Don’t be blinded by bargain glasses online

by , Consumer Rights Producer Consumer Rights 30 August 2013
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There are plenty of websites and stores that sell prescription glasses and sunglasses out there, but are your slashed price specs really giving you a bargain – and how can you be sure you’re getting the real deal?

Colourful sunglasses on a washing line

I’ve recently found myself really coveting a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses. It is so rare to get the good weather that we have seen in London recently, and there’s something about those iconic frames. They are expensive though – and it’s tempting to pop online to see if I can pick up a pair for less.

This isn’t as simple as it sounds though. It can be difficult to know whether you’re getting a real pair, especially if you’re buying online. When I talked to a glasses supplier which counts Ray Ban in their portfolio he told me they have taken 45,000 counterfeit Ray Bans out of circulation in the UK – in the past year alone.

Inadequate UV protection on some fake glasses

And it’s not just money you could lose out on. Fake sunglasses could provide inadequate UV protection, leaving your eyes at risk of eye damage. Also, if you are buying prescription glasses online, no checks will have been made beforehand. But do not worry yet – a few key tips could help make sure you don’t fall foul of fakery, or poor prescriptions.

In our 2012 investigation we investigated 36 pairs of glasses from 13 online companies, and ten of those were given borderline passes by our experts – because the online companies did not have the measurements to ensure the correct distance from the pupils to the lens of the glasses – particularly important in higher prescription glasses. If you’re buying prescription glasses online, the company should ask for these measurements. This is particularly important with varifocals.

Spotting fake sunglasses

To check if the site you’re in is legitimate, put their details in brand-i.org . In partnership with Trading Standards, this website only shows websites that sell genuine products. And remember – if the price looks too good to be true on a website, it probably is!

And what about fake sunglasses? Cast your eyes over these tips and you could minimise the chance of coming across fake ones. Check the model number – it shouldn’t rub off or scratch off easily. And see if there’s a metal cord running through the arms of the glasses – cheaper plastic frames do not usually have these.

Do you buy your glasses online or have you ever had a problem with fake frames?

2 comments

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dieseltaylor

If you are wondering about sunglasses and why one might wear them this article is interesting:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/28/how-to-buy-sunglasses_n_3826859.html

The only query in my mind is whether anyone has qualified the amount of time and latitude where effects may be serious. Certainly we know for the UK that UVB is only sufficient for the central part of the day in summer. Perhaps that is true for protecting the eyes – anyone know of any research on this?

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nick davies

try

http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM198812013192201

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