Five Questions to Ask When Buying Contact Lenses Online
by Katie Grove
The contact lens industry is one of many to have experienced significant changes as a result of the increasing popularity of the internet. Millions of people around the world now buy their contact lenses online. This has opened up the opportunity to safely save money on contacts.
However, with so many choices available, there are inevitably some bad apples that don’t live up to expectations. For that reason, the following five questions will help you choose who to buy your contact lenses from, and minimise the risk of disappointment.
Question #1: Are Their Prices Reasonable?
While this isn’t the be all and end all, price is an important factor, and one of the main reasons so many people like to buy contact lenses online. By using a price comparison website to compare the prices of the retailers, you can see how they compare in terms of price. Also keep an eye out for shipping fees, as some companies may offer a lower price but charge more for shipping.
Remember that price is just one piece of the puzzle, as a company which offers the lowest price may not necessarily be the best in terms of service.
Question #2: How Quickly Can They Ship an Order?
Most people want to receive their lenses quickly, especially if they have run out. For this reason, it’s always worth looking into how quickly a supplier can ship your lenses. There are a few ways to check this.
One way is to call up some of the companies to find out how quickly they can ship your lenses. You’ll need your prescription details ready so that they can check if they have them in stock.
In some cases, stores will provide shipping information on the product page, based on what prescription you enter. This can save you a phone call, and also suggests that they think about the people using their site.
By checking this, you can reduce the likelihood of a long wait, which can be especially disappointing if you need the lenses for a special occasion or holiday.
Question #3: Can They Be Trusted with Personal Details?
If you’re going to order somewhere online, it’s important that you can trust them with your personal details. There are a few things which you can check to see if can trust them with your details.
Firstly, you can look into something called “trustmarks”, which are essentially stamps of approval which say that a website is safe to use. One of the most common trustmarks is the “verified by Visa” image, although there are others. These are usually displayed throughout the website, so checking these can provide you with reassurance.
Another indicator of the website’s security is to look into whether they are using a secure server which protects your information. While this isn’t as important when you’re just browsing a site, if you are inputting any personal details, check the URL of the page you are on to see if it begins with “https”, which says that it is a secure server. Every trustworthy website should display this and protect your information.
Questions #4: Are They Easy to Contact?
If a contact lens retailer doesn’t make it easy to contact them, why should you buy from them? Making it difficult to contact their customer service team may suggest that their customer services isn’t good. Unfortunately, emails can be easily ignored, so look for a telephone number which you can contact them on.
If there’s no telephone number, it suggests they don’t want customer to call them, which makes it more difficult for you if you have a question. You can also call them, to check whether they are easy to contact, or whether there is a long wait before you can speak to someone.
Question #5: What is the Return Policy?
On occasions, contact lens manufacturers do ship contact lenses which may be faulty. While this is not the fault of the person who sold the lenses, it’s important that they are willing to provide you with replacement lenses. All retailers should be able to supply you with replacements at no extra charge.
If you buy too many lenses and your prescription changes, you will want to return the lenses to avoid wasting money. When you look through their returns policy, they should be willing to accept returns of lenses which are still in unopened boxed. Many will specify a particular number of days during which you can return the lenses, but if it has been longer, you can call up the company to find out if they will accept your return.
Buying your contact lenses online can be a great way to save money on your lenses, but it’s important to always make sure the place you buy from is reliable. Additionally, even if you’re buying online, it’s imperative that you continue to follow the advice of your eye care practitioner.
(Katie Grove writes on behalf of Lenstore, an online retailer of contact lenses in the UK. She frequently writes about news related to contact lenses, and promoting good eye health amongst contact lens wearers. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling the world and experiencing new cultures.)