Discount contact lenses - where to buy?

Getting the best value for your money when it comes to eyeglasses, sunglasses, eye exams, and contact lenses.

Postby contact-wearer » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:20 pm

You have great information about where to buy cheap glasses on this site, but I'm looking for information on where I can get name brand contact lenses at the best price. Do you have any suggestions?
contact-wearer
 

Postby george » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:16 pm

contact-wearer,

I'm going to need some time to work on this one. There is a ton of information out there and a lot of it seems to be loaded with bias. If other people have suggestions, feel free to make them here as it may help me focus where to start my analysis.
george
 
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Postby george » Sun May 22, 2011 12:07 am

I started researching this topic, and surprisingly, I couldn't find nearly as much discussion about contact lenses as I could find with eyeglasses. There are numerous different types and brands of contact lenses. Just to start the discussion, I'll begin with the most popular lenses and see what the prices look like from a few different popular online sellers. From there, I'll also try to collect some feedback on the different companies that sell contacts.

Based on my research, disposable contact lenses are the most popular. Of those, the brand and style that I see most people talking about is the Acuvue Oasys. I realize now I should probably also put together comments on the particular brands / styles of contact lenses. I have a feeling this may turn into a project for the rest of the summer.

Keeping things to the original question - where to buy contacts online. This question should be much easier than where to buy eyeglasses as at least the brand / style contacts should be the same no matter where you purchase them; whereas with glasses, each company has different quality lenses and coatings.

Doing a quick search for the Acuvue Oasys, there are many places to purchase these online. Using Google’s price comparison engine, they cheapest site - webeyecare.com - has the price listed, including shipping, as $20.45 / box (before manufacturer rebates compared to a regular price of $31.99 / box). It turns out they add a 10-20% “processing fee” which came to be around $3 / box on this particular product making the total price around $23.50 / box. Their processing fee is less per box as the order gets larger. For example, 8 boxes had a $19.95 processing fee, making the total price per box only $22.95. Interestingly, on Google’s shopping search engine, they say it is free shipping. Not the case. They charge another $12.95 for 5 day ground shipping. Now we are up to $24.56 / box. This is still a better price than most other places, but I am guessing they knowingly giving deceptive information to try to get more traffic from Google. This alone would make me cautious to do business with them.

Reviews of webeyecare.com are mixed. They do have a decent volume of reviews and some say things go smoothly and comment on the good price. Other people complain that it often takes a while for the products to get shipped and that they have poor customer service if you have problems with your order.

Looking at the next cheapest place listed - buymorecontacts.com - only has 4 reviews. Maybe they will turn out to be an okay company, but I would wait until there is more information available before trusting them.

Next, is a company named replacemycontacts.com - and they list the price at $22 / box including shipping (free shipping on orders over $75). While the name made me think they are some fly-by-night operation, they actually have very good reviews overall, and a decent number of people have reviewed them. The price is really good without any hidden charges.

I’ll post more thoughts when I have more time.
george
 
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Postby george » Tue May 24, 2011 10:59 pm

I figured I would make a separate review for Vision Direct while working on researching this thread.

I entered an order for 8 boxes of the Acuvue Oasys and the price came to $215.92 with a $31 discount automatically applied as a volume discount making the total $184.92, which would be $23.12 per box which is a pretty good price. BUT - without searching too hard I was able to find coupon code for Vision Direct. Using the coupon code “shopper20” (good only for first time orders) it took an additional 20% off! This brought the total to $147.94 or a mere $18.49 / box. They also say they have free shipping on orders over $99. Even if this were not your first order with Vision Direct, there are 10% off coupons which would bring the price to $166.43 or $20.80 / box.

That’s the good news on Visiondirect.com The concerns I would have are with the customer service. I’ve seen mixed reviews online. Some people report slow delivery times, such as 3 weeks to get contacts. Vision Direct does have a Better Business Bureau rating of A+, but it does look like there were multiple complaints. They did address all of the complaints, but for several, the consumer did not accept the result.

It seems like if you are not in a hurry, you will probably be happy with the great price.

Feel free to share your experiences with Vision Direct in this thread. If there is enough chatter, I'll split off specific companies into new threads.
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Postby george » Tue May 24, 2011 11:03 pm

I realized I need to make a quick comment that you can’t necessarily compare prices you see people advertising to what I’ve posted above, as many of the advertised prices (at least right now) include rebates that are available. I did not include the manufacturer rebates in my price comparisons. There are some good rebates, but I did see some people comment that certain rebates require you had an eye exam within 90 days of the purchase.

Looking at the Acuvue website, the current rebate offer fo Acuvue Oasys is $60 for new users and $25 for existing wearers. Some ads seem to include these rebates when calculating prices.

When I do a Google search for “Acuvue Oasys” I see plenty of paid ads for different companies advertising low prices. Many of those prices include the rebates. However, the prices are still good at some of those online retailers. I’ll look through a few of those here as well.

I started with Vision Direct as mentioned above.

I'll look at more companies as I have time.
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Postby george » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:12 pm

I kept seeing the ads on the website popping up for Lens.com so I figured I'd do a review. You can find my review of Lens.com here with a comparison of the prices for the Acuvue Oasys. Bottom line is that the price came to $22.28 per box on an order of 8 boxes. The comments I found online about customer service were concerning. Some people did get refunds when there were problems (which means at least they have people answering the phones) but there were plenty of complaints of long delivery times and still having to pay shipping charges when an order was messed up and had to be returned.
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Postby george » Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:39 pm

Continuing with my search for where the best place is to buy contact lenses, I've finally gotten around to looking over 1-800 Contacts. I’m not sure why I didn't write a review about them sooner. This company appears to be the king of contacts. It is difficult to find a bad word about them anywhere. As far as cost goes, they have a great price matching guarantee. For contact lenses, they say they will beat any competitors price by 2%. The only downside of doing a price-match is that you have to do some work, and you probably want to make sure they will accept the competitor’s price for their guarantee. The upside is that, in general, people have been very happy with the customer service of 1-800 Contacts compared to most of the other online discount retailers.

1-800 Contacts is listed with the Better Business Bureau. They have an A+ rating. The website does show there are 23 complaints over the past 3 years, which does not seem like a lot given the high volume they do. All 23 complaints were resolved with the assistance of the BBB, which is also a positive sign. For the most part, people found the website easy to navigate, delivery to be prompt, and orders to be accurate. There are a few complaints out there though, but they seem relatively rare. Also, based on what I've read, I’d expect their customer service will be better than almost all online contact retailers.

Assuming you don’t want to do a price match with another one of the sites, their prices aren't anything special. For the Acuvue Oasys, which is the brand/style I've been comparing between companies, their basic price is $34 per box, but if you order 8 boxes (one year supply), the price becomes $30 per box. I would definitely want to do a price match with a site like Visiondirect.com where the price would be between $18.50 and $23 depending on what kind of coupon codes you find and whether 1800 Contacts will price match the coupon code discounts.

I would love to hear more feedback here from people's experiences ordering from 1800Contacts, especially if you do a price match and how easy it was to get it done.
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Postby Michele » Sat May 09, 2015 9:06 pm

I have been ordering from 1-800-contacts for years. Their customer service is amazing!!!! They will price match the lowest priced contacts you can find. I would never buy from any other company. I tell all my friends that they have the best customer service reps. that I have every dealt with.
Michele
 

Postby babaplan » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:47 pm

george wrote:I started researching this topic, and surprisingly, I couldn't find nearly as much discussion about contact lenses as I could find with eyeglasses. There are numerous different types and brands of contact lenses.


I think there is no so much discussion cos people have no choice - they just buy what is prescribed. But indeed prices on contacts (not UPP brands!) can vary al lot. Even difference in online prices can be as large as twice!

Michele wrote:I have been ordering from 1-800-contacts for years. Their customer service is amazing!!!! They will price match the lowest priced contacts you can find. I would never buy from any other company. I tell all my friends that they have the best customer service reps. that I have every dealt with.


They really have a great customer service and this is a great company but as usual they prices are high and they match a lower price with all fees included and excluding any discounts. For example if you find $25 price + $5 for shipping and - $5 coupon, they will match a price to 30$ only ($25+$5 shipping).

I use this website to find the best price on my contacts. As I see prices change all the time so it has no sense to rely on a single site anyways.


Last bumped by Anonymous on Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:47 pm.
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