Problem Solver: Eyewear receipt has customer seeing red

All Diana Sanchez wanted was an itemized bill for her eyeglasses so she could file a claim with her insurance. It proved difficult.

Diana Sanchez paid $280.17 for new glasses at J.C. Penney Optical in the Orland Square Mall.

Her husband, Paul, paid $445.81 for his.

Together, the Tinley Park couple plopped down $725.98 for new specs Jan. 26.

It was a lot of money but they weren't too concerned. Their health insurance covers glasses, so they were assured they would get at least some of the money back.

It seemed so simple. All they had to do was submit receipts to the insurance company, which would determine how much of the purchase was covered and issue a reimbursement check.

But the simplest situations sometimes prove the most frustrating. For Sanchez, obtaining the appropriate paperwork from J.C. Penney became seemingly impossible.

When the store printed the couple's receipt, it showed the cost of each pair of glasses but not the price for each component, such as the frames, Teflon coating, edge polishing and other parts.

Without an itemized bill, Sanchez's insurance refused to pay.

Sanchez said she called J.C. Penney three times, and her husband visited the store on three occasions, but neither could obtain an itemized bill.

Each time J.C. Penney sent a new receipt, it showed a breakdown of components but not their costs.

"They say, 'You came in for an eyeglass special,'" Sanchez said. "I said, 'It doesn't matter. I need a cost breakdown for the insurance company.'"

With the impasse nearing two months, Sanchez wrote to What's Your Problem? in mid-March.

She said she doesn't want any money from J.C. Penney or even an apology. Just an itemized receipt.

"You couldn't get any more simple than that," she said. "And they refuse to do it."

Sanchez said she isn't sure how much of the total her insurance company will cover. She is sure, however, that insurance will pay nothing if it doesn't get the proper receipt.

"Honestly, even if it was just $20, by now I'd be happy with it. I'd be happy with anything," she said. "I feel like (J.C. Penney) is hiding something at this point. I'm like, why can't we see it?"

The Problem Solver contacted J.C. Penney spokeswoman Sarah Holland, who promised to look into the situation.

On Wednesday, Holland emailed to say everything would be taken care of.

"We are sending itemized receipts to the customer tomorrow," she said.

Sanchez said she'll be happy to get them, but she fears the new receipts will be similar to the old ones.

"They've told me that before, too," she said.

Here's hoping J.C. Penney gets it right this time.

The Problem Solver will provide updates as warranted.

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