Costco eye services for non-members technicality?
June 17, 2019 4:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm a nonmember who tags along with parents to shop at Costco. There I was able to have a regular eye exam but was then immediately denied a contact lens fitting. The independent optometrists at my local Costco (Canada, B.C.) literally that I should be able to receive a cons fitting for an added $25, I just can't purchase any lens products, while the Costco/opticians side says I must present a membership card to do anything. Of course I could borrow a family member's card but that's beside the point. My question is, what is Costco's actual system here?

So is this corner case and gap even legal for consumers? I guess the issue might hinge on whether contact lens prescriptions and fittings fall under medical services or not, in that under some laws a business can't use membership to block access to certain medical services, or something? I am just really curious as to what is up with this surprise? Maybe I had assumed something that wasn't true? Or do I have a reasonable customer-based or patient-based issue here?

If anyone is knowledgable about Costco policies or eye medical rules for practioners that would be helpful. I don't feel asking the people involved at Costco would be super explanatory, they will play hot potato and deny any responsibility for this confusion.
posted by polymodus to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is fairly clear on Costco's website.

You need to be a member to purchase glasses and contacts. However, you can visit the optometrist without a membership.
posted by saeculorum at 5:07 PM on June 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

I have a membership. My partner does not. She was able to get contacts using my card (I had to be in attendance). Maybe you can get your parents to pay for them?

This was Ontario, if that matters.
posted by backwards guitar at 5:16 PM on June 17, 2019

There are state or federal regulations about not restricting professional services due to a subscription, the other details probably depend on the strictness of a particular store's management.
posted by sammyo at 5:40 PM on June 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

The problem probably is that contact lens fittings are done by Costco's opticians and use Costco Optical products (seeing as you get a couple week's worth of lenses when you're fitted), whereas a routine eye exam doesn't really involve Costco at all; see here.

Not Costco, but my independent optometrist somewhere in Alberta is attached to a Name Brand Eyewear Chain and its opticians. When I get a basic eye exam, it's billed through my optometrist, but when I add a contact lens fitting or get my PD measured, it goes through the opticians. Same sort of issue, without the membership restrictions.
posted by blerghamot at 5:53 PM on June 17, 2019

Not in Canada, don't use Costco for eye exams/glasses, but it seems pretty analogous to how glasses fitting measurements (like interpupillary distance) are done by the people selling the glasses, not by the optometrist. I'd imagine the optometrists, being independent of Costco, are operating on old or incorrect knowledge. Unless you're aware of some specific law being violated, it sounds like your run-of-the-mill mixup.
posted by Aleyn at 6:17 PM on June 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I am you. I got a glasses and contact prescription from the Doc next door, but could not purchase contacts or glasses from the store.

Did not need a card for either the glasses or contact prescription which was done at the same appointment. Bought contacts and glasses online. Did this twice. Now I go to a different doc outside a Sam's club, same deal.
posted by WinterSolstice at 9:11 AM on June 18, 2019

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