Here's what readers are saying so far.
In our latest Real Deal scenario, Mr. Kimura, a patient of Pearl City Optics, doesn't get around to filling his optical prescription until eight months after the fact.
When Kalea, an optician at the practice, finally dispenses the eyewear, Mr. Kimura finds that they don't meet his optical needs.
As it turns out, his vision have changed since the prescription was written. But Mr. Kimura is none too happy when presented with that news.
"That's not right," he said. "I'm not paying for two exams in the same year! If you don't fix them for free I want a full refund and I'll take my business elsewhere."
Several questions now arise:
- Should Mr. Kimura be billed for a refraction in this instance, or should the recheck be free?
- What could Kalea do differently in the future to prevent this from happening again?
- Would you issue a full refund, considering there was technically no error made?
We'd love to hear what you think. Check out the full scenario and send us your own response here.
Below is a sampling of the responses we've received so far.
I would call the patient back and apologize for any inconvenience, offer to do the refraction at no charge and make the glasses over. However, I would explain to the patient that your script can change within the year and this is a one-time courtesy. So the patient can keep this in mind for the future. It is not worth it to lose the patient and the sale over a refraction, but make sure the patient understands about the health of the eye. There could other things going on that led to the script change, or it could be in the patient's head, but don't let them know that.
We would double-check our eight-month-old Rx before proceeding, as a courtesy to the patient and to prevent situations just like this. We also have our doctor double-check outside prescriptions when their new Rx is considerably different than their current (old) eyewear that we've neutralized. It has saved us a number of headaches, especially when an "outside" provider has made a transcription error. If the patient refuses the complimentary recheck, we have them initial a statement on the order form that we are not responsible if the new Rx does not meet their present needs.
St. Petersburg, FL
I suggest retesting for free as the patient requests. It often turns out that a medical issue is driving the change, and if that's the case, explain this new information to the patient and negotiate a fair fee for the required medical diagnosis and management, and if appropriate, refund the glasses. If it is a minor refractive issue only, then it is better to "no charge" the refraction, and remake the lenses, to keep the patient's good will. In the future, inform patients who wait for than two months to fill a prescription: There is always a chance that the eyes may have shifted focus, and it's best to confirm the refraction (for a modest fee) before production, rather than take a chance of the visual outcome being less than ideal. If they choose to "chance it" they must sign a statement documenting this refused option. This way, if they are not pleased with the outcome it is really on them, and they will not likely balk at further investment to resolve it.
We have all seen this situation before. He is going to want a free recheck and a free remake. The best thing to do is to apologize, say you're sorry the glasses are not working as well as expected and give him a refund. At this point you can put the frame back into stock and possibly get some credit back from the lab for the lenses, and cut your losses to a minimum. You will be much further ahead because more likely than not he will also have a problem with the new Rx. Let him be a problem for someone else.
Yorba Linda, CA
It is definitely Mr. Kimura's fault for waiting for eight months to fill his prescription. The office has every right to charge him for a refraction or to refuse to refund his glasses, but at what expense? They'll lose a customer forever, and a possible source of future referrals. In this case, I think it is better to be nice than to be right. The office has an excellent opportunity earn a customer for life. In this situation, our office would perform the refraction and remake the glasses at no charge to the patient.