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America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses / Insurance Scam?

1 Reading, PA, United States

I went to America's Best in Wyomissing, PA. I was there 90 mins. of which time only 10 mins was committed to the actual exam. I was able to select two frames that I had marginal interest in pursuing pricing, but after an hour of waiting I asked for my prescription. At this point the America's Best associate tried to convince me to wait, but I had lost interest having overheard other customers subjected to high-pressure, upgrade, bait and switch sales tactics.

In an effort to keep me engaged in the America's Best sales process the associate review with my my insurance allowances, informing me my insurance pays $50 towards frames, a number far below what I believed my insurance pays towards frames. I thanked the assistant and left.

I immediately drove to the place where I've purchased eyeglasses many times. I selected my frames, lenses, and lens options and completed the purchase only to learn my insurance pays $150 towards frames; a more familiar amount.

I went back to America's Best and asked for a clarification on what the America's Best associate told me earlier about frame allowance. It was a different employee who looked up my chart, still in the bin, and looking at the notes told me my insurance paid $70 towards frames. I asked that associate to explain why I just purchased glasses and received $150 dollar frame allowance. The answer, "well we're an out of network preferred provider." I asked what that meant and was again given the same answer with the added comment, "They (read: the other eye glasses store) probably chose to accept your full insurance allowance. I said, don't you think that's important information to give a customer who asks if America Best participates in specific insurance plans?

My parting comment: by the way, that associate right there (I pointed out the associate) told me my insurance only allows $50.00. How do you explain the difference between hers and your number?

Understand this. As I drove back to America's Best for the explanation I fully expected to be embarrassed when the associate tells me that my insurance allowed $150. Although it didn't seem likely in my mind, I was prepared to acknowledge that I simply misunderstood the original America's Best associate, hearing $50 when she actually said $150. In light of the explanation I was given the second time around it's obvious something is not right.

I will call my insurance company today with inquiries, and I will also call the America's Best store and ask the manager for an explanation.

What bugs me most about my experience is the woman with her son also in the store at the same time as me. They had a difficult time finding glasses that met the mother's price limitations and the boy's likes. Each time selecting frames they moved lower and lower in the price bracket. With selection made, this mom and son now begin the sales process and the first thing America's Best said to this mother was, "Your insurance has no allowance for frames." to which the mother objected saying, "Wait, I was told when I made this appointment that you participate in my insurance and that my insurance did have frame allowance coverage." America's Best did not back off their assertion regarding this woman's insurance.

If my suspicions are correct that America's Best deceives customers regarding insurance allowances and then charges insurance the full allowance amount, then this boy left without the glasses he needs.

One final thought. If America's Best plays games with frame allowances, what are they doing with all the other plan coverage allowances for lenses, coatings, bifocals, and more?

Feb 9, 2016

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