The Act gives consumers certain rights, including increasing their ability to choose where to shop and the right to have a copy of their own contact lens prescription. It also imposed certain responsibilities on lens prescribers and sellers, and required the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to develop and enforce implementing rules, which it did in July 2004. The Act extended to contact lens wearers rights similar to those enjoyed by eyeglass wearers for 25 years before the adoption of the Act, especially in relation to ensuing competition in the market. The Act reduced barriers to retail competition, driving down prices for consumers (and improving ocular health because consumers are more apt to replace lenses more frequently).
Under the Rule issued by the FTC, contact lens prescribers - defined as anyone permitted under state law to issue prescriptions for contact lenses, which include ophthalmologists, optometrists, and licensed opticians who are permitted under state law to fit contact lenses (sometimes called dispensing opticians) must give a copy of the contact lens prescription to the patient at the end of the contact lens fitting, even if the patient doesn't ask for it. Prescribers must also provide or verify the contact lens prescription to anyone who designated to act on behalf of the patient, including contact lens sellers. Prescribers are also barred from requiring patients to buy contact lenses, pay additional fees, sign waivers or releases in exchange for a copy of their prescription, or disclaim liability or responsibility for the accuracy of an eye examination.
The Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) became law on February 4, 2004. The Act mandates that eye care practitioners, including optometrists, release contact lens prescriptions to their patients. It also requires contact lens sellers to verify the validity of contact lens prescriptions before releasing contact lenses to consumers.
It is important to understand that under the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumer Law (FCLCA) EFFECTIVE February 4, 2004, much of www.Funkylenses.com communications to eye care providers regarding prescription verification are regulated in detail.
Funky Lenses is committed to providing extraordinary customer service. As such, we have contracted and worked with industry leaders and expended substantial resources in order to implement a verification system that is in compliance with the FCLCA and Rules. Funky Lesnes has used these leading technologies and resources to develop a system that is intelligible, easy to use, efficient, and timely for all parties involved in the verification process, from consumers, to sellers, and eye care providers (“ECP”).
Two key points within the verification process are 1) the outbound phone verification communication process that uses one of the latest text-to-speech technologies on the market today, developed by our inhouse developers. Funky Lenses has taken substantial effort to ensure that the phone verification system is doctor and doctor staff friendly as well as providing all of the required contact lens verification information to the ECP’s office, so that the doctor or office personnel can verify (at their convenience or within the federal 8 business hour verification period defined by the FCLCA) the contact lens prescription. Funky Lenses has also taken substantial effort to ensure that the fax verification system is one of the best systems on the market today and specifically chose this fax system because of the systems’ no busy signal guarantees.
PHONE VERIFICATION SYSTEM
Due to the strict rules of the FCLCA, Funky Lenses has determined that the phone verification system is the best way we can be sure we have complied with the federal law. This phone system assures us that the proper information is transmitted in an intelligible fashion. Funky Lenses reviewed several options in terms of our ability to comply with the law before we chose the present system. The company then further improved the system in order to make the text-to-speech pronunciation as easy to understand as possible. We have added the customization features described below in order to make it easy for each office to use. By using the phone system, we believe that our customers receive quicker/better service and response time. Instead of a fax sitting on the machine all day, the phone system ensures that the verification request is brought to the attention of the office personnel in the shortest possible time. It is our belief that this will expedite the eye care providers response and thus satisfy consumers’ needs. Finally, in discussions with several doctor’s offices we became aware that if an eye care provider were to need information about one of their patients that is transferring to another office – they would not fax the request. Instead, they would call the office to make sure it was brought to offices’ attention. We are attempting the same and understand that this is customary in the industry.
Many offices have asked that we use live person, rather than an automated system. In order to ensure an absolutely consistent approach that conveys all of the required information, we use a system that works exactly the same – every time. This completely rids the verification process of system error, emotion, or other problems that sometimes occur. Due to the severe penalties the company could face if we do not comply with all of the rules surrounding the verification attempt, we must be absolutely positive that there is someone in the office or able to take the verification message and that that person receives all of the requisite information. Further, the system call communicates the information required, by law, in approximately two (2) minutes. If however, the ECP office feels that two minutes is too burdensome, our system gives the office customized options to have the system call back in 5 minutes, to pause, resume, repeat, or skip the introduction (the introduction is approx. 30 seconds or approx. 25% of the call length). This system allows the office to customize the verification session to fit the office needs while still providing the most expedited service to our customer and the eye care provider’s patient. We believe that the system – when properly understood and used – is the easiest and most efficient way to complete the federally mandated verification with nearly 50,000 offices across the nation.
We feel that this verification process does not place significant burden on any office staff, as we are acting in behalf of the patient to verify their contact lens prescription information in accordance with the FCLCA. The initial verification phone call does not require the end user to verify the prescription right then. It simply conveys the required contact lens verification information so that the office, at their convenience, can verify the contact lens prescription. The FCLCA has determined that a seller of contact lenses who must verify a prescription must wait 8 business hours once the required information has been successfully communicated to the eye care provider office. If the seller does not receive verification response within that given time frame the seller is allowed to ship the contact lens order.