I just got back from the opthamologist.
This place charges a "fitting" fee for contacts. $150 for the first visit and then you never pay again (except, as I found out today, when you owe $75 for daring to order contacts online and not through them).
I paid the fee the first time I went, which happens to be in 2000. Just so you know, in 2000, I lived in Boston. In April 2005, I return to this place to get a check-up. They agree to let me waive the fee since I had already paid it even though it had been so very long ago and what a big favor they were doing me and GAWD I wish I had gotten that in writing.
In April 2005, they get my trial pair, my mom picks them up for me, I like em fine and order 6 pair online. The order is approved by the doctors office and for the next 6 months, I wear my contacts.
Then I accidentally rip one right before leaving for Venezuela. I place a refill order online. The doctor's office rejects the online vendor's request, saying they don't have a record for me.
I get back from Venezuela and call the number. I'm like, six months, refill, so yes I am a patient, please approve.
Phone person: "But you owe $70 dollars."
Me: "For what?"
PP: "For the re-fitting."
Me: "But I never had a refitting, you just gave me the contacts and I ordered them online and you approved it and now its 6 months later and I need a refill."
PP, looking through papers or something: "Actually, you owe the $150 fee."
ME: " No no no, I paid the fee when I first went there a couple of years ago and then the doctor waived the fee at my last appointment, 6 months ago."
--This actually goes back and forth for some time, but I will spare you. Essentially, they made a mistake ever letting me have those contacts in the first place, so I agree to pay the $70 fee, let them order me a NEW trial pair of contacts, and I will go in for this re-fitting appointment today, at 11:15 AM.
I try on the trial pair and wait a few minutes for the doctor. I realize the trial pair aren't my prescription. I grab my chart and compare my script with the numbers on the trial pair. Not a match. I flag down some kind of nurse-helper person and say, this is not the right pair and show her the chart. She tell me that the chart is actually my glasses script and that's why its different. I say my glasses script shouldn't be a whole POINT off of my contacts script (and not to mention that the axis is way off too). I'm a 6.5 and these contacts were FIVE POINT FIVES.
At this point, I am ashamed to say, I start to cry. But only after the nurse-helper person leaves and I am by myself in the room, not in front of anyone.
So the nurse-person comes in and says how this is a baseline pair and they just want to check the fit and blah blah and I'm like I HAVE BEEN WEARING THESE CONTACTS FOR SIX MONTHS! Why didn't they order me the right trial pair? No, really, I'm still asking, why the hell didn't they order me the right trial pair if I called a week ago and set up an appointment and everything?
Back to the scene: She says, well you haven't been in since April and eyes can change and I'm like, in six months?!
(I was getting upset at this point)
She goes away and comes back and starts talking about the $150 fee (and, folks, I had just paid the $75--not $70-- fee at the front desk five minutes before getting the trial pair of contacts).
I can't remember WHAT I said at this point, but I had been crying while she was away and I think she realized that I am really and truly upset.
She goes away and, um, I tear up some more.
She has talked to her billing manager. Decisions have been made.
She's like: "Since you haven't been here since 2000--
Me: "I lived in BOSTON!"
Her: "--your records have been sent to storage, as the law says, after 3 years, so this means you are essentially a new patient and have to pay the $150 fee if you want to buy contacts from us."
Me: "I have to pay the $150 fee."
Her:"Blah blah yes and blah blah refitting and blah"
Me: "Do you even have a pair of contacts here that are my correct script?"
Her: "I can't tell you that unless you want to pay the fee."
Me: "Then I won't be ordering contacts from you today."
I grab my coat and open the door and STANDING THERE, listening in, is the eye doctor herself but at this point I'm so close to REALLY REALLY CRYING that I just keep walking out.
I would rather start all over again with a whole NEW doctor then give these people $75 + $150 + the eventual $60 my contacts cost online which = ALMOST THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A FUCKING PAIR OF CONTACTS THAT I HAVE BEEN WEARING FOR HALF A FUCKING YEAR!
Oh, and I only remembered the stunning point that if my records are in STORAGE that means they haven't been destroyed which means that YES I WAS A PATIENT AT THIS PLACE and YES I PAID THE FUCKING $150 FEE!