Consumer Action strongly supports updates to Federal Trade Commission’s Contact Lens Rule

Our new poll data shows 60% of contact lens consumers are unaware of their automatic right to prescription copy

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Washington, DC—Consumer Action submitted supportive comments and new consumer poll data today in response to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) request for comments on proposed changes to its Contact Lens Rule, the regulatory framework that implements the landmark Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act of 2003 (16 CFR Part 315, Project No. R511995). Read comments and poll data here (PDF download).

The new FTC rule promotes competition by giving consumers the right to comparison shop for contact lenses. Consumer Action issued a press release on Nov. 15, 2016 in support of the new rule and urged its members and supporters to offer comments in support of the rule. The comment period closes today (Jan. 30, 2017).

The FTC is proposing to require optometrists to obtain a signed acknowledgement after providing a prescription to a consumer, and to keep that acknowledgement on hand for three years. The proposed change comes because the FTC found (as did Consumer Action) that many contact lens wearers had no idea they were supposed to be given a copy of their lens prescription at the eye doctor’s office, even though that has been the rule for many years.

New consumer polling commissioned by Consumer Action in January of 2017 demonstrates the need for increased consumer education around contact lens consumer rights and the importance of educating eye doctors to follow current federal law and provide consumers with copies of their prescription.

In a national sample of 685 contact lens consumers, 60 percent of all respondents said they were unaware that under federal law a doctor or exam provider is required to automatically provide their patients with copies of their prescriptions after they have contact lens exams.

In addition to today submitting its recent consumer poll results and its standalone comments to the FTC, Consumer Action also joined a letter of support for the FTC’s amendments to the Contact Lens Rule along with a diverse group of consumer groups, taxpayer groups, retailers and companies that compete against each other in the marketplace but who are united in support of strong consumer rights.

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Consumer Action has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Consumer Action focuses on consumer education that empowers low- and moderate-income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. It also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers to advance consumer rights and promote industry-wide change.

By providing consumer education materials in multiple languages, a free national hotline, a comprehensive website (www.consumer-action.org) and annual surveys of financial and consumer services, Consumer Action helps consumers assert their rights in the marketplace and make financially savvy choices. Nearly 7,000 community and grassroots organizations benefit annually from its extensive outreach programs, training materials and support.

 
 

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