Why Boots Opticians have made me see red

If a blog is not a place to vent then I don’t know what it is so indulge me, if you will,while I have  good moan about my experience with Boots Opticians.

Back in mid-December during a visit to Bath I popped into Boots to see if they could repair my reading glasses (the screw had popped out in the street) and they very kindly popped another one in free of charge. Alas (and I say this with hindsight) whilst I was there I stumbled upon a pair of frames I really loved.

I’d actually spent the best part of four months trying to find new ones, going from designer pair to designer pair and finding nothing I really liked. To my astonishment the ones I loved (a translucent pale grey pair) were a mere £79. For two pairs! With lenses! An absolute bargain, even with the additional cost of reflective, scratchproof lenses. I couldn’t believe my luck. As a person I’m not remotely snobby about such things – if I like something then I don’t care whether it comes from Prada or Poundland – so I was thrilled.

So when I returned to London I popped into Boots, found the frames, handed over my prescription and duly waited my five days for them to be ready for collection. Oh they were ready alright. Ready and dark brown. Since I was desperate for new specs (my old ones were falling apart at this point) you can imagine my disappointment.

And so after kicking up a fuss (and being told the code on the display specs was the same as the ones that arrived and that it must be a supplier problem or “perhaps the ones I wanted were discontinued”) I was told they’d sort it. Five days later my new specs were ready collection. “Sorry about the mix up – your glasses are back and they’re grey!” said the man at the store gleefully.

Today I picked them up. The good news: he was correct, they are grey. The bad news: they’re a grey about three shades darker the ones I actually chose. When I pointed this out (by grabbing the display ones off the shelf) I was given that old get out clause  ‘colours may vary’. Given the fact that grey initially came back as brown I should, perhaps, have expected this from the beginning.

It’s a shame nobody actually pointed this out at the time of purchase, however, because if they had I certainly would have had second thoughts. I mean, if you order a pillarbox red Mini and when you pick it up it’s vermillion you’d be pissed off right? Subtleties do matter. They matter even more when the item in question is something you plonk on your face every day.

So, did I kick up a fuss again? Well, no, partly because I desperately need the glasses  and party because I honestly haven’t got the time or energy to keep on going back until they provide me with the frames I saw on the display rack.

You might be thinking “well, what do you expect from such cheap frames?” but I don’t buy that for a minute. Whether something is £79 or £279 a customer has the right to get exactly what they paid for, not some variation thereof. Some of my followers on Twitter (bless them) have had to live this sorry saga in real time and I’ve lost count of how many times people have written “should have gone to….” And do you know what? I think they’re probably right.

6 thoughts on “Why Boots Opticians have made me see red

  1. In Boots’ defence, the quality of the eye tests is often superb – they spotted an irregularity in my sight which thankfully proved unlikely to be glaucoma – but if the cards had fallen differently they’d have saved my eyesight. But there’s no excuse for what they’ve done to you – it strikes me that your moral if not legal rights have been infringed. OK, they’re inexpensive glasses but if they’ve accepted the price they stated they should provide the frames as promised.

  2. Noo! That’s really bad.. what do they mean ‘colours may vary’???? It’s like ordering cauliflower cheese (which if you ask M&S staff they don’t sell it and if they do it will be in the salad section: true story) and getting carrot cheese.. vegetables may vary. Ridiculous and you really should go back.

  3. I would have been really annoyed about that. Choosing glasses is a complete pain and I would have been very disappointed in your position. It’s something you wear everyday so it’s important that you like them and they definitely should have pointed out that ‘colours may vary’ when you placed the order in.

    I need to sort out getting some new glasses. The pair I have came from Boots and I’m not sure I’ll go back. The reason I need new glasses is the anti-glare coating has come off in patches across the lenses looking like huge smears. Something I’ve never experienced before. I can’t say I’m looking forward to glasses hunting at all!

  4. Bill Treddenick

    I can possibly top this original moan. Myself and wife thought we would treat ourselves to new glasses in early July this year. As we wanted varifocal glasses and sunglasses each, we thought to try Boots given their offers for a 2nd pair. This is the first (and will be last) experience of Boots Opticians.

    We each had an eye test (2 years since our last), and selected frames – nice ones – so the bill was an eye watering £900+. The specs were due to be delivered in 7 days.

    5 days later I had a call, my sunglasses could not be supplied with verifocal lenses, please come and select others. Did so the next Saturday, other glasses not ready.

    4 days later we had a call. Glasses ready, but sorry, the newly selected sunglasses frames need extra thin lenses as they were verifocal and Polaroid – my prescription is quite modest – and the assistant was surprised, but there you are. Oh, and there will be an extra cost of £50. Total bill now £1000, and we’re thinking ” not such good value after all”.

    My wife picked up her glasses, prescription was incorrect. Retested. New lenses ordered.

    I then went for my glasses, and what a surprise, they were also wrong, and new lenses had to be ordered.

    Next, my wife’s turn. Got her glasses, and the distant vision was corrected,but middle distance could not be focused at all … Returning today to see what has gone wrong as the people in store a couple of evenings ago needed to defer to the manager who wasn’t in.

    Meantime, hoorah! I now have both sets of glasses, and whilst the distance focus is not quite even between the left/ right, it’s close enough, and I have ran out of patience.

    Overall, it has been 2 months, and not at the end yet. Total time spent in Boots, about 10 hours, instantly recognised when we walk in, car park bill is mounting. What started as a treat has ended as a nightmare. We’ve never had an issue with our normal, private opticians during the last 10 years, and really regret walking in to Boots.

    The store gave us a Comments slip, for a prize draw. We will drop the comments on the website – we don’t expect to win the prize draw though!

  5. Joss

    I went to Boots with a designer frame that I bought online, I was amazed to be told they will cost £80.00 to glaze, WHAT! apparently I can get one of their frames for £79.00 or more, depends on the frames I choose and they will glaze them for free. What the hell is going on here, I am saving them at least £79.00 by using my own frames. Not only that, as I am using my own frames, they will take twice as long as normal to glaze. I think I will try an online optician for my next change of specs, but it does make me wonder where my specs have been sent for glazing and why it is taking twice as long. If I selected one of Boots over priced frames my specs would have been ready within the week. Obviously they do not like people doing what I done hence the stupid price for glazing, so if you think you can save money by using your own frames at Boots, forget it. Anyway after dealing with Boots opticians, I found their approach to customer service to be lacking, do they even train staff any more, probably not. No matter what the salesman said, there was no way I was going to choose one of their crappy frames over my lovely designer ones that fitted me perfect

    I wonder if anyone knows why my specs should cost the same price that I would have paid if I got the frames from Boots and why they take twice as long to glaze?

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