When it comes to beautifying crooked teeth, SmileDirectClub encourages its customers to open wide.
But when it comes to consumer complaints, the purple-hued company apparently wants people to shut up instead, The New York Times reports.
Even in the crowded — and growing — world of startups focused on health, SDC’s efforts to silence potential critics are unusual.
How SDC came to dominate its market
The company grew after it plastered the airwaves and social media with ads and saw a surge in patients. It rode the wave to an IPO in September, but the offering turned out to be one of the year’s most unsuccessful.
SDC says its service is more convenient for people who don’t have time for multiple trips to the dentist — not to mention more affordable.
But some experts are worried that companies like it flourish inside a broken system, where mainstream care is out of reach for too many people.
Scrutiny of SDC’s practices is growing
Kaiser Health News reported that SmileDirectClub is facing a tide of lawsuits and consumer complaints. 1,600+ have been filed nationally with the Better Business Bureau in the last few years alone.
The company told the Times that the vast majority of those complaints were related to shipping concerns, with 3% covering clinical issues.