Coastal.com (originally known as CoastalContacts.com) was a company first started in 2000 to try and help people save money on contact lens purchases. It is one of the largest online retailers (see a list of all major retailers listed here) selling both major contact lens brands and other eye related products such as glasses, cleaning solutions, protective casings, sunglasses, and various different accessories. Coastal.com is an online based retailer, so all purchases will be delivered directly to your home or business. In addition to retail products for sale, Coastal.com also provides a number of tools that can help you make an informed purchase. They have tools to help you visualize the look and feel of glasses and also a virtual mirror which lets you see how they would look on your own face. Unfortunately, this is not all that handy for contact lens wearers (which is what we’re mostly concerned about here) but if you’re interested in making an eye glass purchase, it might be a helpful tool to use.
Coastal.com has one of the largest inventories of contact lenses on the web. All of the most popular brands are available on their website and they also offer a wide array of more novelty brand lenses such as alternate colors and modified pupil shape brands. In addition, you should have no problem finding most specific problem based lenses such as those for multifocal, presbyopia, astigmatism, and more. Coastal.com takes all major credit cards, so you can make your purchases online with minimal effort. In addition, they often offer volume discounts for buying lenses in bulk when shopping in their store.
Shipping Time and Costs
For standard ground shipping, Coastal.com will charge you $9.95. However, if your order is more than $99 in total cost, there is generally a coupon available that will give you free shipping. Standard ground shipping requires 4-5 business days for delivery. If you need your package sooner than that, Coastal.com also offers a faster express delivery for $14.95.
If you receive the incorrect order or you simply want to return it, you can return or exchange any order at Coastal.com for up to 365 days. In fact, Coastal.com will even pay the return shipping costs should you choose to do so. To return an item, simply contact Coastal.com’s customer service care team and request a pre-postage paid container be sent to you. Obviously, if you have opened a box of contact lenses, Coastal.com will not accept opened boxes or contact lenses that are within 6 months of their expiry date.
At Coastal.com, your purchase of contact lenses may include a handling fee up to 7% that covers all associated fees in ensuring your product arrives from the warehouse to your front door. This fee also covers the cost of returning your lenses if you order in large quantity and your prescription changes before you’ve had a chance to deplete your current supply. As mentioned above, Coastal.com will not accept returns that are within 6 months of their expiry date.
Ease of Use
In our opinion here at Lens-Saver.com, Coastal.com has a very easy to use website. Using their navigation bar and search box, you can quickly and easily find almost all of the lenses you are interested in, and when you’re ready to make a purchase, their shopping cart system is straight forward as well. One thing we didn’t like is that they complicate the checkout process by trying to get you to signup for an automated refill on your lenses. While we’re sure some customers find this feature useful (especially those with consistent prescriptions and regular brand loyalty) we found that for the average user it was another hiccup and block of text to read which made the process itself that much more cumbersome. In addition, while browsing the site, we had multiple spots where a pop-up asked us to take a survey. Even after declining the survey, we were asked twice more to take it. That was pretty annoying. Overall though, Coastal.com is easy to use and shouldn’t be a problem for anyone who has purchased anything online in the past.
Overall, Coastal.com is a pretty decent option for almost anyone looking to buy contact lenses online. The site has big selection and is also very easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for. One major negative for this retailer, however, was the fairly large handling fees associated with them. In some cases, the handling fees were as much as 7% of the purchase cost. So, if you’re buying a lot in bulk, you can often find yourself paying up to $10.00 in handling fees. On the flip side though, if you need to return your purchase, the handling fees cover the cost of sending them back or even returning unused lenses for an exchange. Coastal.com was also nice for those of you who might also want to buy prescription sunglasses or eyeglasses. They offer a wide selection of glasses as well as contacts, so you can do a one stop shop for all your eye care needs.