The closure of Smile Direct Club has left its clients "gutted," "left in the lurch," and "outraged," according to statements to sources.
Chantelle Jones, age 32, had her teeth aligned for a total of £1,800 prior to her nuptials the following year. While the moulds for her lower teeth were being fabricated, she awaited the alignment of her upper teeth and she was not sure if she was going to get any money back. Additionally, dentists have conveyed "extreme concern" regarding detained patients.
As the company was beset by debt, it became public late on Friday that a last-ditch effort to save Smile Direct Club had been unsuccessful. "I discovered their bankruptcy through a social media video." Chantelle from Churchdown, Gloucestershire, exclaims, "I consider their treatment of customers to be an utter disgrace."
Unfortunately, notwithstanding the application's state of inactivity, my attempts to access the messaging icon fail to reveal it.
Their complete unavailability leaves me in a state of pure ignorance. With the intention of straightening his smile, Oliver, a Kent-based photographer, paid Smile Direct Club £799 less than two weeks ago. "I feel drained. He says, "I feel a little indifferent about it, to be honest, because it's a considerable amount of money."
The orthodontics company, which was established in 2014, positioned itself as a disruptor to the traditional dental industry.
After an in-person consultation, traditional dentistry practitioners, including orthodontists and dentists, or a trained orthodontic therapist, apply "train-track" braces and transparent aligners.
A significant number of customers were attracted to Smile Direct Club, situated in the United States, due to its competitive pricing and the practice of customers removing the moulds for their aligners at home.
Prior to its 2019 début on the Nasdaq stock exchange, the Nashville-based company was valued at approximately $8.9 billion (£7 billion). However, the company failed to generate a profit and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States in late September.
Fortune magazine estimates it had nearly $900 million in debt at the time. Additionally, the company announced late on Friday that it had "made the extraordinarily difficult decision to cease its global operations."
It discontinued all orders that had not been produced or delivered as of this moment and issued an apology for any distress this may have caused.
It was suggested that consumers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries contact a local dentist if they wished to continue their treatment.
It was stated that further details regarding refunds would be provided as the bankruptcy procedure progresses. However, the company's announcement that the "lifetime smile guarantee" it had previously provided was no longer legitimate has infuriated some clients; those who have established payment plans are still required to make payments.
Two weeks ago, Teah from the West Midlands informed the BBC that she had paid a £135 deposit for her retainers. Teah intended to reimburse the £1,739 cost of the treatment, which typically takes between four and six months, through the Smile Direct Club payment plan.