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Optical lens ripoff

Hello, I wonder if anyone can help me with resolving the issue of my new bifocals lens appearing not to be of the thinnest grade I ordered and appear to have been charged $495 for lens for which the market rate (not the optical supermarkets), is half that. The fact that he did not provide a Proof of Purchase receipt did get me concerned as it is quite unusual and illegal maybe. I am still waiting for it, some 6 months later. I know I am a wimp but do not have the stamina to confront him.

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Welcome to the forum @chustepm,

It can be difficult to know what lens has been delivered unless you can read the markings on the lens identifying what is it. Any optician can check and report to you about the lens as well as the prescription it was ground to.

If you are in doubt and the original optician may not be trustworthy in your mind, most opticians would be happy to tell you what you have, adjust them gratis, and so on in the hopes you might come to them next time. Some might charge a nominal fee.

Do you mean an ordering invoice showing the prescription and lens you ordered or a tax invoice? If the latter and it was never provided the ATO might be interested as a tax invoice must be supplied. In each case my tax invoice showed exactly what I ordered so all the information was on the same bit of paper.

Were I you, I would first visit another optician to confirm whether or not the lenses you have were what you ordered. If they are not I expect you do have some evidence of what you ordered to avoid any ‘he said she said’? Regardless, read your rights under the Australian Consumer Law and write a formal letter of complaint to the optician. The ACCC provides a template. Be sure to include what you want and by when for a response.

By collecting evidence of what was delivered versus what was ordered, if it was different the letter avoids personal confrontation. If you are fobbed off or ignored you can then go to your state fair trading agency or small claims tribunal for satisfaction.

If you have evidence of or suspect an impropriety, you can also register a complaint with the Health Quality and Complaints Commission (Qld), assuming you are in Qld.

As for being charged what you claim is double the ‘market rate’, that could be the cost of education to ask questions and shop around. FWIW I wear progressives and the top end Varilux ones are about $750 a pair plus frames from any optician. I can also get quite good, serviceable Essilor lenses from Costco for $320 a pair, or a bit more from opticians who handle them, to make the point. Nikon and others also make lenses that are fine for most people, but are technically 2nd tier. They are at the lower price points and generally dispensed at Specsavers and similar.

The message is verify if your cost expectations are for the identical lens product, not just a ‘high index (thin) bifocal lens’.

Plz let us know what you discover and how you go.


Wow, what a great comprehensive response thank you very much BBG. I need to study this to decide my next move. He was highly recommended in all respects by neighbours here in my retirement village so did not ‘look around’ but maybe they were all paying by health funds etc.
He did not provide any quotation, ordering invoice or tax invoice. No documentary evidence at all. Yes I am accustomed to such comprehensive documents from all other retailers but stupidly proceeded under trust.
As a next steps, I have now arranged an appointment with QUT Optometry Clinic and will contact the ATO.
Very many thanks again for your great advices.


Hi @chustepm

Sorry to hear about your problems with your spectacles.

I would like to ask have you been back to the optometrist and asked for 1) a detailed receipt (with a breakdown of costs) & 2) a copy of your script? You are entitled to receive both. If you have not, that should be your first step. If they refuse, you have stronger grounds for complaint. If they provide both, you can have your lenses checked by another optician against the script as @TheBBG suggested.

I would also be interested at how you arrived at the ‘market rate’. My experience is that they costs for the same item can vary dramatically between the large optical chains. The smaller independent opticians always seem to charge more, possibly as they don’t have the economies of scale and associated buld purchasing power.

If after all, you are still unhappy and wish to make a complaint, you can use Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra)’s Complaints Management framework [< click on the light blue type to go to the linked page].

Let us know how you go.


Very Many Thanks meltam.
For the ‘market rate’, I asked some private optical firms. I will certainly bear your comments and suggestions in mind for my further research/investigation/actions.
I will however have the lens checked first
Much appreciation,

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