City Optical
1 Bloor St. East

This is the story:

City Optical - from across the street

On April 19th, 2006 I went into City Optical at 1 Bloor St. East to get a new pair of eyeglasses. They say ĎBUY ONE GET ONE FREEí. I went in and because Iím on disability I obviously needed to get reasonable frames. I looked around and so I didnít waste time on looking at frames that were beyond my reach I saw some I liked and I asked the woman how much they were. She said $99.00. I asked her if all those on that wall were $99.00 and she said yes. These were behind the counter near the back of the business, on the side wall. I pretty much knew that disability would cover this amount so I started to pick some out that I liked. I chose about 4 different frames and the woman picked them off the rack for me and I started trying them on. I finally chose the pair of frames I wanted and at that point, not prior to this, I gave her my form for O.D.S.P. (Disability) to pay for my new eyeglasses. What is it that you see from this far a distance?  Buy one get one free! - I don't see anything that says unless you're disabled   She took the form and my prescription and filled in the form and handed it back to me and told me to sign both lines. I looked at her and told her "no", "that Iím only suppose to sign the top line now and when I get the glasses and am satisfied with them am I to sign the bottom line." If I had signed the bottom line now, if the glasses werenít right or inferior I could do nothing about it. I didnít like the fact she was trying to get me to sign off on them. She pulled the papers back and sort of rolled her eyes. She didn't actually roll her eyes but she made a face like I was being a pain. If they work with Disability they know this is incorrect and that line should only be signed when the glasses are received and approved as fine by the person getting them. ODSP only gives you 30 days from the time they send you the form and I was running out of time. I had waited because my mother had been very ill and we were dealing with that.

Even getting closer to it you can see they advertise in huge neon letters 'buy one get one free'

So... she asks me for my Visa. Iím wondering why and I ask her why. She proceeds to tell me that the ODSP only pays for $80.00 for the frames and $20.00 for the lenses so that leaves me with an outstanding bill of $75.00 . I couldnít argue that because I didn't have the actual costs that ODSP covered (although that seemed low to me considering the price of reasonable eyeglasses these days) and when I questioned her more she told me the frames were $99.00 and the lenses were $75.00 so that totals $174.00. of that ODSP only covers $100.00 according to her. That was why I was billed the remaining $75.00 I had no idea this was a lie (no one knows what ODSP covers in funds unless you ask them and and you take the eyeglass places word for it.) I gave her my Visa and that very day they billed me $75.00 on it.

City Optical rips off the disabled

Next I asked about my free glasses that they advertise and she then informs me that I donít get the free glasses because Iím on disability. Surprised, I asked her why. She tells me that they give ODSP such a good deal (discount) on glasses so we donít get the free ones!

At that point Iím confused and annoyed and I leave the store since there isnít much I can do at this point because Iím stuck, Iím running out of time on my form and need my glasses and I go directly to O.D.S.P.ís offices. There I see a worker who informs me that City Optical does not give them a discount and that he doesnít know why I didnít get the free pair nor does he know why I was charged the $75.00 on my Visa.

He told me to get a full billing from them to see what I was charged for the total. I thought this was a good idea. In the meantime I called a few of their other stores and got written estimates and they ranged from $249.00 to $279.00 . (I sent my prescription by fax with knowledge that I wanted a $99.00 pair of frames so they could give me a legitimate estimate) I waited for them to call me about my glasses. And I waited, and I waited.

Even up close it still says buy one get one free

Finally fed up with waiting I called them on May 23rd only to be told she couldnít find my order! She asked for the number I was given and I gave her the number they wrote on the back of their card. The number was Y908. Off she goes again with me on hold. She comes back and tells me she still canít find them and puts me on hold again. Comes back and tells me I got them at the St. Clair store. I tell her I certainly did not, that I got them from that store at the corner of Bloor/Yonge. She proceeds to tell me that the Y means I got it at the St. Clair store. I go back and forth with her and finally for some reason I mention that they are glass lenses, not plastic. Well that was the magic word. All of a sudden a light bulb goes off with her and she tells me she didnít know that and to hold again. This time she comes back and announces "We only have one eye done - we donít have the second lense and we are looking to see if we can have it sent from Montreal (or Quebec, I canít remember which one now) and weíll put a rush on it for May 25th!" They have had this prescription since April 19th!! While on the phone I told them we wanted this full billing to see what the complete cost to ODSP is going to be so I can take it to my worker. Iím told o.k..

I called my worker again and since then he has been calling them and calling them and can never get anyone to call him back. Either the manager isnít in or they canít come to the phone or whatever the reason but no matter how many times he calls and leaves his name and number these people never call him back. He has encountered one rude person after another. The same thing Iíve encountered. I even called them back yet again and get this woman who literally laughs at me on the phone and rudely tells me that for the discount they give ODSP they could make 4 pairs of glasses! I guess she thought I was stupid enough to believe that. I told my worker what she said. He tried calling them again. Still no response. It seems every time he calls he gets someone on the line who doesn't have the knowledge or isn't able to speak about it and takes his name and number and tells him someone will call him back.

So now my glasses are finally ready (around the 5th of June) but I still have no answer about the $75.00 I was billed nor why Iím not getting the free glasses nor does my ODSP worker. Again my worker tells me he has called a few more times yet and has never been spoken to so rudely and no one has bothered to call him back yet. He continues to get the runaround from them. Itís been about 3 weeks now (today is June 28th) since they called to say my glasses were finally ready. Still we are waiting for a full billing to explain the $75.00 and why Iím not getting my free pair of glasses.

They rip off the disabled

I try again. Itís now Friday June 23rd, 2006. I call my worker this morning and he is more frustrated than ever and tells me still they have not called him back. So I try again. This time I get some woman named Mahtab who I tell the story of my glasses to and the request for the bill, etc... who puts me on hold for some time and comes back to and who tells me now she suddenly has an explanation about the bill. She informs me that the frames I wanted were over $150.00 !!! (I think she said $157.00) I told her no way. I asked how much the frames were on that wall before I bothered to go through them and was told they were $99.00 That all the frames on that wall behind the counter were $99.00. She then tries to tell me that the woman told me they were $99.00 AFTER what ODSP paid. This is an all out lie and I told her as much. I told her I asked how much they were BEFORE I started looking because it made no sense to be looking at and trying on frames that were expensive. It would be a waste of my time and theirs if Iím looking at frames that are over about $100.00. I figured ODSP would cover that much and if not I would have to pay only a small amount that I could have covered with cash. So she repeats this lie to me about the $75.00. I tell her the same thingÖ.. itís a lie. The saleswoman didnít even know ODSP was paying for my glasses until AFTER the frames where chosen. Back and forth I go with her. Finally she tells me sheís going to talk to the manager and sheíll call me back. Yeah, right. Weíve heard this before. I tell her that I will be home for only about an hour because some low life robbed me last week and I need to go to the bank and get things straightened out. She says again sheíll call me back.

I wait and wait. An hour and a half goes by and still no call so I decide to call her. I ask for Mahtab and get put on hold. About 5 minutes later some man comes on the phone and I tell him Iím waiting for Mahtab and he puts me on hold yet again. About 5 more minutes goes by and a woman picks up the phone and again I tell her Iím waiting for Mahtab, she then tells me Mahtab is busy with a customer and says "What do you want?". I tell her what Iím calling about and that she didnít call me back so I was calling her. At that point this woman starts yelling at me. She tells me itís none of my ODSP workers business what they are billing ODSP. She tells me the same lie that the other woman did by saying the frames were not $99.00 and were more expensive and thatís why I was billed. At this point it's painfully apparent that this was discussed between her and this Mahtab I called and probably even the man that picked up the phone too. I argued that thatís not true and she started yelling at me again. Then we got into the no free pair of glasses and she specifically told me "we donít have to give you free glassesí!

She says "I know who you are, and your worker doesnít know what heís talking about at all." At this point she has basically confirmed that this has been an ongoing topic in that store. She tells me that they donít have to give me or my ODSP worker any kind of explanation of the bill. For me to come there, get my glasses and sign the paper (this would mean everything is fine with the glasses), then theyíll bill ODSP for the glasses. She continued on yelling at me that this has been since April. I'm getting tired of being yelled at and at that point I told her yes it has been since April, because it took you a month and a half just to make them and you didnít have one lense and had to send away for it!! All I got at the other end of the phone was a very loud "tsk". Then she said "Are you coming to get your glasses?" but in a demanding and very rude tone. I told her I was going to the Ministry of Health (who is the one that is billed in the end) and she said "fine" and hung up on me!

I seriously need some help here with this place. They have billed me for something they shouldn't have. They are not giving me the free pair of glasses as advertised. They won't speak to my worker, they only yell at me. They have been deceitful from the beginning with the issue of signing off on the glasses before I even got them. They know this is wrong and I'm sure after this lengthy experience that they do that intentionally then tell people "well you signed". My eyeglasses are much needed. I'm diabetic and my vision has really changed. These glasses have photogray on them due to migranes so I had the lenses made in glass, not plastic, so they were less expensive and would be covered. ODSP covers the photo chromatic if it's done on glass lenses. No problem there, I'm used to glass lenses because of this. I want my $75.00 back that they overbilled me, and I want my free pair of glasses as they advertise. These people take advantage of the disabled. ODSP has told me that City Optical gives them NO discount. I'm sure this is why these people won't show a bill to anyone because it would prove ODSP right and that this company is simply using a ploy to rip off the disabled.

Since in the long run it's the Ministry of Health is who is paying for my eyeglasses I sent them a copy of all this. It's my last chance to get this straighted out because these rude people won't speak to ODSP no matter how many times my worker has called on my behalf. They say it's none of his business.

I am so tired of being robbed. Some low life literally robbed me on the 14th of this month. Then to make matters worse, Metro Police waited so long to contact the Community Centre where I was robbed to get the video tape of it that the tape flipped over and was taped over!! So all the evidence is gone and basically I was robbed twice. Once by a low life and then by Metro Police who really dropped the ball. Now I'm dealing with this situation with City Optical. It's no wonder disabled people get depressed.

I want and need my glasses but I refuse to be ripped off by these people. They shouldn't have the ability to fill prescriptions that are being billed to ODSP if this is how they work. My worker told me there are many complaints about this place and since I started using them I have heard from other people myself as well. It seems they do this a lot.

I have called my City Councillor and she gave me a number for a legal service and I've also emailed the Minister of Health (he's also my local politician) to see if he can get them off their ass and get my money back.

I'm still waiting.... I haven't heard anything from the Minister of Health yet....

Update on City Optical - the saga continues....


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