I bought my eyeglasses at J.C. Penny last summer. And for the first time, I decided to go for a drill-mount frame–the kind of glasses that give no physical support to the lenses other than a think plastic wire the edge. Drill mounts–called rimless by some–are great because they don’t have the visual interference of a metal or plastic rim around the edge of your lenses. The down-side to this design is that it tends to be more susceptible to damage than a standard frame. So to protect myself from having to pay for a brand new set of glasses if these broke, I allowed the J.C. Penny optical manager to talk me into buying the extended warranty on the glasses.
The problem came when I had only a month left on the extended warranty. For no cause that I could identify, the lenses were cracking around both screws on both lenses. In addition, it turned out that the paint was chipping off the frames in a few different places.
I called my local J.C. Penny optical store and spoke with the manager–who turned out to be the same man I had purchased my glasses from–and the same who had sold me the warranty. I explained the problems with my glasses, and he looked up my frame model in his computer. Then came the bad news: my frames were no longer available, not anywhere in the area. My only option, I was told, was to pick out another frame from those the store had in-stock. And if the frame was more expensive than the one I was replacing, the manager said he’d work with me on the price.
It turned out that there would be no working with me on the price, after all–regardless of what I had been told. When I came into the store, I discovered that J.C. Penny optical only had three or four frames that were drill-mounted–and NONE was less than $200 bucks. (My old frames had only been $99.) So in selecting any of the drill-mount frames that were available, I’d be responsible for paying the entire additional price of my frame–over $100 bucks–AND my 10 percent co-pay of the initial $99 frame.
So despite purchasing the eyeglasses replacement warranty, I was stuck with over $100 in ADDITIONAL CHARGES–simply because J.C. Penny optical had decided to no longer carry drill-mount frames in the same price range as my original pair. Nor were they willing to write-off the additional cost so that I could get a replacement frame with equivalent features as my original pair.
For anyone who’s grown accustomed to wearing eyeglasses with drill-mount frames, it’s pretty common to have a serious aversion to wearing the full-frame eyeglasses–because we’re simply used to not having distraction in our line of site. And it’s extremely discouraging that the policy of J.C. Penny Optical is not more flexible for warranty customers in situations such as the one I found myself: where J.C. Penny had decided to stop carrying glasses with the same features as my old pair and in the same price range.
Avoiding the Rip-Off at JC Penny Optical
Most people who buy a warranty expect it to protect their pocketbook–even if the store stops carrying their exact model–and customers expect to be able go get a replacement with equivalent features. But in my experience, I ended up paying more for my replacement glasses, even with the warranty discount, than if I had bought a new set under a BOGO sale.
With this kind of warranty policy, I can’t see my self returning to J.C. Penny Optical or recommending them to anyone I know. Nor would I recommend buying their eyeglasses warranty–you’d be better off just waiting for a sale. (And buying from a store that really wants your business, and won’t rip you off.)