SmileDirectClub Customers Speak Out After Company Ends Operations Without Warning The telehealth orthodontics company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September.
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SmileDirectClub customers have a bone to pick with the telehealth orthodontics company after it shut down operations on Friday while people are still in the middle of treatments.
The direct-to-consumer dentistry brand announced it will wind down global operations "effective immediately" in a statement posted to its website. The news comes three months after SmileDirectClub filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September with nearly $900 million in debt, per The New York Times.
However, SmileDirectClub's closure leaves many customers stranded in the middle of teeth straightening treatments, which typically cost around $2,000 and take four to six months.
Customers will not receive new aligners to finish their treatment and the company encouraged those in the middle of treatment to consult a local dentist, according to the statement.
All outstanding orders have been canceled, per the statement, but those who financed their plans are expected to continue making payments.
As for refunds, the company said bankruptcy proceedings will determine the next steps.
The company was founded in 2014 and served over 2 million customers. It went public in 2019, and it was valued at $8.9 billion.
After going public, SmileDirectClub struggled to turn a profit. Several dental organizations spoke out against the company and said the treatment could lead to disease and teeth loss, per CBS News. SmileDirectClub also faced legal scrutiny from unsatisfied customers who alleged the company blocked customers from filing complaints, per The New York Times.
In early 2023, SmileDirectClub was required to release more than 17,000 customers from nondisclosure agreements and pay $500,000 to the District of Columbia.
Following the news, customers in the middle of treatment took to social media to share their experiences.
@rebekka_reyn Replying to @JellyBeanTV #smiledirectclub @Rebekka Reynolds has officially closed down their business while I'm in the middle of treatment. @Forbes @SmileDirectClub @The New York Times @cbsnews ♬ original sound - Rebekka Reynolds
I start SmileDirectClub and they close down. This means I have the power to close down companies so who should I close down next?— Joe Pepe (@jpep20) December 9, 2023
@ericmartinez284 So many of us are confused upset and disappointed. Im sorry to all the customers who trusted @SmileDirectClub. The company decided to layoff everyone in the company through email no 2 week notice only in email how unprofessional and disrespectful. Im not surprised on there actions and im truely embarrassed and sorry for all the customers who trusted them. One thing i am proud of is making so many smiles happen with the customers i had. The friendships ive made with customer and employees. This was maybe a sign for a new opportunity i was so comfortable new opportunities wait for me 2024! #fyp #newyearnewjob #lgbtq #smilestrong2024 #california ♬ original sound - Eric M