The short answer is no when it comes to most insurance covering refunds to dissatisfied patients. Many vision care insurance providers offer remakes for a specified period of time (often 30 days). But refunds are an entirely different story.
Here are nine points to consider.
1. Your Relationship
When it comes to money back, that responsibility almost always rests with you. Be sure to check with your insurance companies about their policies though. It’s not just about official policies, but also about your relationship with them.
2. Online Competition
Though requests for refunds (as opposed to redos) are few and far between, a new bar has been set by online sellers. Warby Parker, for example, posts a 30-day no-questions-asked return policy on its website. The same goes for glasses.com, which states, “If your glasses aren’t exactly what you want, return them within 30 days for a full refund.” That being said, this is one of the few places we saw the phrase “full refund” as opposed to “replacement.”
3. Big Boys
We also checked published policies of major chains. While we didn’t see anyone offering full refunds, a consistent form of messaging — and one that makes sense for you as well — is an FAQ section on their websites that includes redo policies. One example: “We offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. If you are unhappy for any reason, we will exchange them, including making new lenses for no extra charge up to the original purchase amount.”
4. Website Disclosure
The point? If you don’t have an FAQ section/link on your website, create one. Every policy should be spelled out there. Check out the chains in your area to see what’s included on their sites. They’ve spelled it out for a reason, and so should you.
5. Best Option
Most often, filling that rare refund request is a good investment. As many ECPs tell us (see our Sept. 22 post), they are likely to get repeat business, and some great word-of-mouth advertising, if, after all other options are exhausted, a refund is granted.
6. Common Complaints
What do patients most often complain about? The two biggest reasons for redo requests are problems with PALs and AR, according to The Vision Council.
7. Pinpoint Patterns
The important things to look at is why a refund is being requested and how often redos are required. One reason can be tracked to staff turnover. A typical product in optical has been on the market for three years. Given today’s high employee turnover rate, nearly half the staff in a typical dispensary were not there when the initial launch and any accompanying training took place.
8. Industry Norms
According to a survey by The Vision Council, practices reported they send back an average of 7.6% of jobs to their lab for redos every month. Look at your own numbers and compare them to industry norms. If they’re high, find out why.
9. The Reasons
While ECPs think many redo requests are unreasonable, according to The Vision Council, warranty remakes and Rx errors account for nearly seven out of ten redos. In a 2012 survey conducted by The Lab Division of the Council, member labs reported:
• 36% Of returns were for warranty remakes
• 30% Rx error
• 13% Measurement error
• 6% Finishing error
• 5% Surfacing error
• 3% Order error
• 1% Input error
• 6% “Other”
What are your numbers, and how do you handle them? Tell us about them below and join our conversation about what works and what doesn’t on our Facebook page here.