LensCrafters. Count your fingers when leaving.

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

25 February 2016

LensCrafters. How very crafty.

What is wrong with LensCrafters?

Remember 1987 when LensCrafters upset the eyeglass applecart by promising quality lenses in about an hour?

Boy, have times changed. Sure, LensCrafters still delivers your new glasses in about and hour but it has succeeded in that hour of making me feel as though I am purchasing a used car from a slimy car salesman. Actually, that might be giving the car salesman a black eye.

LensCrafters promises your new glasses in about an hour.

That’s how long it takes to figure out the DEAL they offer you

Like most of the rebranding garbage out there, Belk ended up with a new logo and color palette and not much more (smells like politics to me).

Navel gazing has never helped anyone and it has not surly not helped Belk either.

Great branding has a clear and emotionaly important single idea. Obviously, Belk could not decide what that was so it settled for three ideas.

“The price tag of new lenses blew me away. As did the sales techniques. My optician took my prescription and started entering the data on my record. I am not privy to all that he is entering as I sit opposite him at a desk. All I know is that it seemed to take forever to enter the data and even longer to tell me the price.”

I knew it was time to get my eyes examined because my glasses were not working as well as they used to. I have an ophthalmologist as part of my roster of healthcare providers and I checked in to get my eyes dilated and my retinas checked.

There was good and bad news. The bad news was that my prescription had indeed changed. The good news was that my right eye had actually improved in its distance vision. Who knew?

I don’t know if most guys are like me but I never seem to know what glasses look best on me. I have to ask the salesperson for their opinion. Then, in an effort to save face, I agree with them and buy their selection.

A year ago, the salesperson could not decide which pair of glasses looked best on me (I was down to two pairs), so I bought them both. One pair had progressive lenses built in because of my need for reading glasses only and the second pair was what they call a transition lens (that darkens when outside) but was for distance only.

My reasoning was that I could wear pair two when outside and I rarely read while walking and hiking.

There is a permanent sale always going on at LensCrafters.

Reminds me of the permanent Going Out Of Business signs.

It stood to reason, therefore, to keep both pairs of frames (to save me the embarrassment of having no idea what looks flattering) and just get new lenses for both pairs. I decided that lenses completed in about an hour sounded good so I left my ophthalmologist’s office and his ubiquitous optician store, and headed over to LensCrafters.

LensCrafters Discounts

LensCrafters. The key words here are “SEE CONDITIONS.”

LensCrafters opened my eyes wide

The price tag of new lenses blew me away. As did the sales techniques. My optician, a very pleasant guy named Steve, took my prescription and started entering the data on my record. I am not privy to all that he is entering as I sit opposite him at a desk. All I know is that it seemed to take forever to enter the data and even longer to tell me the price.

The fee for just the LensCrafter lenses was almost $600. I was shocked. “Don’t worry,” assured Steve. “We will give you a 25% discount.”

What about the coupon and advertising that says I save 50%, I asked. “That only applies if you buy new frames.” Steve said firmly.

“So”, I said, “It would cost me less to buy my lenses with a new set of frames than it does for me to buy just the lenses?

“Well, that depends on the frames you choose”, said Steve. “It might be cheaper.”

He did not know that there was no way I was going to go through the process of picking out new frames. How could he? I pretended to be confident and reassured.

“Steve,” I asked, “I think my health insurance pays for some of this too.”

LensCraftersSteve took down my medical insurance information and miraculously entered it into his dark hole of a computer.

“Tom, it looks like your insurance qualifies you for a 20% discount.”

“Great!”, I said. “That’s almost the full 50% off that you promise with the purchase of new frames.” Hey, I can add that 20%+25% is a 45% discount.

“Sorry,” said Steve, adding. “You can’t combine discounts, so the price I gave you at the beginning is still the best price.” He looked down and went back to entering more stuff on his computer screen.

“Let me get this straight,” I said. “The discount offered by my insurance can’t be added to your own discount even though it feels like it should be applicable?”

“Afraid so,” Steve said confidently.

Meanwhile, I heard an optician who had another customer behind me telling her about a 5% AAA discount. But he added the AAA discount that was not as good as the 25% he initially offered too. I guess no one pays the full price at LensCrafters because the full price is 25% higher than the REAL price.

What a shell game. One thing is for sure. I see much more clearly now. And all this in under an hour!

17 Comments

  1. steven rogers

    I scratched one of my lenscrafter lenses less than 5 months after getting the lenses (I paid for scratch resistant coating but it didn’t seem to do much). I asked to get a replacement right lens. Lenscrafter told me that they had to make 2 lenses, not just 1 so that’s $600. I said that’s crazy, i didn’t need 2 lenses, just 1. They said it’s store policy. I said I didn’t care about store policy when I only need 1 item. I asked if there was a medical or legal reason for this. The manager told me no, that it was just store policy. What a rip-off.

    Reply
    • natasha

      The lenses come together. Lenscrafters would want to be sure you have two “fresh” lenses free from scratches or any other damage. Additionally, you may have declined the eyewear protection program. For 34.99 it protects your investment. $600 is an expensive product so why would one not protect it? Had you purchased the protection if anything happened to your eyewear over the course of a year, you would receive replacement lenses for only $25. It pays for itself.

      Reply
      • Ann

        Vision Works has a year warranty on your purchase of new glasses without charging any protection plan fee.

        Reply
  2. Mackie

    They tried the no- combining-discounts thing on me, too (with my insurance). What a ripoff! Instead, I took their best discount and filed the insurance claim myself. I’ve ordered my next pair online, saving $700!

    Reply
    • Yaritsa mendez

      how did this work for you? i literally just paid 550 for a pair of glasses. Its crazy!

      Reply
      • Natasha

        If you were to break your glasses, Lens Crafters could replace your eyewear in just about an hour. I would like to know how the online providers, clean, adjust and maintain your eyewear? Vision is so important. Why risk your eyes to lenses that could be wrong (which could happen anywhere) However, who want’s to mail in there glasses when they have a concern? $550, in my opinion, is not bad for a designer frame, quality lenses, and access to a reputable company that you can walk into when you have a real concern. Those things cost, building cost, associates cost, machinery cost, Oh did I mention no one gets’s electricity for free? No one takes the time to think about the cost it may take for a business to run efficiently and effectively? We charge our customers a fair price so that we can be around to service our beloved customers.

        Reply
        • Jat

          Natasha there is no “right” prescription. You can go to 3 different doctors and receive 3 differing prescriptions and they all be medically acceptable. Doctors also say there is no long term medical harm even if you were to wear totally incorrect prescriptions or glasses. All that could happen is dry eyes or temporary headaches in the worst cases.

          The bottom line is that compared to buying online from China to LensCrafters, there is no FUNCTIONAL difference in the quality of the lenses and no functional performance reason to pay 10x more.

          As you say it’s all about service. You aren’t paying because the GLASSES are worth an insane markup but subsidizing all the ancillary things like renting the store location and paying the kids who work there.

          LensCrafters is t even that bad. The worst offfenders are these neighborhood optical shops and local chains. They can mark up 50% more than LensCrafters. At least LensCrafters charges retail. I have seen $200 Oakley’s marked up to $325 at local optical shops. These stores basically exploit insurance, so they sell to ppl whose jobs provide vision, and then gouge them $900 for glasses since they don’t care and will be passing it o to insurance

          Reply
    • Natasha

      Digital technology and digital measurements cost. I think it’s great is one want to risk their eyecare needs just to save money with an online service. An optician once told me “Natasha, would you rather lose a pinky or your eyes?” “He then said would you rather lose your hand or your eyes?” He then said “would you rather lose your arm then your….. Ok ok, I get it. We don’t put any value on our eyes until it’s too late? Quality eyewear is essential. Lens Crafters provides cutting-edge innovations and craftsmanship to our beloved customers, so they can continue to see-and-be-seen in the best ways possible. That’s been our passion and our legacy for over 30 years, and we don’t think you can put a price on your eyes. Eyewear is not a toy. They must be properly fit, adjusted and maintained. Good luck getting those services online? Additionally, $700? Over the course of 2 or 3 years (the length of time one usually keeps their glasses), It’s relatively a small investment considering it’s your eyesight we are talking about?

      Reply
      • Steve

        Nobody will lose their eyes if prescription lenses are not correct. If they are seeing an eye doctor and have their eyes examined to get the correct prescription there is absolutely no risk. Ordering glasses outside of a retail store WILL NOT cause you to lose your vision.

        That statement is utterly ludicrous.

        Reply
      • Eric

        Warby Parker is now in my town and I get a pair of prescription sunglasses and two pair of regular glasses for the price of one at LC. Digital technology? Really? You can get digital measurement technology at any hardware shop for comparatively the same exact cost as traditional. Nothing can justify their costs other than high overhead and price gouging. Poorly run business taking advantage of a legacy business model of ripping people off. Thankfully times are changing and unless LC does, they will be filing bankruptcy in 5 years.

        Reply
      • Lynnette

        Natasha, do you work for LensCrafters, because you certainly sound like you do.

        Reply
  3. Rick Goldman

    What is it with Lenscrafters, the have like NO RESPECT. I purchased two Pair and had my Eye Exam there. I started having odd feelings when putting on my glasses and noticed my non-dominant eye was fuzzy. Look a person can have a cataract in a non-dominant eye and go on noticed for a very long time, that’s how the brain works. I returned and “Paid” for another exam, fine and clearly the first one had an error. I take some responsibility but I too am medical and testing is a two way street. In Eye Exam they rush you through at times. I thought I could get the Lens replaced, I did not expect it free but I thought a couple hundred bucks was fair. NOOOOOO! They wanted $800 !! But “Special” Deal buy the frames and get lenses at 50% off. Come on, really! That “sale” has been going on for a decade. I was told to call the Corporate Office, ever try to find that number. After getting in touch I was told there was nothing they could do. After complaining (always polite) I was told they would send me a link and someone would respond in 24 hours. First, no link came until my third call. The NO Response. I hit up the link three more times and finally. Still no good, each response took several days. Then the told me the “Same” get new Frames and the Lenses are half off. What a deal only $736 these guys are just SCAMMERS

    Reply
  4. Sam

    I just purchased some Oakley sunglasses with perscription lenses in them. I told them I wanted to get polarized lenses which they said wasn’t a problem. When I got home I started looking at my receipt in more detail. I noticed that I was charged $150 for Single vision lens, $95 for Poly Oakley true Digital Plrzd 9999, $120 for Polarized Oakley, and $70 for Oakely AR BK. I think I am being charged double for the Polarized lens. I called and asked about it and they gave me some excuse that is how they charge for the lens. The first charge of $120 is for the lens material. If that’s the case then why does it say Poly Digital Plrzd? They should change it and say $120 for the poly lens. Then I asked about the $70 charge for the AR (Anti-Reflective). I was told that used to be an option from Oakley, but now its not an option. It seems to me like that should be something that is included, not an extra charge of $70. So in total I am paying $435 for the lenses when I really think that it should be $190 less.

    Reply
  5. Ann

    I purchased a Versace frame for $245 and my ultra thin lenses were like $635. I had insurance that covered $98 off frame price and around half off my lenses. I pay like $80 a year for my insurance plan. I went online and found the same Versace frame for $106 on Amazon and a few dollars more on various other sites. The frames cost me more to use my insurance then if I just bought my frame online and then used my insurance for just the lenses. I have tons of frames I’ve accumulated through the years, next time I will just have lenses put in. Frames are way overpriced at LensCrafters.

    Reply
  6. Ann

    I purchased a complete pair of glasses at Lenscrafters because my insurance plan participated with them. Even with my insurance plan, my out of pocket cost was huge. Total for designer frame and ultra thin lenses was over $800, my cost was over $500. At that time Lenscrafters was having a 40% off deal if you buy frames and lenses. My deal with insurance was better I was told and I could not combine deals. A few months later I find out that Lenscrafters was offering 50% off if you buy frames and lenses. This would equal my deal with my insurance plan. Bottom line: I did not need to pay the monthly fees I have been paying for insurance as Lenscrafters offered the same savings. If I were to do it all over again I would have walked out after finding out that the total cost of my glasses were over $800. I am not buying a car. I would have purchased my glasses elsewhere where the prices were lower and where a year warranty came with the purchase of a pair of glasses. Lenscrafters charges for a “protection plan” that should be included as it is in other places.

    Reply
  7. Shayna Dubbin

    I will be filing an official complaint today against LensCrafters with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, based on fraud, deceptive business practices, loss of income, & personal injury due to negligence. Recently lost my sunglasses & saw my ophthalmologist, who updated my prescription, not because the prescription changed, but because LensCrafters required a new prescription every year. OK, I’ll go along with that. I took it into LensCrafters because I wanted the exact same lenses that LensCrafters provided to me 2 years ago, on time, without incident, This is now the third time in less than a month that LensCrafters has given me the wrong lenses. After this third failure to provide the service and the lenses for which I have already paid, I was told told that the company no longer “tints” sunglasses and lenses are no longer created in
    the store. They are sent away to an un-named lab. Yet I was charged $25 for this “tint.” I don’t care about the $25; I care about the lost income as a result of their failure to provide the service that was promised, on 3 separate occasions, & for which I paid. They could have told me before I purchased these lenses that they could no longer provide the lenses I require. Indeed they looked at my record from two years ago, so they knew what I needed, knowing at that time they could not provide them. Yet they still took my money and promised me the lenses would be easily replicated. That’s fraud & deceptive business practice. After the third failure to provide the correct lenses, I was told nothing could be done and that I would be stuck with the third incorrect pair of lenses. I asked for a refund and was told that was impossible because the lenses had already been made. I asked to speak to a manager. There was no manager in the store. My cell phone records demonstrate 14 calls to LensCrafters over a 10 day period. Every single time I called, I was told there was no manager in the store. Not surprisingly, my cell phone records indicate that not one single call from LensCrafters was returned. I needed to get on the road for business reasons and had no alternative but to accept the incorrect lenses, hoping they would work for me at least temporarily, until my return, at which time I would deal with the incompetence of LensCrafters. They glasses did not work. These incorrect lenses caused headaches so severe that I could not drive with them. It took an extra two days and a handful of Percocet to get me to my destination. That’s personal injury and loss of income. They could have easily told me upfront they could not provide the service I required ( they had my previous records in front of them) thereby providing me with at least the opportunity to consider other options. instead they fraudulently took my money, caused me a great deal of physical pain that required medical intervention, loss of income as a result of the two extra days on the road ( & outrageous inconvenience). Promises were made and not kept by both the store “marketing director” and the occasionally present optician. I am now out $200 for the wrong lenses, plus the $25 for a tint promised but not provided. ( I purchased the new frames at Sunglass Hut). This entire situation has caused an enormous amount pain, loss, inconvenience & money…. but that’s nothing compared to what’s in store for LensCrafters and Luxotica (who owns the LensCrafters brand). As a consumer, I refuse to be treated this way and will avail myself of every single remedy to which I am entitled. I will not lay down or just forget about this matter. Based on other complaints I have reviewed, someone needs to do something. I invite anyone who wishes to do so to join me in this endeavor. There is a reason my nickname is “Shut ‘Em Down Shayna.”

    Reply
  8. Melissa

    What is the deal with this place? From what I have read – I experienced almost ALL OF IT! My glasses are getting all scratched up after 5 months. I did purchase scratch resistant. Went into the store and the lady was UGLY! I am not a child and I take care of my glasses. I am not sure why they are so scratched up but I do not need to be treated rude by the sales lady. Then she said, “I will not replace these again!”. I do not need to be spoken down to – I was asking for help and guidance. THEN when given a receipt it states I DID purchase scratch resistant. What does that mean???

    Reply

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It stood to reason, therefore, to keep both pairs of frames (to save me the embarrassment of having no idea what looks flattering) and just get new lenses for both pairs. I decided that lenses completed in about an hour sounded good so I left my ophthalmologist’s office and his ubiquitous optician store, and headed over to LensCrafters.

LensCrafters Discounts

LensCrafters. The key words here are “SEE CONDITIONS.”

LensCrafters opened my eyes wide

The price tag of new lenses blew me away. As did the sales techniques. My optician, a very pleasant guy named Steve, took my prescription and started entering the data on my record. I am not privy to all that he is entering as I sit opposite him at a desk. All I know is that it seemed to take forever to enter the data and even longer to tell me the price.

The fee for just the LensCrafter lenses was almost $600. I was shocked. “Don’t worry,” assured Steve. “We will give you a 25% discount.”

What about the coupon and advertising that says I save 50%, I asked. “That only applies if you buy new frames.” Steve said firmly.

“So”, I said, “It would cost me less to buy my lenses with a new set of frames than it does for me to buy just the lenses?

“Well, that depends on the frames you choose”, said Steve. “It might be cheaper.”

He did not know that there was no way I was going to go through the process of picking out new frames. How could he? I pretended to be confident and reassured.

“Steve,” I asked, “I think my health insurance pays for some of this too.”

LensCraftersSteve took down my medical insurance information and miraculously entered it into his dark hole of a computer.

“Tom, it looks like your insurance qualifies you for a 20% discount.”

“Great!”, I said. “That’s almost the full 50% off that you promise with the purchase of new frames.” Hey, I can add that 20%+25% is a 45% discount.

“Sorry,” said Steve, adding. “You can’t combine discounts, so the price I gave you at the beginning is still the best price.” He looked down and went back to entering more stuff on his computer screen.

“Let me get this straight,” I said. “The discount offered by my insurance can’t be added to your own discount even though it feels like it should be applicable?”

“Afraid so,” Steve said confidently.

Meanwhile, I heard an optician who had another customer behind me telling her about a 5% AAA discount. But he added the AAA discount that was not as good as the 25% he initially offered too. I guess no one pays the full price at LensCrafters because the full price is 25% higher than the REAL price.

What a shell game. One thing is for sure. I see much more clearly now. And all this in under an hour!

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