Smilelove, providers of clear plastic aligners to consumers across the country, has recently prompted concern after customers received a notice that their aligners not only wouldn’t be shipped, but that they wouldn’t be refunded, either. Despite this, Smilelove is still actively recruiting new clients on their website, according to a warning issued by the Better Business Bureau.
In a recent message posted to Smilelove’s blog, the company informed consumers that prices were increasing, employees were being let go, and that both marketing and customer service efforts would increase to better address the lack of sales Smilelove is experiencing due to COVID-19.
“Long before coronavirus, there were complaints from customers like me with Smilelove’s business practices,” said Tooele’s Michael Gallacher to BBB Serving Northern Nevada and Utah. Gallacher bought aligners for his wife in May of 2018. He says the company’s product misaligned her teeth, and after consulting three local dentists, knew Smilelove had made big mistakes on his order, according to the BBB.
The consumer advocate reports that while once responsive, Smilelove stopped answering complaints sent in by consumers to BBB around the beginning of March. In addition, BBB reports that Smilelove’s number of complaints has increased from an average of less than 50 per month to more than 113 in the past week.
In one of the automated replies sent to BBB in response to a complaint, Smilelove says it is using the government’s Payroll Protection Plan, but it’s not enough to keep production going or offer refunds.
“Financially, we’re not in a position to process them,” according to an email the company sent the BBB, before directing consumers to the blog post on their website. “We’re pushing forward to get new orders. The more orders we get under this new plan, the faster and better we’ll be able to service existing orders like yours.”
“This is a problem, because what Smilelove is saying is that they can’t afford to service current customers who have paid. But, they are taking money from new customers, even if they may never be able to restart operations again,” said Jane Rupp, president and CEO of BBB Serving Northern Nevada and Utah.
At this time, going from Smilelove’s homepage to the checkout page has no mention of product delays due to COVID-19 or other concerns.
“Putting any money into Smilelove right now is a huge risk for consumers. Their service isn’t cheap, and the business has given no guarantees that you can expect to receive their products, or your money back.” Rupp said.