SmileDirectClub, which provides orthodontic services through the mail, has agreed to release customers who asked for refunds from nondisclosure agreements, as part of a settlement with the District of Columbia’s attorney general.
The settlement, announced on Thursday, allows 17,000 customers to talk publicly about their experiences with SmileDirectClub’s teeth aligners, said the attorney general, Brian L. Schwalb. The company previously asked customers who wanted refunds to agree not to discuss their experiences and delete negative social media posts about the company.
In 2020, The New York Times reported that SmileDirectClub tied confidentiality agreements to some refunds. The District of Columbia attorney general’s office sued the company in 2022, accusing it of blocking customers who were injured by its services from filing complaints with regulators or law enforcement.
“SmileDirectClub promised a simple, safe and affordable way to straighten teeth and touted five-star reviews — but behind the scenes, the company silenced dissatisfied consumers and buried complaints about injuries caused by its products,” Mr. Schwalb said in a statement.