The Retailer Graveyard
Over the last decade, a number of retailers have "closed up shop" so to speak. The reasons and manner in which each have gone down varies.
I've kept the pages and reviews about these retailers, and provided them all here instead of having them scattered across the site as they previously were. To be honest, they're probably not going to be terribly useful if you're currently shopping for glasses. But if you're curious as to what the landscape looked like years ago, have an interest in eyeglass retailer history, or are curious for other reasons, hopefully you'll find them of value.
So without further ado...
VALUEglasses - valueglasses.com
All information seems to indicate they kept taking orders through their website, but stopped sending out glasses, continuing to do this for quite some time – effectively defrauding their customer base by taking money with no intent to deliver a product in return. I issued a warning about them on the website upon receiving a massive influx of complaints, and contacted US agencies in an effort to initiate an investigation in hopes that VALUEglasses would be shut down if the allegations were true. At this point in time, the VALUEglasses website appears to no longer be existence and has been replaced by a parked domain serving ads. If you ordered from VALUEglasses and did not receive your order, you're encouraged to contact your credit card company and inquire about the possibility of a "chargeback". Informing the BBB and FTC may be beneficial in the event that an investigation is pursued.
"for the best value and quality eyewear"
Warning: There have been a considerable number of reports where
individuals have ordered glasses from VALUEglasses, have not received them, and have been unable to contact the
company. I would not recommend purchasing from them at this point in time, as there seems to be a high risk
In the event that you have ordered from VALUEglasses, I recommend that you document all means of trying to contact them, and file a dispute with your credit card company if you do not receive your glasses. In most cases, the credit card company will reverse the charge. Also be sure to contact me at email@example.com and let me know.
VALUEglasses is located in California (USA). Pricing in USD. They display a phone number, address, and email address on their information page. They accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Paypal as methods of payment.
VALUEglasses isn't one of the most popular online retailers, but they do have a decent web site, albeit a little plain. Their pricing seems to be quite good, starting at $24.98 for a basic pair of single-vision frames/lenses. Basic bi-focals start at $49.98. Shipping is an additional $6-8. Frame selection is quite high, lens selection slightly above average.
A BBB search from search.bbb.org shows VALUEglasses as having a rating of "F" with 3 unanswered complaints.
Pricingdue to the pricing scheme (separate prices rather than "+" pricing for different lens materials), this price chart is for the cheapest frame/lens combo in each category.
Single Vision Bi-focals Progressive Plastic 1.56 High Index $24.98 Flat Top $49.98 Basic $89.98 Polycarbonate 1.59 High Index $34.98 Rounded $49.98 Transition Lenses $109.98 Plastic 1.61 Extra High Index $39.98 Blended $79.96 Plastic 1.67 Ultra High Index $59.98 Executive $89.96 Plastic Transition Lenses $74.98
AR Coating +$6.98 Premium AR Coating +$19.98 Solid Tint (gray green brown blue yellow orange purple pink) (20% 50% 90%) +$6.98 Gradient Tint (gray green brown blue yellow orange purple pink) (20% 50% 90%) +$8.98 Shipping (US) +$5.95 Shipping (International) +$7.95
Single Vision frames/lenses come to $30.93 to the US, $32.93 Internationally. Bi-focals are $55.93/$57.93, and Progressives $95.93/$97.93 after shipping.
|Website||Acceptable||The website is very plain, but useable. Categories are set up nicely, but browsing through the frames requires a lot of scrolling. On the plus side, the pictures are quite clear, and after selecting a frame, a close up picture becomes available. There is a lot of general information on the frames and lenses but it must be accessed through the information section of the website. It would be nice if the information could be easily accessed via a popup box or similar from the actual order page.|
|Selection||Good||Metal, Plastic, Titanium, Bifocal, and Progressive are the categories, with subcategories such as Rimless, Semi-Rimless, Bendable, and Fullrim.|
|Frame Info||Good||Prominently displayed frame dimensions are given. Pictures are clear. Color can be selected.|
|Lens Options||Good||Anti-scratch, UV protection, and polished edges are all included for free. AR and Tint are given as options which are less than $10 each. More options are offered with Single Vision lenses, which can be bought in Polycarbonate, or various high index materials. Transitions are offered for both single vision and progressive lenses.|
|Value||Good||Basic frames and lenses with anti-scratch are offered for slightly over $30 shipped. Going with Polycarbonate lenses only adds $10 to the price. AR isn't included, but only adds $7 which is a reasonable price (although it would be nice if it was included, since it brings the basic pair close to $40 after shipping). All in all, pricing seems very reasonable.|
Topics from the VALUEglasses section of the old forums...
EyeGlassesWorld - eyeglassesworld.com
Reports that customers had been unable to contact EyeGlassesWorld despite the website continuing to run were made public on the EyeglassRetailerReviews.com website. Since that time, the EyeGlassesWorld website has gone down and appears to have been replaced by a parked domain serving ads. If you ordered from EyeGlassesWorld and did not receive your order, you're encouraged to contact your credit card company and inquire about the possibility of a "chargeback". You may want to inform the BBB and FTC if the situation warrants it.
"the source for high quality eyewear at discount prices"
Warning: There have been reports of individuals unable to contact EyeGlassesWorld. While their website appears to be up and running, attempts to contact them have been met with no response. I have also tried contacting them, so far, without success. Therefore, at this time, and until more information becomes available, or until I have had a chance to try ordering from them, I DO NOT RECOMMEND EyeGlassesWorld for your online eyeglass purchases. If you have recently ordered glasses from or been able to contact EyeGlassesWorld, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eye Glasses World is located in California (USA). Pricing in USD. Single-vision and bi-focal (regular and progressives) are both offered. They display email addresses and a physical address on their Contact page. They accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Paypal.
I wasn't able to find a whole lot of information on Eye Glasses World. The website is very basic, and seems incomplete. For example, certain frame categories are displayed but cannot be chosen. However, pricing is generally good. Their frames with lenses start at just $20, with the majority being around the $29 mark.
As far as pricing goes, Eye Glasses World seems to be pretty competative. The major downside is really the website, which does not feel complete at all, but rather seems like a work in progress. A little tweaking, testing, and updating would really go a long way. A BBB search from search.bbb.org reveals that Eye Glasses World has an "unsatisfactory" rating with 4 resolved complaints, 3 'no response' complaints, and 1 'unpursuable' complaint.
due to inconsistencies on the website, there is a good chance these prices may not be accurate pricing shown is for the $20 frame/lens combo Lenses 1.56 High Index Lens included 1.50 Medium High Index (Japan) +$9.95 1.59 Polycarbonate Lens (price only shown at checkout) +$9.95 1.61 Extra High Index +$15.95 1.61 Extra High Index (Japan?) +$29.95 1.61 Extra High Index (France) +$39.95 1.67 Super High Index +$39.95 1.67 Super High Index (Japan?) +$49.95 1.67 Super High Index (France) +$59.95 1.70 HOYA Ultra High Index (Japan) +$119.95 Bi-focals +$14.00 Progressives +$49.95 Lens Coatings Anti Reflective Coating +$9.95 Purple AR Coating with Japanese Lenses +$29.95 Blue AR Coating with Japanese Lenses (1.5 Index) +$19.95 PhotoChromic Coating (Grey or Brown) +$49.95 PhotoChromic Coating (Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, Yellow, or Purple) +$69.95 Tint (Solid or Gradient) (Grey or Brown) (30%, 60%, or 90%) +$5.95 USPS First Class / Priority Mail Shipping (US) +$5.00 Shipping (International) +$5.00?
A pair of single vision lenses without any add-ons is only $25.00 after shipping if you live in the US, bi-focals are $39.00 after shipping to the US. Shipping to international countries didn't affect the shipping price of $5 but somehow I got the feeling that international shipping may have been overlooked when setting the prices. I'd recommend contacting them first before placing an international order.
|Website||Poor||Website seems incomplete. When ordering, some lens options don't display the price, or have incomplete information. Basic frames with basic lenses would probably be a safe order. Personally, if I were upgrading any of the lens options, I would contact them beforehand to confirm what option I'm getting and the price.|
|Selection||Acceptable||A fair selection is offered, although I was unable to find Kid's Eyeglasses, despite the category being shown.|
|Frame Info||Good||Dimensions, color, and whether the frame is available for bifocals are shown.|
|Lens Options||Good||A few choices in lenses, including regular CR39, polycarbonate, and high index lenses. AR, Photochromic coatings, and tints are offered as add-ons.|
|Value||Great||$25 shipped for a set of lenses in the US. International shipping might be more. Upgrades such as AR, Polycarbonate lenses, or tints range from about $6-10 which is completely reasonable.|
Topics from the EyeGlassesWorld section of the old forums...
MyOptics – www.myoptics.co.uk
The MyOptics site has been closed. A message remains on their main page that states "It is with regret that the decision has been made to close down myoptics.co.uk and associated glasses sites. All current orders that have been placed will be fulfilled and we wish to thank our customers for their support." EyeglassRetailerReviews did not receive any complaints, and I therefore deem it likely that they have fulfilled their obligations/orders and left on good terms with their customers.
"great prices, great service, free delivery"
MyOptics is located in the UK. Pricing in GBP (£) . Only single-vision lenses (reading or distance) are available. They display a local phone and fax number at the bottom of their page. You can also find the mailing address on their site in the Payment Options section. They accept Visa, Delta, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Switch, Solo, Amex, Cheque, Postal Order, and Paypal. To pay by Cheque, Postal Order, or Paypal you will have to visit the Help/PaymentOptions section of their site for more information.
The site is nicely designed, seems professional, and is quite easy to navigate and order through. They have a "SmartFit" option with each frame which opens a .pdf of the frame which can be printed to get actual frame size. While lens options themselves are fairly limited, adding the available options such as Tint, Photochromic Lenses, or an AR Coating is as simple as checking a box.
Pricing starts at £15.00 for a frame & lenses (approx $27USD at the time of this writing). The included CR39 lens has free anti-scratch. There is free delivery in the UK, with shipping being £5.00 (approx $9USD) Internationally.
Note that the exchange rate in mid Jan, 2006 was approx 1.00GBP(£) = 1.77 USD Basic Frame and Lens £15.00 Light and Dark (photochromic lens) + £30.00 Tint + £7.00 AR Coating + £12.00 Thin & Lite + £30.00 Shipping (UK) FREE Shipping (International) + £5.00
A pair of single vision lenses without any add-ons is about $36.00 after shipping if you live in the US. If you live in the UK, they are £15.00 with free delivery.
|Website||Great||Website looks professional and is easy to navigate. When ordering, there is "learn more" text which gives detailed information on each option. The help system is well-designed and full of information. They also have an online forum.|
|Selection||Acceptable||There are only 7 frames in the £15.00 section, none of which are unisex. However, the other sections do have more, so if you are willing to spend a bit, you'll probably find a frame that you like.|
|Frame Info||Great||Dimensions, color, and frame material are given. You can view the glasses on a face, and through the "SmartFit" button, view a .pdf of the frame and print it to size.|
|Lens Options||Acceptable||CR39 is the only choice of lens material. Additional options are either a Photochromic lens, Tint, AR Coating, or Thin & Light. None of the options appear to be combinable with the others.|
|Value||Good||A basic frame/lens is of pretty fair value. It would have been nice to see the AR Coating as either being included, or at a lower price.|
Update: SpecsOnTheNet appeared to go down at the end of 2013, and is no longer available.
- High end of discount price range – looking at $41 shipped for 1.5 index single vision glasses.
- Total of 17 frames offered – leads me to wonder if they're winding down their online business.
- Based in the UK.
- Every time I visit their site I either expect a massive revamp, or for them to be gone. Neither has happened yet.
SpecsOnTheNet is located in the UK (Cardiff). Pricing in Pounds, Euros, and USD. They sell single-vision, bi-focal, and vari-focal glasses. Methods of contact include email, phone, fax, and a mailing address. They accept Visa, MasterCard, and Delta.
SpecsOnTheNet is either preparing for a revamp, or is winding down their online business. At one time they had a large selection of frames and even ran a promotion where a number of frames/lenses were free if you paid the shipping. At this point they're down to 17 frames total with about half being discount brands ($36-40 range) and the remainder being designer brands ($100-150).
As mentioned above, there are 17 frames total – 6 metal and 11 plastic, divided between the discount and designer frames.
None of the frames currently listed show as being compatible with bi-focal or progressive lenses. Standard single-vision lenses come free with 1.6 index adding £24, 1.67 adding £49, and 1.74 adding £89. AR, tint, photochromic, and polarized lenses seem to be available as well.
Website and Ordering:
The SpecsOnTheNet website is very easy enough to navigate, although most categories show empty.
Ordering is simple enough. Find a frame, then choose the lens options.
Because they may be winding down, further detail probably isn't necessary any longer. If they increase the number of frames beyond 17, I'll take a look again at that time.
Pricing and Value:
Prices are reasonable for the high end of the spectrum with frames starting at $36 though the 1.5 index lenses included are a bit of a turnoff. While the AR coating starts adds about $16 USD, if you upgrade beyond the basic lens, it becomes free.
Pricing shown for single-vision lenses in USD (based on current exchange rate). Check the website for pricing in Pounds or Euros.
|FRAMES (includes free 1.49 index lens)||$36|
|ADDITIONAL LENS OPTIONS|
|Photochromic (grey or brown)||+76|
|Polarized (grey or brown)||+76|
|1.6 High-Index (free AR)||+37|
|1.67 High-Index (free AR)||+76|
|1.74 High-Index (free AR)||+139|
|Shipping (appears to be worldwide)||+5|
|VAT (added to all orders)||+ 15%|
The price charts are created by hand – if you notice any errors, please contact me.
While prices are somewhat reasonable for a retailer at the higher end of the spectrum (though 1.5 index lenses for the price isn't great), the lack of available frames would make me hesitant to recommend checking them out at this point.
SpecsOnTheNet Reader Review #1
Sent in by: Anonymous #01
February 4, 2006
I placed an order for free frames through the promotion that I found here on eyeglassretailerreviews.com. The total price including shipping and handling from the UK was a little over $7. This included the basic lenses (1.49 index plastic "Standard Single Vision"). In order to check the status of your order, they provide an option at checkout to register and log in.
February 6, 2006
I received an email stating that the eyeglasses were shipped. There was no tracking information provided, and when I logged onto my account on their website, the only thing that indicated any kind of status was that it was "dispatched."
February 9, 2006
My package arrived in the mail directly from the UK. Rather quick in their shipment. Included with the glasses were a free case, a micro fiber cloth with their logo, three coupons for a 10% discount for friends and family, and the invoice, which was a miniature printout of the checkout screen. Packing was well done. Even though at first I was a bit cautious because it came in a bubble-wrapped mailer, the hard case which protects the glasses were wrapped in even more bubble wrap before being inserted into the mailer itself. The clamshell case itself seems to be very durable, similar in quality to the kind of cases you would receive at a local high-priced retailer.
The glasses themselves were very well constructed. However, I noticed the hinge that connects the temple to the front of the frame had a tiny layer of glue around it, which looks as though someone had simply put superglue and attached the frame together. But the frame seemed solid, and aside from that very minor detail which was barely noticeable, it seemed perfect. The lenses were also clean and precise, and the prescription seemed very accurate.
Would I buy from SpecsOnTheNet again?
Yes. My main motivation for purchasing these was because I wanted a backup pair. Although the "free" frames are a little outdated, you can't beat the quality for the price. I noticed that if one were to order a higher-priced set of glasses as their main pair (with the AR coating, thin lenses, etc.) you will probably save about 30% (or perhaps more) on the glasses. The discount is not as substantial as compared to some of the other online retailers, but it may have something to do with the company being based in the UK.
Would I recommend SpecsOnTheNet to others?
Definitely. This was my first buying experience online for a pair of glasses, and I was amazed at the price and the quick shipping to my New York address. I ordered it on a Saturday morning, and think that had I ordered it Monday it wouldn't have made a difference in the delivery time.
Topics from the SpecsOnTheNet section of the old forums...
Below is the original write-up for SpecsOnTheNet (from 2006-2009). It's been kept around for posterity.
"Online Prescription Spectacles Warehouse"
Current Promo: FREE Frames/Lenses (6 styles to choose from). You pay only shipping (which was $7.00 to the US when I checked). http://www.specsonthenet.com/free.jsp is the link to follow. Only 1 per customer. The free frames aren't very attractive (in my opinion anyway), but it's tough to beat FREE.
SpecsOnTheNet is located in the UK. Pricing in GBP (£), Euros, or USD. They sell single-vision lenses only (no bifocals). They display email addresses, phone number, fax number, and postal address on their Contact Info page. They accept Visa, Mastercard, and Delta.
The two things that stand out most about SpecsOnTheNet are the ability to change currencies on their site, as well as the free frame/lens promo they currently have running. Regular pricing on frames/lenses with a free hard-coating starts at £9.99, or $18.00 USD. The pricing in this review will be done in USD.
The free promo they have running should at the very least bring people to their site. It's a good way to interest people who may be skeptical about plunking down a good chunk of money for glasses from a place they know nothing about. For the cost of shipping, if the glasses are good, a buyer might be more inclined to buy from them again. Other than the free pair, SpecsOnTheNet has a wide range of pricing. There aren't a heck of a lot of frames offered for £9.99 / $18.00USD, and I wouldn't be surprised if quite a few people have to step up to the $26.00 or $35.00 price point to find something they like.
Basic Frames & Lenses $18.00 Anti-Reflective Coating +$26.00 Polycarbonate +$35.00 Polycarbonate & Anti-Reflective Coating +$49.00 Thinner High Index (1.6) Lenses (free AR) +$51.00 Thinner High Index (1.67) Lenses (free AR) +$103.00 Thinner High Index (1.74) Lenses (free AR) +$222.00 Transitions (Grey/Brown) +$85.00 Photochromic (Grey/Green/Brown) +$68.00 Tint (Light/Medium/Sunglasses) (Blue Yellow Green Pink Brown Black) +$14.00 Shipping (UK) +$7.00 Shipping (US) +$7.00
A pair of single vision lenses without any add-ons is $25.00 after shipping, seemingly whether in the UK or in the US. A pretty good price if you can find a frame you like in that price category.
|Website||Great||It's very easy to browse through and order through the website. For the most part, it's pretty well laid out. A nice thing they did when you're inputting lens options was to give the option to select how you want to enter the prescription. It can be done online (the same as most sites), by fax (they show the fax number), or by email (they show the email address). Because of that, if I were a first time buyer and did not know how to read my prescription, this site would probably be one of the most accommodating. It even has a nice easy, simplistic feel to it that novices would enjoy.|
|Selection||Good||The website caters a little more to those who want to spend a little more. There's quite a bit of selection, but not much of it is below $30, and for the budget buyer, you may be hard pressed to find a frame that you like that fits your price point.|
|Frame Info||Good||Dimensions and color are given. Each frame has a clear picture from the front and from an angle.|
|Lens Options||Good||Although Bi-focal wearers are left out in the cold, Single Vision wearers can choose between basic, Tinted, Polycarbonate, High Index (3 types), Photochromic, and Transitions lenses. Definitely good selection offered there.|
|Value||Good||The cheap frames/lenses are competitively priced. It's just unfortunate that more selection isn't offered in that price range. Some of the options such as AR and Tint seem to be a little pricy, but all in all, this site appears to offer fair value for the money.|