FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Shut down without warning. Customers are angry after Allcare Dental abruptly closed its doors in several Hoosier cities over the holidays.
Indiana's NewsCenter attempted to call their Fort Wayne office, but the phones have been shut down completely. A website posting on allcareinfo.com offers the only explanation, saying they are working hard to transfer patients to new dentists.
Around Christmas a sign was posted on their door saying they would be closed until January 3rd due to the holidays. When the third rolled around, a new sign went up, saying they were closed permanently.
Customers say they paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars for dental work that remains unfinished - leaving them in pain and upset.
We saw Michael Bibb pulling into the Fort Wayne Allcare branch Thursday afternoon. Shocked, he said that was the first time he had heard about the closing.
"This is totally unacceptable. I am totally shocked, especially since I've already paid my portion of it," he said. "I came by to have them check on this partial plate that I have, which is in a lot of pain. I'm still not able to eat with it."
He isn't alone in his frustration. Mary Pence lives in Garrett and says she suffers a tremendous amount of pain from an oral bone spur and other unfinished dental work.
"I don't feel it's right," says Pence, who took out a loan for more than $5,000 dollars to pay up front for the dental work. "They should have at least contacted their patients before hand so that they could set something up to have this work finished."
Pence said she paid for a five year warranty on a dental plate that she wasn't even given yet. "I hope some justice can be brought. I mean, these people can't just get away with that."
Mike Coil, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana, says his phone has been ringing off the hook with complaints from angry Allcare customers.
"This is really a sorry side, especially in this economy when people are really down on their luck and they're paying money out and they don't get the services that they paid for. Again, bad business practices. You as a consumer, help yourself and do some education," says Coil.
He says Allcare already had an F rating on the BBB's website - something he says consumers should always consult before making important investment decisions with anyone.
All the complaints given to the BBB are being handed over to Indiana's Attorney General. Depending upon results of an investigation, Allcare could face civil suits, file bankruptcy, or any number of other possibilities. It's not yet clear if customers will get any of their money back.
Coil says if you're a customer of Allcare that paid for services up front that you did not receive, there are some important steps you should take. If you've financed your dental work, call the lender immediately and attempt to stop payment.
Also, contact the Better Business Bureau if you want to be included in complaints being submitted to the Attorney General. http://fortwayne.bbb.org/
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