Product Type: Boots health products
Newest Review: ... though they were informed NHS does it to me every 6 months if required saying that was ok the NHS will pay!) they then told me I'd only nee... more
Helping Me See Clearly
Member Name: rosebud2001
Advantages: Good service and reasonably quick delivery of glasses
Disadvantages: Can indulge in hard sell if you only want a prescription
Up until a few years ago I didn't bother much with opticians. I didn't get my eyes tested for years and every time I did I was told I had 20:20 vision - even when I got them tested just before I turned 40.
All this changed in 2008 when I realised I couldn't see road signs as clearly as I had in the past when I was driving. So it was no surprise to learn I needed glasses although then I was told I needed them mainly for driving. At the time I bought some cheap frames from SpecSavers, along with a pair of prescription sunglasses which I ended up wearing about twice as I had got reaction lenses for my main glasses and they worked perfectly well.
It was because I felt I had been misinformed about my "need" for prescription sunglasses that I was reluctant to return to SpecSavers when I was due another eye test in 2010. However it's a fact that all opticians will push you quite aggressively towards buying glasses from their own store rather than just giving you a prescription and allowing you to go away and think about it.
With this in mind, I decided to effectively shop for the frames I wanted before making an appointment for an eye test and I started my search at Boots Opticians in Hamilton late last summer. In there I found a pair of rimless Stepper frames that I really liked, but I decided I would look to see if I could find the frames in one of the many opticians in East Kilbride, where I live, before making an appointment.
So it came to pass that I visited every single opticians in my local town's rather large shopping centre, including another two branches of Boots Opticians, fruitlessly searching for the frames I liked or anything better. This left me with no choice - it was the Hamilton branch or bust.
Boots have had their own opticians instore for many years now but they recently merged with Dollond & Aitchison, leading to these stand alone stores being rebranded as Boots Opticians.
~~Making an Appointment~~
While I was dithering over where I might be able to find these frames I visited the shopping centre in Hamilton another couple of times. On one occasion I tried to get an appointment for an eye test there and then but it quickly became apparent that this is a busy branch so I decided to make an appointment for a weekday to stop any further wasted trips.
I was given a date just under a week ahead of when I made the enquiry which wasn't too bad. They do have some slots on the day but by and large you are better off making an appointment to be sure of seeing someone when you want to have a test.
I hate having my eyes tested and have encountered some pretty terse opticians over the years. Fortunately the optician who tested my eyes at Boots wasn't like this. He was quite young and very chatty which put me at my ease, talking me through all the stages of the test.
The test was very thorough and took about 15 minutes. The optician explained to me afterwards that my eyesight had actually improved since I had last had a sight test, but the bad news was it didn't mean I could eschew the glasses.
He wrote out a prescription and I was passed on to a sales assistant who invited me to look at the frames available. As I already knew what I wanted, I just pointed the frames out to her and then she took me over to a desk to work out what extras I wanted and how much they would cost.
Boots Opticians do carry a large range of frames with a good selection of designer frames but also a reasonable selection of generic and as a result much cheaper frames too. They have a good selection for men, women and children which I was pleased to see - in so many opticians childrens' frames seem to be an afterthought. They frequently have offers on offering 2 for 1 on frames too.
The frames I had chosen were quite expensive, and I also wanted reaction lenses which of course add to the cost. The total cost was £285 but I was entitled to some help with the cost of glasses so I got them for a little less. You also get Boots Advantage card points on purchases.
I paid a deposit for the glasses, and was told they would call me in a week or so when they expected the glasses to be ready.
I waited nearly 10 days for the glasses - and I did actually call in the interim to find out where they were but it transpired that they were having some difficulty with reaction lenses at the time and that was what was causing the delay. I arranged to go and pick the glasses up the next day and was pleased to see that they took time to ensure the frames fitted properly and were comfortable to wear. Once this had been done I paid the balance and was given my new glasses in a black Stepper case which also had a cloth inside.
This should have been the end of this part of my review but a few weeks ago I lost my glasses - which dismayed me because I had grown so attached to them. I still don't know how I lost them but I was bereft. I loved my glasses and was desperate for another pair so I called Boots Opticians in Hamilton and enquired about ordering a new pair.
This was a very easy process - they took my name and date of birth and the system brought up my prescription immediately, along with all additional details, including the fact I wanted grey reaction lenses. I was told it would come to £285 again but they said they would take 25% off the price because I had only had the glasses 6 months. I had been planning to ask for a possible discount due to repeat custom so soon after my initial purchase so I was delighted to be offered this without asking. This brought the cost down to £215 which I agreed upon. They requested a deposit of £50 which I paid over the phone and once again I was told they would phone me when my glasses were ready.
This call took place on a Saturday and the following Friday my glasses were ready for me to pick up, so I drove down to Hamilton as soon as my daughter was home from school where once again fit was checked before the remainder of the cost was paid.
I have to say the ability of the branch to both offer me a reasonable discount on the replacement pair and the speed at which they got the new glasses to me was hugely impressive.
Although my own experience with Boots Opticians has been very good, my sister, who got her eyes tested in January, found things to be very different.
She visited the East Kilbride branch and upon learning she would need vari-focals decided she didn't want to buy glasses there and then as the cost of these lenses represented a big jump from what she was used to.
Her experience with the optician wasn't bad but she found the sales assistant she dealt with thereafter to be quite rude and bordering on obstructive when it came to getting her prescription. She was given what she decribed as a "hard sell" treatment and said she felt belittled for not buying glasses there and then.
Eventually she did manage to leave with just her prescription - as is her right, but she felt so badly about the experience she vowed to me that she wouldn't be going back to Boots Opticians when the time came to buy the frames.
This experience was a sharp reminder of why I had decided to browse for frames first before choosing an optician and it's worth bearing in mind if you find the hard sell annoying.
When I consider my own experience with Boots Opticians I feel it was a positive one and as a result I have given them a four star rating. However when I asked my sister what rating she would give them, she said two stars, so I do wonder if you get a second rate service if you only want to use them for an eye test.
My own experience was a good one - and I was very pleased with the service I got from all staff I dealt with. What really impressed me was the service I got when I called to enquire about a replacement pair of glasses after I lost my first pair. I had expected a longer wait and a protracted period of negotiation for a discount but the company were able to deal with both issues quickly and to my satisfaction. I really appreciated this as I found it rather stressful to be without my glasses - I still had my old pair which I wore for driving but I really noticed the difference between the lenses and as a result was impatient for the replacement pair.
I am covered on my house contents insurance for the replacement glasses but I decided not to go down this route due to a high excess and worries about how this might impact on my renewal for a relatively inexpensive item. If you read my Barclays review you will know I received £400 in compensation from them for exceptionally poor service - well now you know where some of the money went!
There is a reasonably comprehensive website for Boots Opticians too. You can use the website to book a sight test and to purchase contact lenses, or to browse frames. The website also has a store locator.
So in conclusion I would recommend Boots Opticians but probably only if you have already got a good idea of what frames you want to buy or are able to see off the most persistent sales assistant if you really only want a prescription.
Summary: My experience with Boots Opticians