SmileDirectClub, the home orthodontic service that you can do yourselfover the weekend, leaving clients with payments due but no further treatment.
Ashli Noelle Evans, a Knoxville-based SmileDirect customer, was looking to perfect her smile by signing up for the service, but now she says she has a bill to pay and no aligners.
“I still have to pay. I'm still under financial payment for another year. The 'lifetime smile guarantee' is obviously over and I won't be receiving the aligners I got last month,” he told CBS News. “So now I'm going to have to go to an orthodontist anyway. So there was no point in going that route to try to save some money since my treatment was very small.”
SmileDirectClub filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. Despite the closure, the company tells anyone with the SmileyPay Plan that they should continue to “make all monthly payments until full payment has been made,” according to a statement from the company website. It also informs customers: “Effective immediately, the Lifetime Smile Guarantee no longer exists.”
Customers seeking refunds will have to wait, the website says, adding that “more information will be available once the bankruptcy process determines next steps and additional actions customers can take.”
Evans says she's not alone in her frustration.
“There are a lot of people who are very upset. I was contacted by people who had just received a Black Friday deal that they had sent out and they had ordered aligners and they didn't get anything,” he says. “I've had at least a couple of treatments. They haven't had anything.”
Evans has also not heard from the company.
“I actually sent in my impressions. They received them on November 22 and I was waiting for a new set of aligners to arrive in the mail,” he said, adding that he tried to get in touch after hearing the news. “Everything is just gone. The app doesn't work anymore. There's no one to talk to. There's no customer service. There's nothing there.”
Since going public in 2019, the Nashville-based company has failed to turn a profit, racking up nearly $900 million in debt before filing for bankruptcy, Associated Press. reported.
The American Dental Association has advisedfrom companies offering direct-to-consumer dental aligners, warning of potential risks to patients.
“Moving teeth without knowing all aspects of the patient's oral condition has the potential to cause bone loss, tooth loss, gum recession, bite problems, jaw pain and other harmful and permanent problems,” said the the ADA said in a statement.
–Patrick Damp contributed reporting.
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