contact lenses at Boots Opticians
May 13, 2010 2:14 AM   Subscribe

The same 3 months' worth of supply of lenses at Boots costs twice as much as at Specsavers.

A few days ago I paid approx. 66 GBP for a three month's worth of supply (i.e. three pairs) of monthly contact lenses (Ciba Vision AirOptix Aqua) at Boots Opticians. Admittedly, only after leaving the counter did I realise the price.

After googling a little bit, it turned out that the same supply could be bought for half the price. Moreover, at Specsavers the same lenses (albeit rebranded) also cost around 30 GBP.

The receipt itself lists left and right eye packs at 33 GBP each, however, a few lines down, it also says:
* Product - 30.36 GBP
* Dispensing - 35.64 GBP

Am I being scammed here, or is this the way Boots deal with lenses and it is only my own fault I did not check their prices beforehand?
posted by noztran to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
In my experience there indeed is a wide price range of lenses with no downside to buying on the lower end. I also suppose that lenses are somewhat medical supplies they need to fulfill governmental standards, regardless of price.
posted by oxit at 2:27 AM on May 13, 2010

You can buy contact lenses online much cheaper as well, so long as you continue to get follow up optician checkups.
posted by pharm at 3:11 AM on May 13, 2010

(Boots is generally regarded as being v.expensive btw)
posted by pharm at 3:12 AM on May 13, 2010

Disclaimer: I work for Boots. I do not work in store nor do I work in Boots Opticians.

It's possible you've been incorrectly charged. It will be simple enough to call the store and check the prices and your transaction if you're concerned.

With regards to the pricing: you are not being 'scammed'. Boots charges one price for its contact lenses. Specsavers charges another. Online stores charge something else again. It's ok if you want to buy cheaper lenses; you just need to check the prices!

The rebranding at Specsavers is misleading; how do you mean 'rebranded'? The same company might make, say, three kinds of own-brand lenses and also the CibaVision product; by labelling them one thing rather than another they can command a higher price which leads to a different margin and retail mark-up. This is the case for hundreds of prop vs own-brand products and is not unique to Boots.

FWIW, I agree that Boots is expensive for eyecare. This is the joy of a free market. I personally use Specsavers.
posted by citands at 4:08 AM on May 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you for your comments.

Apparently, it is a real deal, however, nobody at the store was able to explain what exactly constitutes 'dispensing'.

Let me then ask another question---what online shop do you use for your contact lenses?
posted by noztran at 5:46 AM on May 13, 2010

You aren't getting scammed any more than anyone else buying contacts in the UK. Which is to say you're getting massively scammed.
One of the guys I work with recommended AC Lens to me when I started wearing lenses a couple of years ago, and they've been excellent. They'll ship over here and charge UK cards without any hassle. I usually order about a year's worth at a time.
posted by Kreiger at 7:51 AM on May 13, 2010

moneysavingexpert used to recommend getlenses, but their article is years old, so the field may have changed since then.
posted by pharm at 7:53 AM on May 13, 2010

I've ordered from 1800contacts a few times - the prices are very good. They're based in the US, but according to the FAQ they ship internationally, for $20. I've been happy with them.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:02 AM on May 14, 2010

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