne, your aftercare appointment is confirmed
To: suzanne C

Dear Ms C

Thank you for your email.

As previously confirmed, we know of no legal judgement or case that has been successfully found against Dr Mathew, relating to his work on behalf of Optical Express, or work out with Optical Express.

I am aware Dr Mathew discussed a number of different matters with you on 15th August 2021, including the potential risks (complications and side effects), range of outcomes, vision correction alternatives to surgery and the benefits of the recommended procedure. Dr Mathew has confirmed that he discussed a small percentage of patients may go on to have a lens exchange procedure as a follow-on to the implantation of a multifocal IOL. As Dr Mathew confirmed, the vast majority of patients are satisfied with the outcome of the surgical procedure. This discussion with Dr Mathew was further to your Pre-Operative Consultation on 6th July 2021, during which an Informed Consent document was provided to you and a Clinician Discussion on 12th July 2021.

Please do let us know if you wish or do not wish to proceed with your planned surgical procedure. We are happy to arrange a further discussion with Dr Mathew should you wish this to be arranged, either by telephone or in-person, to discuss the other points that you raise.

Regards,
Stephen
___________________________

From: suzanne C
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2021, 13:51
Subject: Re: Suzanne, your aftercare appointment is confirmed
To: Stephen Hannan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>, Optical Express <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Dear Mr Hannan

I am shocked at your lack of transparency and continued refusal to address my questions.

Given this, and other information I have sourced myself, I was obviously not fully informed by any means, and I intend to make a complaint about this and other issues to the GOC.

I cannot risk putting the health and safety of my eyes in the hands of anyone at Optical Express and therefore wish to cancel my surgery.

I look forward to your written confirmation that my deposit of £500 will be fully refunded within 48 hrs: if not, please accept this as pre action protocol before I pursue legal action.

Please also send confirmation that my finance agreement will be cancelled.

Thankfully I was able to speak with some of Dr Mathew’s damaged patients, and had confirmation that there are a number of cases currently in litigation with him and Optical Express, a fact you have gone to such lengths not to admit.

I look forward to your response by the end of day.

Regards
Suzanne
________________________

Update 23 August: I sent a Subject Access Request on 19 August which has been acknowledged, but I have had no response from Mr Hannan to my refund request, or confirmation that my finance agreement has been cancelled, so it looks like I will be taking legal action!

Newbridge Optical Express store 10 Aug 2021 08:39 #12

  • Nora
  • Nora's Avatar
Hi Sasha,

I am looking from some advice on my Optical Express refund problems.

On the day of the consultation (July 17th) at Newbridge nobody informed me I had only 3 days to cancel for full refund and I felt pressured into paying this deposit after being given eyedrops which caused blurry vision as part of the tests.

I was told that monofocal lense replacement was the option to go for since my age is 44. I asked if this will enable me to work on computers without needing glasses, and i was told that I definitely would not need glasses for computer work.

When i got home and got to read the documentation booklets a few days after, I read that computer work WOULD still require glasses with this type of lense replacement so I decided this is not for me.

Then I tried to cancel my surgery and get my deposit back as I felt the lens type offered (Mono vision) for surgery would not make enough of a difference to my eyesight and definitely not worth the €9k [£7620] price tag.

I sent an email to cancel the surgery on July 28th since I could not get to speak with any staff member prior to this date.

Now I am told I will only be refunded half of the 500 euros deposit which i paid on the day of my consultation.

I was also asked to fill out patient review forms before any surgery or even a "Clinical Discussion" took place.

I assumed that like most other agreements I would have at least a 2 week cooling off period.

3 days is totally ridiculous as patients go through the consultation and have blurred vision at the end and need time to read through the documentation of which there is a lot.

Patients should be given more time to make informed decisions on such an important health matter.

I realise after finding your site that I am not alone in this!

Many thanks
Nora

This is the email I received after my consultation:


______________________________

admin: You are too young for lens replacement and should not have been offered lens exchange surgery, let alone sold it without even talking with a surgeon - yet another complaint for the GOC! Nor have they provided the name of your intended surgeon, and I suggest that you do leave a review!
I received your email and will call you :kiss:
Attachments:

Interpreter £400 fee refunded! 29 Jul 2021 12:19 #13

  • AAnca
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Hello again Sasha!

Thank you for the great work and thanks for your help and support!

I have great news, refund has been processed 4 minutes ago!





Appreciate your work and happy to find you!
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£250 deposit refund refused! 28 Jul 2021 20:27 #14

  • Avni_S
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On 22 July I went for a free laser eye surgery consultation at Optical Express Westfield branch.

My left eye doesn't close properly after a number of surgeries and I was just told to do some exercises that the optometrist called 'mindful blinking’. I also have slight amblyopia and now understand that surgery would not have improved this.

When I said that I wanted to think about it over the weekend, I felt they pressured me by saying there was an 18 months interest free offer if I paid £500 deposit immediately. I assumed that there was a 14 days cooling off period as with most finance related agreements, and was not told otherwise.

My lasek surgery date was provisionally booked for September but I have dry eyes and was told to use the drops they gave me and a follow up appointment was to booked. I was not given the name of the surgeon nor did they confirm the follow up appointment, during which they would confirmed whether I could go ahead with surgery or not.

After thinking about this, and with planned changes in my work structure and uncertainty around my job, I decided to cancel. I called the Optical Express Westfield branch on Tuesday 27th July and spoke with the manager Amanda Ross. I explained my situation and she told me that I would only get £250 refunded, and the balance could be used to purchase glasses or contact lenses. I told her that this was not explained to me before I paid my deposit. She said that she would speak to head office and see what she could do.

I haven’t heard anything more, but after reading some of the posts here I realise I may have to fight for my full refund.

Please can you advise me.
________________
admin:Yet another complaint for the GOC (General Optical Council)!
Please send your phone number and I will explain
:kiss:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
________________
UPDATE 1 September: £500 deposit refunded in full.

Deposit refund refusal 23 Jul 2021 15:42 #15

  • AAnca
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Hi Sasha, I wonder if you can help me with a small claim court against this company. Is regarding my husband.

He has -7 eye prescription. We found their website. Free consultation, no financial obligation if not medically eligible for the surgery.

In 1st instance we went to eye check. They congratulated him to be eligible for the laser eye surgery and if he decide he needs to secure the big day, by paying a deposit and book an appointment with the surgeon prior the ..big day.

They also said that this is the only change because of his age as he is nearly 40years old.

They explained that the deposit to secure the day will be £500 and that he is having to pay £400 in advance to have an interpreter on the day of the surgery which was mandatory. I offered myself for acting as an interpreter on behalf of my husband but they said no.

When decided, we called them and paid the money, book the surgery date and the appointment wit the surgeon and also they asked us to pay in advance the money for having an interpreter on the day of the surgery.

We then went to meet the doctor and we were surprised to have an interpreter on that day as well, as we never asked for one. Finally, the surgeon (Dr Mehul Damani) decided that my husband could not have the surgery as he is not eligible and could be risky , but he can ask another colleague (doctor) maybe he will do the surgery and he made an appointment for my husband to see his colleague.. That broke my husband heart...he was desperate to have the surgery.

We give a 2nd thought and decided that he can not risk to have the surgery given surgeon decision. We called Optical Express, cancel the appointment and request the refund. We received £500 deposit fee but not the £400 the fee paid to have an interpreter on the day of the surgery. I called them and they said that I will receive the full refund in 21 day. We wait for 21 days called them back and they said we will not receive any money as that amount represent interpreter fee.

We disagree with this as the interpreter should never come until the date of the surgery. I raised a dispute with the bank and I am waiting for their decision (the money paid from my bank account).

We email Optical Express and gave them a notice to pay the money.... We want to make the small claim court. Are you able to help us? Thank you in advance.
_____________________
admin: I can definitely help you, and this is also a matter for the GOC to investigate - the first time I have ever heard of OE charging people for an interpreter! Please send your phone number :kiss:
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£400 Deposit refunded 23 Jul 2021 13:26 #16

  • Weronika
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Hi Sasha, many thanks for your help and support! I could not do it without you!

Following your advice and emails sent to Optical Express, I have been contacted by them and advised that even though I 'apparently' cancelled too late, they are willing to give me my refund and I got the money back!

Many thanks for what you are doing here for all of us!

£500 deposit refund refused at Inverness 23 Jul 2021 12:30 #17

  • ec5866357bfbad026dc869d0ba9e29c9
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UPDATE 24 July:
The day after posting here the manager phoned Amanda and informed her that she would receive a full refund :kiss:

She wrote: 'Thank you for your help so far and keep up the good work. I will 100% not be getting eye surgery after reading your forum. I’m so annoyed with myself that I put my trust in these people and didn’t look further
.'
___________________
Hi Sasha

Please can you help me. Optical Express are refusing to refund me my full deposit as I cancelled out with the 3 day cooling off period.

I had my first appointment to see if I was eligible for the surgery (which I was). On the same day they tried to give me a surgery appointment and told me that they only had 2 dates available and I would need to book quick if I wanted to get them procedure done before my wedding in November. After 2 days they phoned me and asked if I wanted to book one of the dates. Me being me agreed and paid the £500 deposit. At that point I advised that I wanted to finance it and also that I was going into hospital in 2 days time. I was told by the MANAGER of the store to contact them within 7 days to arrange finance. Why did she not do it there and then? Cause she knew fine what she was doing.

(The MANAGER was in the year above me at school so felt I could trust her!!)

When I got out of hospital I phoned a few days later which would have been just over 7 days after I booked and paid the deposit. Unfortunately my finance was declined and I asked to cancel my booking. I was told by the MANAGER that’s not a problem and she would email head office.

I have today received a phone call from head office to say they are only going to refund me £250 as it’s out of the 3 days cooling off. However my actual appointment wasn’t until September and I have had no other appointments so why are they keeping £250 for what was a free consultation?

I am so angry and upset that they take people’s money they way they do and don’t even mention anything about it while trying to persuade you to book. It’s appalling.

I phoned the MANAGER of the store back and let rip. Told her how I thought her customer service was absolutely appalling and she should be ashamed of herself. She even said “Oh I didn’t know they did that I thought you got a refund” actually comical. She said she would phone her head office to get me a full refund but I’m not holding my breath.

Any advise on what to do next would be much appreciated.
TIA
Amanda
—————————-
admin: Please send your phone number and I will help you :kiss:
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Update!!!! Refusing deposit Refund of £400 08 Jul 2021 20:05 #18

  • Comfortosei31
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After receiving an enormous amount of help from Sasha I emailed Stephan Hannan at 09:30 on 8th July 2021

At 11:00 on the SAME DAY I received a phone call from a Refund Administrator informing me that my complaint had been referred to him he will be handling my refund. He went on to say that as a gesture of goodwill my refund of £400 will be processed and I should receive the funds within 3 - 5 working days - I just needed to confirm my account details. I did so over the phone and asked him to send me written confirmation of what he has told me.
Attachments:

Refusing deposit Refund of £400 21 Jun 2021 15:14 #19

  • Comfortosei31
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Hello Sasha,

I really need your help as I am in tears as I write this to you.

I had a free consultation with optical express in White City, London on 26th January 2021. I was advised that I qualify for Lasik laser. They advised me I can secure a date with a deposit of £400. I did not commit on that day but told them I was going to think about it and they should give me a call the next day. I received the call and they went through everything, paid the deposit over the phone. I then had my clinician discussion on the 25th February where I was advised I am able to cancel the surgery and get back my deposit as long as I don't cancel 3 days or less before the date of the surgery. I did some research on Optical express and after reading some of the reviews I was no longer confident in my decision of doing this and on top of that I have recently lost my job.

I called Optical express on 13th June 2021 to tell them I would like to cancel my surgery.They went ahead and cancelled it without informing me of this policy they have where I can only cancel 3 days after booking/paying my deposit. The date of my surgery is 26th July 2021 which is about a month away. I was informed I could cancel up until 3 days before the surgery and get my full refund. They advised me over the phone that I am not entitled to any money back and said they will take this up with HR. Reading some of the posts here I can see where this is going to go where they will refuse me my refund. Please advise me on what the next steps I should take to get my money back.

Regards,

Comfort
___________________
admin: Please send your phone number and I'll help you with this :kiss:
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£500 Deposit 16 Jun 2021 08:23 #20

  • Stefan
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Just a quick update.
Another win for Sasha!!
After two emails sent with the help of Sasha, I received my full £500 back within a week. Not the 28 working days they tell you. Thank you Sasha once again.
See below proof.

Dear Mr Kowalik,

I am writing to confirm that your £500.00 refund has been processed on 25th May 2021. The funds will show in your account within the next 3-5 working days, depending on your banking provider. Please see attached copy

If we can be of further assistance do not hesitate to contact Optical Express.

Yours sincerely,

Russell Hamilton
Refund Administrator I Customer Care Department