22 Ways To Deal With Optical Refunds


Issuing optical refunds continues to be a topic of discussion. What do you refund, the lens? The treatments? The Frame? Should you do an exchange only? How long does the patient have? Do you post a refund policy, like you have to do in New York, which is a state law?


It is a tricky situation, you have put in the time and money in good faith and now they want their money back? Will you lose a patient and any referrals? Do you even want that patient? Should you make exceptions?

Then again do you track? Are they regular patients? As one office said

  1. ‘We seemed to have a rash of patients who were unwilling to work with us regarding script or style. The common thread was I just don’t have time for this, give me my money back. Upon evaluation they were outside Rx’s and most did not live in the area. We have never had difficulty with the patients we had worked with and will continue to give full refunds to those who make an honest attempt to clear up whatever problem they may have.
  2. Our new policy states that prescription lenses are custom made and full refunds are not possible, we will gladly refund on frames returned in good condition with in 60 days. We will still look at a case by case basis and do the best thing for our long term outlook. This is printed on the back of every reciept and we mention it to every patient.
  3. Van Rue says that most people do not want their money back, they just want the issue to be resolved quickly. ‘By returning the money quickly, we can often resolve the helplessness the patient feels and restore their confidence in our skills. Its reduces the anger that inhibits crucial dialogue. Often patients get so angry we cant effectively learn enough to give the help they need. Reduce that anger, move to a solution, take the money back.
  4. Make your policy and advertise it – stamp it on receipt, post it in the store, mention it when selling – it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s clear to everone. Think of your costs, lab credits, etc. then decide.
  5. One person stated to print on credit card and itemized store receipts, “Due to the custom nature of our work we are unable to offer refunds” Full store credit is available if they want to switch the frame.
  6. On all NON-RX eyewear: We will gladly give a full refund or an exchange within TWO weeks from date of purchase, after that two week period we will exchange only, NO REFUNDS, for an additional TWO weeks from the date of purchase, for a total of FOUR weeks.’ No refunds, cancellations or after the fact order changes. This is posted, along with our other dispensary policies about POFs, repair charges, etc.
  7. We have highly visible signs in the dispensary: “Eyeglass lens orders are highly customized and can not be canceled once they have been placed. A restocking fee may be assessed on stopped orders.”
  8. If they want one, we give it to them. No matter what.
  9. Our Policy is not posted but, if a patient asks, I assure them that anyone who is not wholly satisfied with their experience and eyewear from us will indeed get a full 100% refund if one wishes. It’s very…very rare that we issue a refund.
  10. I am absolutely a proponent of the idea that we are selling for the future. Most of our refund patients also return. If you consistently sell for the future, keeping customer satisfaction in favor of a few more bucks and/or a hard-sell approach, in several years you’ll find your patient base almost maintenance-free. The only repeat business we should lose is 1) patients who pass away, 2) patients who move away, and 3) patients who are impossible to please and who are gladly allowed to take their complaining/insane/abusive business elsewhere.
  11. Thinking back… for the half-dozen or so refunds I’ve given out in 34 years of business, at least 3/4’s of those clients subsequently came back for more purchases, and have remained long term clients. Since I don’t perceive any real pattern here, therefore no fire that needs dousing, in our store we will continue to entertain and give out a refund to any client who desires one.
  12. Refunds we will generally give quite cheerfully once we have exhausted all refit and remake possibilities–or if the patient is just bound and determined to be unhappy.
  13. The official policy is 30 days no questions asked. My policy is if there’s a vision problem, I’ll refund cheerfully. Vision problem is defined as doctor change.
  14. If it is our fault we fix it; but how does a refund solve the issue? If we sell a product that we cannot deliver, it is the customers choice and normally they just want glasses. So we restyle and life is good.
  15. If it is a lens change, frame change or rx change we normally do it at n/c; but if they yell at us and blame us we charge them 1/2 for the lenses. After number 2 they all pay for the lenses at 1/2 off. This can happen with outside Rx’s and the person is very happy to pay 1/2 at this point.
  16. No refund. Remake to SV or FT at no charge. (This seems to be the most popular refund policy)
  17. No refunds. “We don’t give money back but we will get you something that works.”
  18. No refunds. We will restyle in a reasonable amount of time.
  19. If you want a refund, you get one, but you are then barred from returning.
  20. Due to the time involved and the custom nature of eyewear; All Sales are Final. This is posted, on the signed receipt and the store receipt. If there is an optical problem we are better served to solve than anybody else and we do not count buyers remorse as an optical issue.
  21. We are a luxury retailer and all sales are final.
  22. On all RX eyewear: We will gladly give you a full refund, exchange, or an RX-change (at no charge), within THIRTY days from date of purchase. After those thirty days, exchanges and RX-changes will vary upon the type of lenses used. There will be NO REFUNDS after the thirty day perioD.

Sometimes you just have to let the patient go, give them back their money and a referral to go someplace else. If you can’t make them happy, what is the point?

What is your refund policy? Do you have anything to add?

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