Let's keep this going

Sign up today to receive our daily news briefs featuring a handful of the most important stories in business, tech, and life. Delivered weekdays and Sunday.

EMAILED ON January 21, 2020 BY Nick DeSantis

You can straighten your teeth yourself. But what if it doesn’t leave you smiling?

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.

Get news (like this) delivered by email every morning

Easy there partner...

TO read this story, Enter your email below

let's save the world together