Money: Consumer Champions: Rebecca Smithers and Miles Brignall fight for your rights: And finally ... an eye to the future
(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Our item about the collapse into administration of eye laser surgery company Ultralase triggered numerous queries from readers about their rights.
DW of Newcastle upon Tyne was typical. He paid pounds 2,000, four years ago, for a supposed "lifetime guarantee" with Ultralase - if a customer's sight worsened they could get further treatment without having to pay. But Optimax - which acquired Ultralase in 2012 - is refusing to honour retreatments as Ultralase has gone into administration.
Many readers point out the reason they chose Ultralase (over high street rivals) was the lifetime guarantee.
This messy collapse, with Optimax taking over some aspects of the business but not all, shows to the fullest extent the negative impact for customers (or should that be "patients").
Optimax is still trading, so we would urge customers, unsure of their position, to write to the company or bang on its door. On the wider issue of lifetime guarantees, customers are generally in a poor position. Optimax tells us that "Ultralase eye clinics will be providing aftercare to patients, including retreatments" but that "a nominal fee is now requested, which will be a very small fraction of the original treatment cost, or the cost elsewhere."
The Competition Commission is expected to publish its final report next month on the purchase of Ultralase by Optimax. Rather late in the day for the thousands of customers left behind.
(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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