27. September 2007 13:27
Tips to save time, money and potentially your eyes
Each year, millions of American consumers fill their contact lens prescriptions through online retailers such as 1-800-Contacts and Lens.com. 1-800-Contacts alone fills an average of over 5,000 prescriptions a day. Consumers rightly believe that they are receiving the same product, for a lower price and with less effort. But how do you know which site to buy from when they all claim to have the lowest price and best service? Here are some tips to help you decide.
The difference in cost between sites can be enormous! Compare the prices in the table below (prices include shipping, handling and current coupons):
|Acuvue Advance for Astigmatism
|Focus Dailies (90 pack)
|Focus Night & Day
|Soflens 66 Toric
Table 1 Lowest and Highest price for a year supply of lenses for both eyes
Calculate your total cost, not just cost per box
The cost per box advertised by contact lens sites and the majority of shopping sites can be very misleading. It does not take into account four other factors which make a significant difference in the total amount you pay. These factors are:
- Shipping cost: the cost of shipping the product to you
- Handling cost: the cost of processing your order
- Volume discounts: the discount you receive for buying a larger quantity (only available on some sites)
- Coupons/promotional discounts: seasonal, shipping or product-specific discounts
To find the lowest total price, you must take all four of these factors into account.
For example, one store advertises Focus Monthly for $17.99 per box, however, if you order a year’s supply you will actually pay $21.15 per box.
Do not factor in manufacturer's rebates when comparing prices
Some sites advertise prices after manufacturer's rebates - this is misleading since rebates are available from the manufacturer (e.g., Johnson and Johnson) regardless of where you purchase the product. Conditions for rebates vary, check the manufacturer's website for details.
You don't need a name-brand site…but go with a reputable one
Some contact lens sites have spent millions in advertising, so that their name is branded in your mind when you buy contacts. These are often amongst the most expensive sites. There are plenty of other reputable sites for buying contacts online, often for a much better price and comparable levels of service. There are also plenty of shady sites out there - a good way to screen out these sites is to call their customer service hotline and ask about their return and privacy policies as well as their product guarantees.
Buy a year's supply or more
Most people are unlikely to visit their eye doctor more than once a year, so it makes sense to buy at least a year's supply. In most states, contact lens prescriptions are valid for two years, so if your eyesight is relatively stable, you may want to consider buying up to two years' supply. Buying more can save you on shipping and handling costs. Volume discounts and coupons can further lower your price per box.
Double check your prescription and expiration dates
It is extremely important to check your prescription and the expiration dates on your contact lens boxes as soon as they arrive. Make sure that the boxes match your prescription in terms of type, power and base, and that the expiration date is beyond when you would last expect to use the contact lenses. This is an important step that you should take with any healthcare product.
Tjoos.com was founded in 2007 with a single mission: to improve the online shopping experience for consumers. Currently, it is the only site that allows consumers to the find the lowest total price for contact lenses online through its "Store to Door Price" which takes into account currently available coupons, tax, shipping, handling and volume discounts. Tjoos firmly believes that it is a consumer right to understand both the full price that they are paying as well as the extent of store options that they have available to them.