Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Health Canada warning about Renu Multiplus

Health Canada is warning people not to use certain recalled lots of Renu Multiplus.
Not sure if this is new news (it's dated March 12th, 2007), or a repeat of this recall from last year.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bausch & Lomb Image Bank

My friend Andrew just sent me this link to the Bausch & Lomb Image Bank (an apparent service of B&L). Nice! They give you all the images you need to start selling their lenses online.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

US Suppliers Revisited

One of the problems I heard about UK (and probably EU) customers is that of duty and insurance problems with goods coming from the US. I already reported on the duty problems you might run into - now I want to talk about possible insurance problems.

I sent this question (unanswered for the last 2 days) to LensCatalogue: "Do your prices include VAT at 17.5%? Does your invoice separate the 17.5% so customers can then reclaim from their insurance companies? Does your invoice also include the company name, company number, registered office, and VAT number?".

I sent the same question to CoastalContacts.co.uk. Coastal DOES ship from outside the EU, but from what they've explained to me about their operation, I am guessing that they do their invoices correctly. I greatly doubt that the other non-EU suppliers do this, but I wait for a reply from LensCatalogue to see what they have to say.

I am not a lawyer nor an expert in insurance claims - I'm only going on stories I heard where I did not investigate thoroughly. Right now, I just want to see what the companies have to say. However, before buying from the US, you should make sure that you are covered.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Costal

Just got an email from CoastalContacts.co.uk - not an offer per say, just an ad. In the ad, they have one day Acuvue listed as £15.95* (* = prices subject to change). OK, I thought, let's compare this to VisionDirect.co.uk's £17.50 (including shipping).

I found the Coastal interface a bit weird, but was finally able to add one box to my shopping cart. On the product page, they claim that one box is £14.50 and shipping is marked as "free priority" (even though, right beneath that, it says "£5.99 value, only valid for orders over £99", and right below that, "Did you know you will get free shipping if your order is above £69?" - Huh? Say that again?!?!).

In the end, the price is £21.61 (£14.50 plus £1.12 handling plus £5.99 shipping), which is neither the price in the mailing, nor the price on their web site. However, we can safely say that it's above VisionDirect.co.uk, Lensbase.com and the recently reviewed Lens Catalogue.

Work started today on the long overdue update of the full UK market pricing list. Maybe by this time next year, it will be running ;->

VisionDirect.com Offer

VisionDirect.com is offering a 15% discount code - SEE15 - with the offer ending March 18th. If you're buying from the UK, be sure to read this warning. Also, if you are in the UK and looking for an insurance refund, be sure to check with VisionDirect.com that your invoice includes 17.5% tax, along with the company name, VAT number, etc.
...or even more sensible - buy your contacts from a company which fulfills all legal requirements while still giving a great price, like VisionDirect.co.uk or Lensbase.com.

Friday, March 02, 2007

New Lens Site

I was just contacted by Bob from Lens Catalogue about their site. Here's my quick first impression of the site.

It's a very fast (hey guys, tell me what shopping cart software you're using - it's hot!), ASP based site with a wide selection of products (close to 200!), and a page rank of 1 (on a scale of 10).

It's a US based site, and it's not clear from their page where items are shipped from. When this happens, you have to be aware of potential problems. I'm about 95% sure that they are part of ACLens - the LensCatalogue domain is registered by Philip Dietrich (who appears all over the ACLens site), both sites are ASP sites (although the .co.uk site is faster), and a line in the code reads "All Source Code, Images, and other information Copyright 2000 Arlington Contact Lens Service, Inc.".

Prices are OK but not outstanding. E.g. a brand new customer buying one box of Acuvue 1 day would pay £19.45 at LensCatalogue, but only £17.50 at VisionDirect.co.uk (both prices include shipping - LensCatalogue free on orders greater than £60, VisionDirect.co.uk free for reorders when using their reorder reminder feature). Granted, VisionDirect.co.uk's prices are VERY low in the market - LensCatalogue does great against most of the competition, but you, dear reader, and interested in the best price / service, right?

They don't have a favicon - highly disappointing! (just kidding!) Their developers were too busy making the site blazing fast.

UPDATE: Bob replies: "Thanks for the review. The entire site is developed internally so there's no shopping cart to mention. We are the UK division of AC Lens. Depending on inventory, some of our items ship from the UK while others will ship from our US based operation. Let me know if you have questions."