Friday, May 30, 2008

the great contact lens rebate saga

i last presented a simple recipe for getting a great deal on your contact lenses. what should have been a fairly straighforward plan took 5 weeks to complete. here's the full story:
  • 15/4: rang direct contact lenses, ordered 8 boxes of oasys (6 lenses/box, or 1 year's supply), getting them to match the best competitor's price (from now contacts) @$31/box + $8.25 shipping, total order $256.25
  • 16/4: invoice issued by direct contact lenses, listing 1 entry of item number 852 x quantity 8. this got me a bit confused when i actually received the invoice because item number 852 is used to denote a pair of disposable contact lenses. each box is for one eye - i ordered 8 boxes, or 4 pairs.
  • 28/4?: logged onto medibank's website and entered my online claim for optical benefit for "852 (contact lens pair 12 month supply)", seeing as this most accurately describes what i purchased. at the same time i updated my bank account details to have the benefit paid into my new account.
  • 30/4: got email notification that my claim status had changed, logged in and saw that i had received $50 payable benefit. based on previous claims, i was expecting to receive $200 benefit for one year's supply of contacts (@$50/3 month period).
  • rang medibank and was told that the payment was $50 because the benefit payable is $50 per 852 – to get $200 benefit the invoice would have needed to show 4 entries of 852. moreover this could not be changed as the claim had been processed. if the invoice is incorrect, i would need to get the provider to reissue correct details and fax to medibank's extras help desk. no notification will issue about the status of the claim, but i could call back in a few weeks as they’re about 2-3 weeks behind in processing manual claims. great.
  • rang direct contact lenses to request reissue of invoice, with 1 copy sent to me by post, and another copy to medibank by fax. the person who answered the phone (not the same girl who took my original order) seemed to know what i was talking about with the 4 entries business, which makes me wonder why the invoice wasn't written out that way in the first place...
  • sometime in early may: received mail from medibank dated 30/4 confirming update of EFT details, and a cheque payment of $50 issued in favour of the provider!
  • rang medibank to why money wasn't paid to me - apparently my online claim indicated the account had not been paid. i would need to show the paid invoice to get the claim changed (cancel provider cheque, reissue to me).
  • 9/5: visited my nearest medibank branch to show them my invoice and request reissue of cheque.
  • also queried the $50/line of item number 852 issue, and was told (with what i'm sure was a sigh and a roll of the eyes from the customer service representative) that the information i was previously given is incorrect. after waiting some 15 minutes while she double and triple checked with a colleague and manager (was my case so out of the ordinary?) she cancelled the $50 cheque to my provider, amended my claim to include additional benefits payable, told me that payment will issue for $200, and i walked away thinking this would be the end of the whole thing.
  • 12/5: letter was issued notifying that my revised claim has been processed for EFT payment. i waited a few days after getting the letter and wondered why it hadn't shown up in my bank account. then i rechecked the confirmation letter from 30/4 and found that the account number had an extra digit at the end!
  • 19/5?: rang to update EFT details, confirmed that a replacement cheque had already been issued because the previous EFT payment was rejected.
  • 21/5: received my replacement cheque for $200, banked it a few days later.

so, after all this, i'm out of pocket $56.25 for a year's worth of contact lenses and a pack of contact lens solution. not a bad deal, but rather more drawn out and troublesome than it should have been.

ps. have just noticed an ad by clearlycontacts which claims they will beat all competitors prices by 110%. might be worth checking out after you use up the free welcome pack deal from direct contact lenses...

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related posts: how to get a great deal on your contacts


  1. Hi,

    You could try as lenses are half the price of others and no fussing about with 'rebates' etc.

    You'll proabbly save far more than the rebate on your present lenses and get the benefits of daily disposable and no hassle with cleaning and storing.


  2. Personally i used to by mine from
    (,coz they have cheap ones:)

  3. hmm... would "malcolm" just happen to be malcolm louch, director of professional services at daysoftlenses?? :)

    thanks for the info, didn't know about daysoft until now. crunching some numbers however shows that the cost of the lenses itself would only be about $1-2 less per month (assuming daily wear), and that's before taking into account the rebates i can get by buying locally.

    as for, that site looks like it's been setup to attract web hits / search engines, and doesn't actually contain much in the way of useful information. besides which it's in america, and paying US$35 for the same lenses that i can get for about AUD$32 is a step backwards in my book...

  4. Just had the same thing happen with my Medibank claim, receiving only a 3 month rebate when I should treceive 12 months. Going through the rounds now of getting the original claim cancelled and having to claim again!!