Article Date: 9/1/2012

Patient's Perspective
Patient's Perspective

When the Warranty is Warranted

After racking up $800 in replacement fees in 1 month, a patient breaks his own rule and purchases a protection plan.

By Peter Kim, as told to
Erin Murphy, Contributing Editor

I NEVER BUY THE “CARE PLAN” or the “extended service agreement.” It never seems worth the money to get maintenance and replacement beyond an object's standard warranty. I don't want to bet $200 that within 1 year of purchase, my television will blow up in a freak power surge and require replacement. If I drop my iPad, that's on me. I don't want the package for my car, either — no long-term “roadside assistance” or additional maintenance for a car whose major selling point, after all, is its long-term reliability. I just want to go to the store, buy what I want — nothing else — and leave.

Except when it comes to glasses.

Travel Safety

I'm sure I was offered what my doctor calls a “protection plan” when I first received my glasses, and I'm equally sure that I turned it down without even listening to what was covered. It's painful to recall that now, after buying and destroying two $400 pairs of glasses in a month and then, of course, having to buy a third pair to replace them.

So, how do you lose $800 in a month? About 50% of my work is travel. On a flight to Seattle, I read a book for a while, then put my glasses down on my lap and took a nap. I woke up and, forgetting about the glasses, stood up and let them fall to the floor. One of my row-mates crunched them underfoot. I called my doctor's office and had them FedEx a new pair (another great service they offer). Two weeks later, headed to the airport in St. Louis, I left my glasses in the pocket of my sport jacket, then got in a cab and put my suitcase down on top of the jacket. Glasses crushed.

Brilliant Idea

When I stopped into the eye doctor to get yet another pair of glasses, the optician mentioned the protection plan again. I appreciated that my month-long spending spree still prompted that kind of offer — certainly, it would be more lucrative for the practice to keep collecting hundreds of dollars from me every time I destroyed more glasses! But instead she suggested I get a plan that covered one pair of glasses for $30 or two pairs for $50. I took the second option (my 14-year-old son hasn't broken a pair of glasses yet, but he always seems to be perilously close to doing so). The plan also covers smoothing out scratches. However, it only covers replacement of one pair of glasses per purchase, and it doesn't cover glasses that are lost, so I've still got to be careful about that. Even with these restrictions, the plan immediately had the potential to save me from shelling out for yet another pair of eyeglasses.

Live and Learn

My glasses protection plan isn't my thing. I just don't sign up for this stuff. But considering the cost of glasses for my son and I, as well as our high risk of destroying them, it really does make sense. In the 3 months since I bought the plan, both of us have been back to the office to get scratches buffed out. It also gave me more faith in the doctor's practice when they offered me the plan a second time. Giving up a clumsy, lucrative client like me showed that they weren't all about the money. I don't know if I'll make it to my next appointment without destroying another pair of glasses, but at least this time I know that if I do need new ones, I'm covered. nOD

Editor's note: Periodically, new OD will explore eye care from the patient's perspective. Whether you have a special interest in contact lenses, low vision or pediatric care, you'll find out from real patients what attracts them to a practice and keeps them coming back.

Optometric Management, Volume: , Issue: September 2012, page(s): 60