jenniferK on Citysearch
11 years ago
07/07/2009, 01:00 AM
BAD NEWS LASIK – I was considering laser eye surgery and many reviewers recommended checking out several places before making such a huge decision. Gotham, being highly rated, made my list to have a free consultation. Based on my consultation here, I was convinced that Dr. Bonnani was a fine laser eye surgeon with great bedside manners. I asked him tough questions and he answered them easily and thoroughly. I felt very comfortable with him.
It's unfortunate his staff was inconsistent with the "refundable" deposit policy. At the end of the consultation I was handed over to a salesperson. Perhaps the salesperson was little desperate to secure me as a patient/client because everyone there knew I was looking at other laser eye surgery places. Though price was not an issue (I was prepared to invest) and I was in no hurry (although surgery the next month was nice-sounding), the salesperson offered me a reduced price if I put down a refundable deposit right then and there -- for a surgery date that was right after a consultation with another laser eye surgery place.
At first, I refused. The dates were too close and I think there was a huge cancellation fee from either place. Most importantly, I needed time to compare all the other places I had seen and needed to see. The salesperson said Dr. Bonnani was very busy; securing a date wouldn't hurt. I asked him again if the deposit was refundable. He affirmed. I thought, "I guess... I can always get it back" and paid the deposit with my bank debit card and got a receipt.
Once I left, I felt something was off. Before I saw Dr. Bonanni, the salesperson and receptionist kept asking me if I wanted coffee and a donut from their huge platter of donuts on the front desk. I've never been asked if I wanted a donut so many times within 10 or so minutes in my life. I said "No, thank you" several times and even told them I didn't drink coffee. They left me alone once I got something (tea). At the time, I thought they were being overly hospitable because it wasn't very busy in the waiting area. I should have taken this as a hint -- the salesperson wouldn't let me go unless I did something for their benefit.
A few days later, I decided not to have laser eye surgery at Gotham. When I called to ask for my deposit back, a girl on the phone said my deposit was not refundable because I had signed a paper agreeing to that. I was stunned.
Then I got upset. Why did the salesperson tell me otherwise? Is he allowed to go against their policy in order to secure patients? It took many phone calls and about 3 weeks to set the matter straight and get my deposit back. Dr. Bonanni even personally called me. He said he didn't know I was offered a refund at the consultation and explained the policy was set to help pay for preparation and supplies prior to the surgery. When the salesperson called, he kept mentioning a "business manager" that he had to clear the refund with.
Lessons learned: Read everything you sign carefully, so that you will remember it later on (I read it too fast). Never put down a deposit unless you're absolutely sure. Or use an American Express Card because banks won't take back the money once the process is started (I learned this one after telling many older people about my experience).
While I do recommend people to consider Dr. Bonanni if they want laser eye surgery, the rest of his business is equally important. In my case, the rest-of-the-business part stressed me out so much that I gave up on Dr. Bonanni. I wish I had stuck with my guns and not put down the deposit. Who knows, then maybe I would have had laser eye surgery by Dr. Bonanni months later. I hope my review and critique helps improve Gotham Lasik.