Eyewear refund policies that employees enforce at their shops and offices can differ wildly. Your refund policy may not be mandatory, but it can be a strong selling point for hesitant customers. Handling refunds doesn't have to be a difficult task, especially if you're always optimizing your sales techniques to make sure all customers are satisfied.
If you don't know where to start, why not see what other professionals in the optical industry are offering? See how your existing refund policy compares. If you want to see how other optometry offices are implementing refunds, read on.
This has become a big topic of conversation. Here are a few interesting ways to handle refund requests that we found through online forums:
Read the Signs
"Monday morning two state representatives walked in, looked around a minute, and then pulled out some paperwork to issue me a fine for not having a refund policy conspicuously posted for customers to see! They wound up not giving me the fine, me being a gentleman, and stating that I was unaware of this new law. So anyone working in the state of New York, post a refund policy! They say that reps will be walking into retailers and issuing fines if a policy is not displayed. So now we have printed ours out and posted it along with our other dispensary policies about POFs, repair charges, etc."
"Canceled orders are our bigger problem. We have highly visible signs in the dispensary, “Eyeglass lens orders are highly customized and cannot be canceled once they have been placed. A restocking fee may be assessed on stopped orders.”
100% Money Back
"If they want a refund, we give it to them…cheerfully. No matter what."
"Our policy is not posted, but if a patient asks, I assure them that anyone who is not wholly satisfied with their experience and eyewear from us will indeed get a full 100% refund if one wishes. It’s very, very rare that we issue a refund."
"Whatever seems honorable under the circumstances."
"If you want a refund, you get one, but you are then barred from returning. After all, if we’ve already worked hard to resolve your problem and you won’t accept help, who needs you? We give them a refund, tell them since you won’t work with us you can’t come back, and we refer them to a local OD’s office who just might be the most expensive in the state."
"I am absolutely a proponent of the idea that we are selling for the future. Most of our refund patients also return. If you consistently sell for the future, keeping customer satisfaction in favor of a few more bucks and/or a hard sell approach, in several years you’ll find your patient base almost maintenance-free. The only repeat business we should lose is patients who pass away, patients who move away, and patients who are impossible to please and who are gladly allowed to take their complaining/insane/abusive business elsewhere."
"Thinking back…for the half-dozen or so refunds I’ve given out in 34 years of business, at least ¾ of those clients subsequently came back for more purchases, and have remained long term clients. Since I don’t perceive any real pattern here, therefore no fire that needs dousing, in our store we will continue to entertain and give out a refund to any client who desires one."
No Refunds Allowed
"Due to the time involved and custom nature of eyewear; all sales are final. This is posted on the signed receipt and the store receipt. If there is an optical problem we are better served to solve than anybody else, but we do not count buyer’s remorse as an optical issue."
"No refunds. We will restyle in a reasonable amount of time."
30-60 Day Trial
"On all RX eyewear: we will gladly give you a full refund, exchange, or an RX-change (at no charge), within 30 days from date of purchase. After those 30 days, exchanges and RX-changes will vary upon type of lenses used. There will be no refunds after the 30 day period."
"The official policy is 30 days no questions asked. My policy is if there’s a visible problem, I’ll refund cheerfully. Vision problem is defined as doctor change."
"We also gave full refunds until just recently. We seemed to have a rash of patients who were unwilling to work with us regarding script or style. The common thread was, “I just don’t have time for this, give me my money back.” Upon evaluation they were outside RX’s and most did not live in the area. We have never had difficulty with the patients we had worked with and will continue to give full refunds to those who make an honest attempt to clear up whatever the problem they may have. Even after multiple remakes for whatever reason. Our new policy states that prescription lenses are custom made and full refunds are not possible, we will gladly refund on frames returned in good condition within 60 days. We will still look at a case by case basis and do the best thing for our long term outlook. This is printed on the back of every receipt and we mention it to every patient."
Refit, not Refund
"Refunds we will generally give quite cheerfully once we have exhausted all refit and remake possibilities, or if the patient is just bound and determined to be unhappy."
"I have had people that I actually had to force a refund on them. They were wanting me to restyle them every month, and always complaining about everything (the frame I looked at didn’t have this clear spot, demi-amber, in the same place as the one I first looked at) even though it was the exact same sample they looked at. When they came back in again wanting it done for the fourth time, I quickly wrote out a check and gave it to them. I used the immortal line by one of our Optiboarders, “I’m declining the opportunity to disappoint you again.” Then I put the glasses into a zip lock frame bag and pounded them into rubble with a hammer in front of her. “Hey those are my glasses!” To which I replied, “No, I just gave you your money back – they’re my glasses.”
"If it is our fault we fix it, but how does a refund solve the issue? If we sell a product that we cannot deliver, it is the customer's choice and normally they just want glasses. So we restyle and life is good."
The best way to figure out what your patients need is through surveys. Here's a free kit of them.