1800 Contacts is the world’s largest seller of contacts, and it’s honed the process to a fine art. You’ve got access to customer service as a human voice at the end of a phone, or live web chat if you’d prefer. Its customer service is quick, attentive and sometimes really funny. There is always free shipping, free returns (even if your prescription changes) and they exchange torn or broken contacts no questions asked. The range is exhaustive and they price match. An online eye test app allows you to renew your prescription in tandem with your existing optician, saving you another job. 1800 Contacts is the Amazon of the contacts world, but with a surprising and welcome human face, and this is why it tops our list of the best online contact lenses sites.
When buying anything online, and especially medical products, you need to know that the company you’re dealing with is a large, well-run operation. 1800 Contacts is huge – the world’s largest contacts shop, it boasts. The problem with huge Internet giants is they can be a little faceless and personality free. 1800 Contacts has phone support backed by real humans who answer the phone in good time (or if you’ve just got the baby to sleep, a live web chat service).
All the customer service is personable, light hearted and funny. Just look at the FAQs page on its site; it’s the first one to make us laugh out loud so far. In order to buy contacts online you need a verified prescription and 1800 Contacts is happy to contact your optometrist and liaise on your behalf. Prices are matched, shipping is free and the subscription service means you’ll never run out when you least expect it.
1800 Contacts review: Prices and offers
The one big downside to 1800 Contacts’ way of doing business is the way it works out your final price. There’s a price for each box of contacts, which is fine. But then there’s a 5% discount for subscriptions, some orders are eligible for rebates, there are introductory offers that apply for how long? Do subscriptions count? Have you got a calculator? What’s that customer service number again? It’s not impossible, but it does feel more complicated than it needs to be and that’s a shame.
When compared to the big discounters like AC Lens and Coastal Contact Lens, 1800 Contacts looks a little expensive, but if the discounts and rebates fall your way, they could well be competitive. If the price, or the pricing policy, was clearer and more open then 1800 Contacts would be a cast-iron recommendation above all others.
1800 Contacts review: Features and website
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Like all stores on the Internet, you need to be sure that you’re going to get good, quick trustworthy service. 1800 Contacts, based in Utah and founded in 1995, has pedigree and credibility by the bucketload. A slew of customer friendly policies like free shipping, free returns and no questions asked exchanges for defective product are all welcome. The products are certified genuine, and 1800 shifts such huge numbers you’re always sure of both in-stock, and recent stock. As the name would suggest, telephone customer service is available, and they pick up quickly and cheerily. If you value more quiet time, or it’s just better for you, live chat is available too. It lacks a bricks-and-mortar presence, like Lenscrafters, but offers enough options to cover most of your enquiries.
Customer service can be a euphemism for unending torture and sky-high phone bills, but surprisingly for such a big firm, 1800 Contacts’ customer service reps are breezy, efficient, quick and funny. It puts a lot of stock in customer service (citing ‘customer retention’ as its aim, not a pretty term) and it does, on the whole, hit the mark. Some of the jokes and jokey tone on its website made us chuckle out loud. In a market dominated by anonymous box-shifters, it’s hugely welcome to be able to humanize the people behind such a large outfit.
The range of brands and types, including all the cosmetics and colors you’d look for, is about as complete as you could get, although the range at Discount Contact Lenses is hefty too. From monthlies to dailies, astigmatism to multifocals, they’re all there and usually in stock. There is a subscription service to make sure the forgetful among us (Just us? No, good.) don’t run out, or they’ll drop you a one-off order if you need it quick. They’ll even emergency overnight it to you for a small charge. The benefit of a high-stock, high-turnover business is that they’re exceptionally likely to have your exact order on a warehouse shelf and ready to ship to you at a moment’s notice. If you’re sold on 1800 Contacts’ service and need glasses, they’re now partnered (read: recently bought) with Liingo, a modern, low price eyewear seller. Of course, that doesn't beat GlassesUSA for eyeglass choice, but it's still plenty.
Getting your contacts online (even colors and cosmetics) requires a valid and up-to-date prescription, which can be time consuming and inconvenient. 1800 Contacts, once it’s established your existing optometrist’s credentials, will use an iPhone or Android app to check that your prescription’s still legit. In 15 minutes, you can update your RX without having to change out of your pyjamas. It’s all checked by a real doctor, and within 24 hours you’re up and running with the minimum of fuss. This is a real time-saver and goes along way to taking the only real sting out of shopping for contacts online.
Should I use 1800 Contacts?
1800 Contacts is reliable, quick, accountable and has an excellent customer service department. You can be confident that when ordering from them, you’ll get the right contacts quickly, and should anything go wrong, it’ll be quickly sorted. Regulations about prescriptions are neatly dealt with thanks to the excellent smartphone app which is accurate and checked by qualified doctors. The company ships for free, makes sure returns are free, even when your prescription changes and they take HAS and FSA cards.
The range is exhaustive and the low prices backed by a price-match promise. The only downside, unless you value shopping locally, is the slightly opaque pricing structure which relies on rebates, discounts and offers to settle on your final bill. A very minor negative for a large, efficient and surprisingly personable company.