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.
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