In the second post in my series, I’m back with another post on an item I purchased through an Instagram advert. Last time, I reviewed eco-friendly laundry capsules from Smol which were delivered through your postbox. I thought the Instagram algorithm had done pretty well to target me as a mum of a small child who always seems to have endless piles of laundry to do these days.
The next product I was targeted with, where daily contact lenses from a company called Hubble. Again, Instagram was quite spot on with targetting me for the ad as I have been a wearer of contact lenses for about 10 years now. Like the Smol capsules, these daily contact lenses came with an attractive incentive of only paying £1 shipping for 2 weeks worth of daily lenses. A bargain for sure if you’re a long term contact lenses user and you know just how pricey daily lenses can be.
I get lenses monthly from the trusty high street retailer Specsavers and pay around £13 a month for monthly contact lenses (if you’re not familiar with contact lenses, this means I wear the same pair of lenses for 1 month, taking them out every night and putting them in the next day). As over the years, my work and study necessitated long hours staring at a computer screen, I decided to pay a little more for lenses that apparently let more oxygen in, allowing me to wear them for longer periods safely.
I’ve been short-sighted since I was about 10 years old and agonisingly wore a range of undoubtedly unflattering and cheap prescription glasses throughout my awkward teen years at high school. I never really liked wearing glasses in public. In fact, the first few years I wore them, I would only wear them in class, where I needed to read from the board and then I would hurriedly take them off after the lesson or when school concluded. It was only when I realised that it was increasingly becoming more difficult to see the streets outside clearly as I was walking along that I realised it was turning into a bit of a health and safety issue in order to appease my teenage vanities. Not only that, but I had a few embarrassing incidents of mistakenly thinking I could see a family member or friend outside. With one, I thought I could see my nephew on the street and called out his name and felt confused as to why he wasn’t responding up until I realised it wasn’t him! In the latter incident, through my squinted eyes, I was sure one of my best friends was walking towards me so I stuck my tongue out at her in greeting and then as we got closer I realised it was a complete stranger. She may have even stifled a giggle at my apparently weird behaviour. Moral of the story kids, don’t go around walking outside half-blind…
Anyways, once I was finally old enough to get contact lenses, I jumped at the chance. Years on from that time, unless I am feeling tired or unwell, I usually still wear them a good 5 out of 7 days a week, for at least a few hours. I very rarely these days wear them from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. Overall, I am happy with the quality of the lenses I get from Specsavers. The only drawback and annoying thing about monthly lenses are having to take them out every night, giving them a quick clean before you pop them in the lens case. It’s fine on a good night, but in times where I’ve had a really long day and I just want to get into bed (and that seems to be all the time in motherhood!), it can feel like the most arduous chore. And I’m even ashamed to admit it, but many instances, I’ve fallen asleep for a few hours before I’ve remembered to take them out (please don’t tell my optometrist…). For that reason, daily lenses have also seemed appealing – simply chuck the lenses away instead of carefully storing them away. And perhaps it’s emblematic of the slightly lazy millennial mindset, but who doesn’t love a cheeky shortcut to streamline their life?? The only thing that kept me back from getting daily disposable lenses has been the price ticket.
So when I saw that fated Instagram ad offering 14 pairs of lenses for a mere £1, I leaped at the opportunity. I would still keep my regular monthly lenses from Specsavers. But I thought I might mix and match with daily lenses when I was feeling lazy or for periods where I might not make full use of my monthly lenses. There was however a catch (isn’t there always??). Just like with Smol, to get the amazing initial offer, you had to give your card details and sign up for their subscription offer. However, you are welcome to cancel at any point. No biggie, I told myself. I would get the trial box and maybe one more and then I would cancel the service. Well I quickly got my first box, and I have to admit, I did not open that box for many weeks. I either kept forgetting to get around with it or wanted to finish using my opened pair of monthly regular lenses before opening the Hubble lenses. Then surprise, surprise, one day I ended getting my second box of daily lenses from Hubble. Wait a second, I thought. That was way faster than I had expected – in fact it was a mere 16 days since I’d been sent out the first box. I hadn’t even opened the first box yet. So I hurriedly opened the first box and decided I needed to start making use of them. I’ll be honest, the first day I tried them, I was a little bit disappointed. Like basic daily lenses I’d tried from Specsavers a few years ago, they felt very thin. And perhaps it’s because I have dry eyes, but I found them uncomfortable and headache-inducing by the end of the day. It made me remember why I like thicker monthly lenses which take in more oxygen. Perhaps it was an adjustment thing, but after trying them a few times, I thought they were alright, and the convenience of being able to chuck them away at the end of the night was priceless.
Or so I thought it was priceless. I realised after I received the second box of lenses from Hubble that I had no idea how much I had been charged for them. I checked thought my email invoices to discover that they had cost a whopping £27! Dear readers, your girl was well and truly shook. I didn’t even tell my husband that I managed to get duped into paying such an extortionate amount for a product that I was already using for more than half the price. I frantically searched their website looking for an unsubscribe button, and just like Smol, I realised that these Instagram ad companies make it so quick and easy for you to sign up to their subscription services but they will make you work hard to leave the service! I struggled to find contact details on their website and a careful reading of the FAQ told me that if I wanted to cancel the service, I needed to call their phone line which was only open certain hours of the day – and I’d just happened to miss the hours that day. I told myself I’d call the next day, but with a baby at home, I knew it would be more than a slight challenge. I would remember in the evening when the phone line would be closed and would tell myself I’d call the next day but again I would totally forget.
I then managed to forget for a few weeks (yes, I am the type of person to keep getting charged for the gym membership they forget to cancel…) up until I found another box delivered through my door! Another £27 gone! And I hadn’t even finished getting through the first box. And it didn’t stop there, I ended up getting charged for another month before I finally managed to cancel my membership. And the cancellation didn’t even happen because I finally remember to call up at the right time. I happened to get an email on a random topic from Hubble. At the end of the email, I found an email for customer services and I desperately sent an email asking them to end my service as soon as possible. A day or so later, I saw I had an email back from one of their employees named Christine asking if I’d instead consider delaying when I received my next delivery instead of outright canceling. No thanks, Christine, I replied quickly. I need this stopped now otherwise my 12 month old son would be paying for it when he’s an adult.
Well lo and behold, a few days later I got an email back saying that as I wished, my subscription with Hubble lenses had been canceled. I breathed a sigh of relief. My shoulders felt lighter after being freed of this heavy and guilt-laced burden (and my bank balance was noticeably lighter too…). I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a chump though. I’ve learned the hard way that these Instagram offers are often a little bit too good to be true. Yes the product themselves may be great and whilst the initial offer may seem very attractive at a tiny fraction of the cost, in the long run, it may cost you a lot more. And I honestly feel like these companies deliberately make it hard for you to cancel their services. They profit over people’s laziness and forgetfulness. In the future, if I do buy anything from Instagram, I think I will stay away from these subscription services as it is too costly in the end. So if you do want to use Hubble contact lenses, readers, overall they are a decent product and do exactly the job they say they do. Just be wary that you don’t end up paying a lot of money to get them to do that job.