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Wal-Mart Double-Bills Vision Clients, Class Says

(CN) - Wal-Mart and optical-retail giant National Vision charges customers and insurance companies for the same goods and services, a class claims in federal court.

Elizabeth Vancleave, of Shasta Lake, Calif., filed the April 10 complaint in Eureka.

She claims to have visited a Wal-Mart in Redding on Feb. 14, 2014, with the knowledge that its Vision Center "was an in-network provider" for her insurance through EyeMed Vision Care.

EyeMed is not a party to the action.

Vancleave says she bought lenses, frames and a product-protection plan, for a subtotal of "$358.00 before defendants applied plaintiff's plan discount and insurance."

"After plaintiff's insurance benefits were purportedly applied, defendants charged plaintiff $177.00," the complaint states.

Vancleave paid that amount with a debit card the same day but soon received a notice from her insurer about the transaction.

Wal-Mart allegedly submitted a claim of $358, and Vancleave says her insurer said it covered $256 of that amount.

With the insurer paying $169 to Wal-Mart and National Vision, which maintains its optical retail store, on Feb. 20, EyeMed said Vancleave's "responsibility for the transaction was $102," according to the complaint.

"Accordingly, defendants overcharged plaintiff $75.00 by failing to fully credit her insurance benefits in their invoice on February 14, 2015," the complaint states.

Vancleave says she then "compared the Explanation of Benefits for her past purchases at Wal-Mart Vision Centers with the receipts for these transactions for previous years."

"Plaintiff then discovered other occasions where it appears that defendants engaged in the same practice of misrepresenting plaintiff's insurance benefits, overcharging plaintiff for her eye care and services, and also billing her insurance carrier for the same charges," the complaint continues.

Vancleave notes that Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores has Vision Centers and Sam's Club Optical Stores in all 50 states.

Georgia-based National Vision "touts itself as one of the largest optical retailers in the United States, operating over 800 retail locations in 43 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico," according to the complaint.

The class seeks damages, an injunction and restitution for violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, conversion and unfair business practices. It is represented by David Parisi with Parisi & Havens.


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