Newest Review: ... away that the lens was not my prescription. I have worn varifocals for over five years without any problem but this pair was unbearabl... more
My Reglaze Fiasco and the Saga that Followed
Member Name: koshkha
Advantages: They're cheap and if all goes smoothly you might get a bargain
Disadvantages: When it goes wrong, it REALLY goes wrong. I will never use this company again.
~Reglazing an old friend~
After going nearly five years without needing to change my prescription and consequently my glasses, I started to sense that my sight was not as good as it had been. I phoned the local Specsavers and trotted off for my appointment, leaving not long after nearly £200 worse off after succumbing to the temptation of a fancy swanky pair of frame-less specs and a new pair of sunglasses. When I got home a wee bit of common sense kicked in. I don't wear my glasses all the time and I realised that if I were to sit on my specs, leave them on a table and wander off, have them fall out of my bag or any number of other daft but entirely possible scenarios should ensue, I didn't have a back up pair. Specsavers had told me my main specs could take up to 3 weeks to arrive so I figured that maybe I could get a spare pair sorted quicker than that. I bounced around the internet for a while to identify a number of so-called 'reglaze' sites and identified Direct Sight.
The principle is simple. You have a pair of old frames you love (or perhaps don't hate) and they're still in great condition and not yet utterly dated and unfashionable. Maybe your prescription has changed - like mine - or you've scratched the lenses or maybe just want lenses with anti-reflect, tinting or some such effect. If you ask the lovely people at Specsavers to reglaze them (that is to take out the old lenses and put new ones in) you can kiss goodbye to the best part of £60 to £70. Specsavers don't WANT to reglaze your specs - they want you to buy new ones, ideally to get carried away by one of their complicated offers and buy TWO. That's what they're about and they're very good at it. Bringing your old specs back to life is not their core business.
Reglaze sites will take your old glasses, put in new lenses and then send them back to you - in theory, though my experience shows that it's not always so simple. In the case of Directsight.co.uk, they would take my old specs, update the lens prescription, do the anti-reflect and anti-scratch coatings and send them back for the princely sum of just £23.75. Bargain.
Perhaps some part of me was sceptical because I didn't send my much loved 'main' glasses. I sent my previous 'spare' pair - a set of rather swanky pink Missoni frames that probably required a little more self-confidence in the face-furniture department than I'd ever really been able to muster. They weren't cheap - they'd been part of a designer range from Specsavers but I'd rarely worn them, sticking to my less 'hey, look at me' black half-framed alternatives. The Missoni frame was classified as a 'rimmed frame' - meaning that the frame goes all the way round the lens. The ones I hesitated and decided (thankfully) not to send, were semi-rimmed - with the frame going round the top of the lens and the lower part being held in place by a plastic chord. The costs for both types are the same - only entirely rimless glasses are more expensive.
Rimmed and semi-rimmed reglaze starts at £10. Bifocals are an additional £30 and varifocal are £45 extra. You then add on a 'package' of what you want done to your lens on top. These start with the free 'bronze' package with standard lenses. The silver package gives you scratch resistant coating for £5, Gold gives you scratch resistance plus anti-reflect coating and UV-400 protection for £10. Platinum, Platinum Plus and Platinum Super suggest they were running out of precious metals for thinner, even thinner than thinner and eventually super-dooper extra thin lenses. These will set you back £30 to £99 on top of the original frame cost. Various tinting options are available on top of all these. You can clearly spend a lot of money if you want something complex and indeed the company ask you to call them if you want to discuss a complex request. I chose the Gold package - I don't have very thick lenses but I did want anti-reflect and anti-scratch was a bonus. With postage on top my bill came to £23.75.
I downloaded the order form and filled in my details. I made a photocopy of my new Specsavers prescription and put that in the envelope with the order and my old specs after filling in my credit card details and sent them off feeling mildly optimistic that they might get my reglazed glasses back to me before Specsavers had my new ones ready. What an optimistic fool I was.
~The Long Wait~
On the 27th of March - about a week after I sent them - I got a mail confirming my order and telling me my glasses had arrived. Two days later I got another telling me they'd been posted, saying they would take 7-14 days but 91% of deliveries were within 3 days.
By the 8th of April I was getting concerned so I wrote to them and when I got no response to my email I phoned to ask what was going on. The very nice lady on the phone said she'd get in touch with the lab and get back to me. On the 11th she eventually did but not with any useful info. She was waiting to hear from dispatch for the tracking reference and would get back to me. On the 12th I wrote and asked them straight "Have you lost my glasses?" No she claimed, my glasses were 'in the possession of the Royal Mail' and apparently my poor postman was being interrogated and an investigation was going on. My postman's a sweetheart - I didn't like the idea of him locked in a cupboard with bright lights shone in his eyes.
Throughout this nasty process they've blamed the Royal Mail. It was their choice to use Royal Mail so sorry, but that makes it their responsibility to sort it out.
Four days later on the 16th with no more news from Direct Sight I fired off another mail. In this one I pointed out that I'd already asked for their service to be added to two consumer websites so I could write about them and I was going to find it hard to write anything very nice based on the service I'd had. I'm unsure whether this helped or not but they then offered as 'a gesture of goodwill' (keep in mind THEY lost my glasses, THEY chose to use Royal Mail - none of this is MY fault) they would let me have a new pair of glasses from their Direct Sight range of frames and would glaze them for me. Would I like to choose a frame? These glasses were to keep me going until the parcel was found.
On the 19th of April I chose a frame and sent them the reference. I didn't want to have to buy a frame sight-unseen off a website. How the hell would I know if they would suit me? It's a total gamble. I picked an inexpensive frame which they sell at just £19 but there were options up to around £40. Last weekend (28/4) the glasses turned up and they're not awful but they certainly wouldn't have been ones I'd have chosen in a store. They arrived looking rather dusty and with glue-like bits around the rims that need a good fiddle to get them off. They'll 'do' but they aren't what I wanted. The despatch note doesn't tell me if they have anti-reflect and scratch resistant coating though I suspect they might but I don't know if I've got what I wanted even on the lenses.
These were supposed to be interim glasses until the lost ones are found. I'm not holding my breath. If my glasses aren't found, what happens then? So I wrote thanking them for the new glasses but pointing out that this wasn't the end of the matter and asking what they were going to do with regards compensation for my lost glasses. It has been clear throughout this mess that the only way you'll get anything out of Direct Sight is by persistance - you as the customer need to make all the running. I checked the Royal Mail website and realised that as the non-recipient, I couldn't make a claim because I had none of the posting details. I asked Direct Sight what they were going to do regarding my compensation. Yes, I had a pair of glasses in the right prescription but that wasn't what I had ordered so I was still unhappy.
The subsequent communication started to get a bit nasty. I kept calm, they kept calm but it was clear how much animosity was festering on both sides. They told me that my replacement glasses were 'compensation' and the matter was over. I drew their attention to the earlier mails and pointed out their 'gesture of goodwill' was pretty shabby if they thought they could subsequently turn it into an unofficial compensation. They said I could have my money back if I returned the glasses and I told them they could forget that. They lost my frames, I wasn't sending back their 'gesture of (rather shabby) goodwill' and I wanted my money back. IF my original glasses every arrived they could have their glasses back but not unless that happened.
I got my money back - minus £3 presumably for the postage of the replacement. I checked my bank account - it really is there. If I hadn't made a fuss I'd have got nothing - no glasses, no refund, nothing at all.
I can't recommend this site after the experience that I've had though I'm willing to believe I might just be the person who got the unlucky deal on this.
The idea that the Royal Mail stole my glasses is just bizarre - they were in a box that identified they were glasses - WHO would steal a pair of glasses? They've not been stolen at our house - we're in the middle of the countryside, down a private road with only 4 neighbours. Nobody passes by - we're not in a shared house with loads of tenants one of whose dog ran off with the parcel.
If you are looking for a more expensive reglaze, they send the glasses by signed for delivery which might give a bit more of a feeling of security. If you want cheap glasses and you aren't too fussy about the frames you can get a cheap pair of specs if you're willing to take a risk on the frame looking OK. But for me I've learned my lesson and I won't be going back. I'm just relieved that I didn't send my favourite frames and lose them.
Summary: Apparently nothing was their fault - it was all the fault of the post man. Yeah! Whatever.
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