I bought some Silhouette frames (with D&G lens shape) from Vision Express London Oxford St back in 2009. In short - I spent a lot of money (about £340).
Fast forward to 18 Dec 2012, one of the arms broke when I picked up the glasses off the table. I took it in for repair and Norbert on the desk couldn't have been more helpful, told me he had dealt with an identical case earlier that morning, he brought up my details on the system, phoned up the Silhouette supplier with my frame supplier, told me it would take 2-3 weeks for the new arm to come in from the supplier, and quoted an approximate price. So five stars to him.
In the New Year I phoned quite a few times because I hadn't heard anything. It always seems impossible to get through on their Oxford St phone number - often you dial them just as they seem to be picking up the phone to dial out, or it rings once and then cuts out. Eventually I spoke to someone, who put me through to the lab, who went off and checked, then came back and told me that the arm had arrived - but in blue instead of black and asked me what she should do?! I said reorder it and let me know when it arrives. I then had to chase up again a week later. So more like two stars there.
Eventually I had a phone call to say the arm had arrived, I took my frames in (as for some reason I wasn't allowed to leave the frame with them). They then asked me to pay for the repair in advance, but didn't seem to know what to charge me. I said I'd been quoted £69, and they said, "OK, we'll do it at that price" but I had no idea if it was the earlier figure (or whether it was cheap or expensive). And the manager was really helpful when I realised I'd forgotten to claim my nectar points, she applied them retrospectively which was brilliant.
The next day I went in, this time I was served by a guy who didn't know what he was doing as he couldn't even write my name down correctly when I was spelling it - and then thought I had got to the end and was about to wander off when I said "you asked me to spell my name and I haven't finished yet - I've still got three letters left to go!". Anyhow, after about 20 minutes he found the frames, they're OK, but feel different to before. Slightly worryingly, they were all smudged - you would have thought the technicians would have cleaned them - but that was easily dealt with. Of more concern is a small scratch at the top of one lens, there's also a mark around where they removed the screws of the old arm and fitted the new one.
All in all, replacing an arm on my glasses has taken over five weeks. What's the point of having a 1 hour turn-around time in your labs, when all the other steps are so slow? So I think I'm going to go to a different company in future - I don't think I could buy my next pair of Silhouettes online yet, as I have to be 100% happy with the fit and try out the frame, but I'm sure an independent would give me a better service at all stages of the process and try harder to keep me as a customer.
I purchased a pair of Kangol glasses - identical to a pair I'd bought three years ago through Glasses Direct, but had become badly scratched over time. Unfortunately Glasses Direct no longer stocks this particular frame.
Googling the frame number brought up the eye-sale website, and what's more I was very lucky to benefit from the 70% off sale and buy my frames and lenses for just £42.00. A fantastic deal. They arrived in a branded Kangol case too - some customers here have mentioned bad packaging - mine were absolutely fine.
However I did have to wait around 10 days for them to arrive, and there was very little communication from Eye-Sale during that time. The arm length also appears a couple of millimetres longer than my old pair. I'd not feel so certain if I was taking a punt on a different frame - as there appears to be no trial facility or unconditional money back guarantee.
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