smiledirectclubwhich provides orthodontic services through the mail, has agreed to release customers seeking refunds from nondisclosure agreements, as part of a settlement with the attorney general for the District of Columbia.
Attorney General, Brian L. The agreement, announced Thursday, Schwalb said, allows 17,000 customers to speak publicly about their experiences with SmileDirectClub’s teeth aligners. The company previously asked customers who wanted refunds to agree not to discuss their experiences and to remove negative social media posts about the company.
In 2020, The New York Times informed of SmileDirectClub has added confidentiality agreements with some refunds. The District of Columbia Attorney General’s Office sued the company in 2022, accusing the company of preventing customers who were injured by its services from filing complaints with regulators or law enforcement.
Mr Schwalb said in a statement: “SmileDirectClub promised a simple, safe and affordable way to straighten teeth and touted five-star reviews – but behind the scenes, the company silenced disgruntled consumers and suppressed complaints about injuries caused by its products.”
SmileDirectClub, which also agreed to pay $500,000, said in the settlement that it had not violated the law or engaged in unfair or deceptive practices.
Susan Greenspun Rammelt, chief legal officer for SmileDirectClub, said in a statement that the claim that the company was trying to stifle negative consumer feedback was a “misinformation campaign.” He said the company did not ask customers to sign a non-disclosure agreement if they sought a refund within 30 days of receiving their aligners and that the agreement was negotiable.
The company said its release form was based on the form used by the orthodontics industry and that it already had plans to “formulate the non-disclosure provision more narrowly”.
SmileDirectClub’s services, which are cheaper than traditional orthodontics because they often do not involve individual visits, have drawn criticism from dentist and orthodontist groups. the company has sued on some of those critics accused The Dental Board of California is plotting to stifle competition.
SmileDirectClub went public in 2019, raising $1.29 billion at a valuation of approximately $9 billion. As a public company, it has made profits. Its stock has fallen below $1 a share, valuing it at $166 million.