Online optical stores

Online optical stores are undercutting bricks-and-mortar retailers by a wide margin, but they can make critical mistakes.
 
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03.Store profiles

The four online stores:

  • California based online store Zenni Optical has its factory outside Shanghai.
  • US-owned Vision Direct’s global warehouse is located in Hong Kong and has a distribution centre in Australia.
  • Clearly Contacts is based in Canada and has a distribution centre in Australia. Frames are made in China and eyeglass lenses in Taiwan and South Korea. 
  • GlassesOnline is an Australian company based in NSW.

After sales service

When we contacted the online stores to let them know the glasses weren’t fit for purpose under the Australian Consumer Law, Clearly Contacts and Vision Direct offered a refund but also suggested we take the glasses to an optical store to get them corrected there.

But Finola Carey, CEO of the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association (ODMA), told us this extra step might not always pay off. “You can get ill-fitting frames adjusted provided the frames are suitable, and most optometrists and dispensers will use that as an opportunity to show their professionalism. But the frame may be unsuitable for the prescription, in which case there‘d be nothing to do but get another frame and possibly new lenses as well.”

 

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