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Raw Deal: Opticians move to help after our team steps in to support family’s glasses appeal

© SYSTEMCatherine Macdonald and her daughter Heather Parlett who were battling Optical Express over extra charges of hundreds of pounds for the elderly mum's new glasses.
Catherine Macdonald and her daughter Heather Parlett who were battling Optical Express over extra charges of hundreds of pounds for the elderly mum's new glasses.

Things are looking up for Catherine Macdonald after Raw Deal helped resolve a dispute she was having with a national eyewear company.

In April, Catherine, from Ullapool, Ross and Cromarty, paid £384 for three pairs of glasses from Optical Express in Inverness after undergoing a cataract procedure.

“Mum went to the store for an eye test and collected her glasses a few weeks later,” said Heather Parlett, Catherine’s daughter. “But she was annoyed when she couldn’t see properly with them.

“She phoned Optical Express twice in May to tell them that they were of no use to her at all.”

Following a second cataract procedure, Catherine, who is in her 80s, went back to Optical Express for another appointment.

“They checked her eyes and said they had a concern and referred her to hospital,” said Heather. “She was seen quickly and the consultant said she had fluid at the back of the eye and she needed two lots of different drops for a month.

“When mum went back to the hospital for a check-up she was told that she would now be good to go and get glasses.”

Heather then took her mother back to the Optical Express store. “They said the glasses that mum had previously purchased would now be fine,” said Heather.However, she still couldn’t see a thing with them.”

Catherine phoned the shop again but this time she was told it would cost another £250 to change the lenses.

“I went into Inverness with her to see them face to face and they said she hadn’t contacted them within 30 days of purchase, so nothing could be done.

“But I had proof from mum’s phone bill that she had called them twice in May.

“Basically, we were told that there was no way that mum was getting a refund on her original purchases and if she wanted an eye test she had to pay for it.

“I felt that her glasses should never have been done in the first place while her other eye wasn’t right. Now she was being asked to pay way more than £600 to get her new glasses.”

Heather said the situation became stressful for Catherine because she couldn’t read.

“This is mum’s favourite pastime but she couldn’t even read her Bible in church.”

At the end of her tether, Heather wrote to Raw Deal for help and advice.

The good news is that after we contacted Optical Express, the company moved quickly to offer Catherine a new, free eye test and will also replace her three pairs of glasses at no extra cost.

Optical Express said: “We are disappointed to hear of Mrs Macdonald’s reported experience of her interactions with certain members of staff in our Inverness clinic, and we will be discussing this with the team there.

“Our offer to perform a sight test at no charge remains open for her consideration to allow us to assess her current eye health and most up to date prescription.

“In light of the concerns raised by Mrs Macdonald, we would be happy to replace the lenses in each of the spectacles purchased from Optical Express in April 2021, at no cost.”

Catherine and Heather said they were grateful to Raw Deal for intervening to help resolve the matter.

Catherine added: “We seemed to be going around in circles with this for ages.

“Thank you, Raw Deal, for stepping in to help. This has made my Christmas.”