Cheap prices at Specsavers – true or fairytale?


Age brings certain challenges in the ‘looks’, whether we like it or not. In this blog I’m telling about my personal experience in trying to improve it.

Specsavers has had very effective marketing in selling two pairs of glasses for the price of one – single vision glasses starting from 29€ and two for one starting from 79€, wow! Their marketing had convinced me already so well that I marched to the nearest shop without even considering any other options.

In the appointment with an optician, I got a quick eye check-up and, as a result, I was encouraged to buy multi-vision lenses with an anti-reflection feature. I was told how narrow the actual vision area is with the cheapest lenses and therefore I was recommended to buy the most expensive “Taylormade” lenses, all together for the price of 559€! I was shocked of the price but I believed in the optician’s professional opinion and agreed to make the order.

A couple of weeks later I got a text message to pick up the glasses from the shop. The glasses were fit to my face so now I just needed to start using them… I could read a book and look far without removing the glasses, great! But it turned out not to be so good as I was told, I could see well near but there was no change in looking far, actually I couldn’t even see as well as with my own eyes. I couldn’t use the glasses when watching TV either unless sitting back straight up, I couldn’t use them when reading in the bed as the position was not good for that either. After 3 weeks I returned the glasses back to the shop, as they had anyhow a 3-month guarantee.

I got a new sight test in which the results were a bit different from the original result, minor inaccuracy which the optician offered to be fixed. I told her of my experience and how dissatisfied I was; I had, after all, bought the best possible (and most expensive) lenses they offer. She claimed that it takes more time to get used to the lenses. I explained her that surely people will get used to a limited eye sight but why I would need to adjust myself for the glasses as the ultimate target was to make my life easier with them! She persistently repeated the same. I told her that my grandmother lost the sight of her other eye, and she got used to it, but she didn’t have much of an option. I paid a lot of money for a pair of glasses which don’t even serve the purpose and don’t meet my expectations, I want to return them. She offered me to change the other pair for reading glasses so I asked how much she will compensate in the price? She told she cannot. So the offer got even worse. Why would I pay 559€ for one pair of multi-vision and one pair for single vision glasses?

After a long discussion she finally gave up and agreed to take back the glasses and to return the money but the important question came to my mind – how many customers fall into the marketing promise of cheap prices and in case of being unhappy of the result, are convinced that they have the problem, not the glasses? And as a result, a customer has very expensive two pairs of glasses in their drawer.

Even though the level of customer service has improved a bit in Finland, more still needs to be done. Why is it not enough that the customer returns the product back and no reasons asked? In case of complaints, the customer should have an advocate’s competence to be able to justify why she or he wants to return the product, otherwise it’s only the customer’s fault – why did you buy it in the first place?

As a conclusion, I would have taken the glasses if the optician had compensated in the price. But because it didn’t happen, they lost the whole price and the possibility to sell the lenses and the frames as they were already customized. I was anyhow a happy customer, I got my money back.

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8 Responses to Cheap prices at Specsavers – true or fairytale?

  1. anpabe says:

    I have the same kind of experience like you have. I bought two pairs of glasses with over 500 euros. One of them was multi-vision glasses and other was multi-vision sunglasses. I tried to get used to them during one year! After that I bought new glasses from another shop. My next glasses will be also from some other shop than Specsavers.

  2. pesosi says:

    There are hardly any fairytales in business from the consumers’ point of view. I’m afraid it’s always just clever marketing making us believe so. Is it fairytales for the retailers either if it’s bringing only unhappy customers – like you? In my opinion the level of customer service in Finland is not up to today’s standards. Us customers are requiring perfect products with good customer service. Is it really that difficult to understand? How can the retailers afford thinking “all or nothing”? In the happy ending you were satisfied customer, but surely not in a way Specsavers were hoping for.

  3. liisaps2014 says:

    Thank you for you blog. I am going to buy my first glasses in the near future and now I am much more aware what I should pay attention to. I don’t want to have the same kind of experience like you had. There is still lot of to do in customer service in Finland.

  4. H&A says:

    By marketing glasses, starting from 29€, Specsavers has got the customers running into the store. After getting your eyes checked-up it`s time to choose the right model. There are about ten models to choose from, for 29€. You can rarely find a suitable model from the cheapest prize group.
    So after all this you still have to choose a more expensive model. I think there are not many people who walk out from the store without buying new classes. If you have seen this much trouble, it`s not easy to leave without buying anything. From the store’s point of view you could say that this type of marketing is successful. Or is it?

  5. uunoturhapuro says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, there is a lesson to learn. I might be buying glasses as well… You were really persistent to get your money back!

  6. ryynanen says:

    I am afraid this is relatively normal from what I have heard. Surely I can undestand that tailor made glasses are expensive even for the company to produce – I just really wish SOME company would learn from this and others mistakes and set a goal to differ from everyone else – and would give a “Please return the glasses if you are in any way not satisfied with your purchase, no questions asked!” Would be a huge edge for them..

  7. saaravir says:

    I absolutely agree with ryynanen. I have read so many writings how the marketing has mislead people and the final price has been much more higher than advertisement said. Glasses are an important part of the look, so right to return would be awesome thing. I’m sure that customers would appreciate it even more than who has the “lowest” price.

  8. piberic says:

    Thanks to you all for your valuable comments! I discussed a lot with optician (who turned out to be this shop’s entrepreneur) and she told that the Specsavers lenses are produced in Hungarian factories and the cheap prices are based on this centralized production. Probably there is still room to cheapen the prices, also for multi-vision lenses.

    I like to believe that this particular entrepreneur took lessons learned from this sales experience as it was probably reflecting how the customer relationships could be managed even better than today. They should find the best possible solution for the customer in question, by cheaper solution according their marketing promise.

    If you are more interested, please take a look Specsavers Annual Review 2012/13:

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