December 30, 2008

Wisconsin Vision -- Feel My Rage!

It's lucky I have naturally low blood pressure. Otherwise, I might well be having an apoplectic fit right now, after the remorseless bloodsuckers at Wisconsin Vision, Inc. had their way with me this afternoon, so soon on the heels of my DMV license plate debacle.

So there I was, trying to use up the remaining $240 in my FSA account before the end of the calendar year. I thought, "Hey, it's been a few years since I got new glasses...I'll go get me some."

Let's just say I didn't have a problem spending $240. Heck, the eye exam(s) alone cost me almost $100.


For several years I have experienced the practice of eye doctors charging a separate fee for the regular eye exam and the contact lens "fitting." Frankly, I feel that if an optometrist is charging me extra to "fit" my contact lenses, he or she should put the lenses in my eyes for me. Granted, that'd be about as easy (and hazardous) as trying to put gloves on a cat, but that's a mini-rant for another post.

Seriously, though, I think that for $100 worth of eye exam(s), I should have gotten the puff of air, the dilation drops, and a photo of my retina. Possibly autographed for posterity, but certainly dated.


What I got instead was some kind of yellow eye drops to test for glaucoma (sure...), and a few seconds staring into a contraption in which I pressed a button whenever I saw a fuzzy dot. The machine was vaguely high-tech, I suppose, in the manner of one delivering a vision test at the DMV. (Again with the DMV! It haunts my dreams, people.)

With yellow tears streaming down my cheeks, I attempted to shop for frames (this is before I got the bill for the exam(s), mind you). It's really hard to shop for frames when your eyes are yellow. Nothing looks quite right. And I was "helped" by an optician who thought every frame I tried looked "wonderful" on me, which was simply not true. When I say, "Please stop handing me glasses that Michael Douglas might have worn in Falling Down," I mean it!

I finally found some frames that were moderately appropriate for a woman of my impeccable style and taste, but when we sat down to write up the order, I was appalled to learn that the lenses would cost $99 per eye (I have two -- you do the math), and the anti-glare coating would cost an additional $59 per lens. Holy criminey! What made it even worse was when my terrible (and now yellow-tear-stained) poker face revealed my skepticism at the cost of the glare coating, the optician said, "Well, they won't even make lenses anymore without the coating," which I'm sure had some kind logic embedded in it in HER mind... but of COURSE led me to ask, "If they won't make them without it, why do you charge extra for it?" To which she blinked at me a few times.

I did some blinking of my own when she showed me the final bill. Maybe "blink" is an understatement.

I went home and did a little comparison shopping and found that I could get the same frames and lenses for about 40% less online. I called Wisconsin Vision back but they said they aren't able to compete. I'll say.

The only thing I hate more than being ripped off is being ripped off by people who don't even try to meet you halfway. I'll take my FSA dollars elsewhere, thank you!

What are your most memorable and rage-inducing ripoff moments? Add a comment to share your story.

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