Sunday, September 30, 2007

Net Optical - for savings on contact lenses

i've actually been buying from net optical for over a year, and have been meaning to post about them for a while but never gotten around to it. given the sorry lack of new material on this blog, i can try for a quickie...

when i first started wearing contact lenses regularly some years back (thanks to silicone hydrogel technology), i got my supplies from my optometrist. i was paying about $140 / 3 months supply of purevison lenses. after a while i found out about online suppliers, offering the same products at significantly lower prices. when i asked my optometrist about getting contacts from such places, they indicated a reluctance to supply scripts for patients to get lenses elsewhere, citing lack of control/supervision etc. i guess there's some sense to that line of argument... but then again, there's loss of revenue/commission from product sales? anyway, being a family friend, i decided not to push the issue.

skip forward a few years and i'm itching to save some money, and after chatting with another optometrist friend, got eyes checked. then with an updated script available, went shopping. there are a number of sites offering online ordering of lenses, and i can't remember why i chose to go with net optical out of them all. possibly because it had quite low prices, didn't need you to fax them a script (most places require this extra step), and was run by a practicing optometrist with a real physical presence, which was somewhat close enough to home for me to consider making the drive to the actual premises in case i ever needed to.

things i like about net optical:
  1. cheap prices - among the lowest out of the various sites i've checked out. combined with the private health insurance benefits for optical gear, i'm laughing!
    • the same purevision lenses cost $96 (saving of $54 from what i was paying)
    • i switched to focus night and days when i changed optometrists and started using net optical - these cost $85 (compared to ~$120 from opsm direct)
    • i switched again with my latest order, now using fortnightly acuvue oasys which cost $32.50 for a 6 pack (compared to nearly $40 from opsm direct)
  2. fast and reasonable shipping
    • $6 will get you any number of lenses plus a pack of contact lens solution
    • i've usually received my lenses within about 2 business days
  3. top-notch customer service
    • i'm not sure if net optical is a bit of a one-man show, run by the optometrist himself, but whoever handles the enquiry emails replies very promptly and is very courteous.
    • you are kept well informed of the progress of your order - confirmation that it's been received, advice when the items are despatched etc
    • going above and beyond - my very first order contained a big error whereby i basically ordered the wrong lenses for what i actually needed. net optical picked up on this because it was an atypical request, and emailed me for confirmation before proceeding with the order. i thought this was great service as it prevented a situation where i would have gotten the "wrong" items, had to send it back, request a refund and reorder the correct items... plenty of time, money and frustration saved all round.
well so much for this being a quickie... hehe.

anyways, in conclusion: if you're looking to buy contact lenses online, i throughly recommend net optical. if you decide to use them and would like to give me the referral credit, my referral code is "quop" :) it would be a win-win situation for both of us!

ps. apparently opsm direct have a price matching policy which you may wish to test out if you'd prefer buying from a bigger/more well known supplier.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

i feel better now (somewhat)

given my misgivings about their level of customer service, i feel a bit better after extracting just about as much benefits as i can from my basic private health extras cover for this year. all without needing to deal with any "service" staff on their end.

premiums paid: 12 x $14.55 = $174.60

benefits claimed: $354.50, composing of
  • new pair of glasses $170 (no out of pocket expenses)
  • contact lenses $30
  • dental check up etc $112.50
  • wisdom tooth extraction $42
net gain = $179.90 (or an ROI of 203%!)

too bad this will probably be the last year i can approach this level of 合算-ness, as i contemplate hospital cover in avoidance of the stings of MLS and LHC. and i suppose in case/when my body eventually needs it... ah the joys (and costs) of aging!

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related posts: medibank's "impressive" customer service