@SmileDirectClub is a game-changing nightmare: A Review

The following review has been part of a lifelong dream of mine. I finally took the plunge to straighten my smile about 2 months ago and ended up stumbling across Smile Direct Club. I will be the first to admit that some of the reviews on the internet are indeed accurate about them, however, they are a little confused as to the actual intended target.

Yes this is exactly what the final box looks like mailed to you. It contains your case; toolkits, whiteners, chews, guides, and most importantly all of your aligners. (The retainer is sometimes free but not always.)

I first started my journey with Smile Direct Club roughly around May-ish. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, I had actually opted to get a mail-order kit for my impressions because I at the time was not feeling like it was smart to go many places. I received the kit about a week or so after ordering it — surprisingly which was pretty easy all together.

Don’t get me wrong SDC has most definitely served its purpose aligner wise.

My smile is far straighter than I had initially thought it would be.

I currently have about 4 more weeks to go.

Next to the kits; the impressions, the mouth-guard thing that forces your mouth open for your photos, and the mailing it back the initial phase of getting your aligners made is by far fairly simple. In fact, that isn’t the bad part of this review whatsoever.

Although I’d like to address something. It is stated to you whether you go in person; online, or by virtual visit that you should probably see a dentist beforehand if you have prior dental issues. For those that may have dental issues or even dental hygiene issues it is best practice to see someone before embarking on this journey. There are allot of complaints about issues arising with people’s dental/oral health.

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How long did it take to get the actual aligners?

Normally it would’ve taken about 3-5 weeks. However, because I ordered mine during the Coronavirus pandemic (may Allah be with you all hope you guys are safe) it actually took about 7 weeks. A large purple box with their logo emblazoned arrived chalked with; whiteners, all of the aligners at once, a pick thing to help with taking your aligners out (to eat/drink anything other than water) and some handy guides.

At no time are you supposed to eat or drink with your aligners in. In fact, if it is anything other than cold water.. It’s a no go!

Sporting them; wearing them, and going through the process largely for the past 8 weeks has been fairly innocent. Most people won’t have much if any pain (and if you do it is very mild, er, and usually when you swap them out for the next week.) Usually the only real pain that I had ever felt was actually switching from one week to the next.


But here’s the bad part.

What Smile Direct Club sometimes fails or “forgets” to tell people is that they do not process their own payments and therefore aren’t their own billing provider. In fact, the billing provider for Smile Direct Club is in fact called Healthcare Finance Direct. When I signed up with Smile Direct Club, nobody told me that and failed to actually mail me or even e-mail me documents to show such.

So when I had finally gotten them; put them on, and then my due date arrived I had no idea that Smile Direct Club wasn’t the billing provider but in fact a company in California that almost nobody has ever heard of.

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Putting it very blankly — Smile Direct Club needs to change their billing processor. Healthcare Finance Direct is a cold nightmare to deal with and often rather sketchy.

This part of the process is actually where I encountered some of the worst possible customer service I have ever seen. Smile Direct Club themselves actually has pretty OK customer service their billing people … different story guys.

When I realised that SDC was not the billing company and in fact I was supposed to be paying someone else (in the midst of all of this, I had my cc number stolen from an Amazon purchase and had to get a new one) I was told that even with such having happened I would still have to pay the late fees and their lack of professionalism was in fact my fault.

FACTS:

  1. You have to pay about $250 down to get started.
  2. It costs roughly $1895 in total. You can finance it or pay entirely up front.
  3. Payments run you about $80 a month (due the first month after your aligners arrive.)
  4. They typically are automatic unless you have to switch your card/etc but that will prove to be a nightmare for anyone who has to deal with their billing operator.

The first time the issue arose I spent 2 hours and 15 minutes on the phone with Healthcare Finance Direct for them to tell me they weren’t aware of any payment issues (their payment portal does not work at all in any type of way even though it is advertised in e-mails as supposed to do such.) Because they denied being aware of any issues — they refused to assist me and attempted to force me to pay late fees for an issue that wasn’t even my fault.

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Fast forward to recently, I decided to try and switch cc’s that were used out of my concern for my cc to begin with. Their website as of the last week of July doesn’t even work; their one-time payment screen doesn’t work, and you can’t even type in keystrokes. I informed Smile Direct Club of this again and was pretty much sent back down the rabbit hole I went down the first time.

I do not recommend Smile Direct Club to anyone until Smile Direct Club gets a new billing processor. Healthcare Finance Direct lacks empathy; approach, communication skills, customer service skills, and a basic understanding of even the most common customer situations (in my case having had to wait for my new card in the mail.)

RECAP:

  1. Their website didn’t even work to make a payment. (x2)
  2. Nobody told me who they were so I had no idea that payments were even going to them.
  3. Healthcare Finance Direct does not like to receive phone calls from customers voicing valid complaints and will get very combative with you on the phone.
  4. I did not in any way feel comfortable giving them my credit card number. I still don’t feel comfortable having done such even this far into the process.

Smile Direct Club Rating: C-

Healthcare Finance Direct Rating: F

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