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International Hurricane Protection Association Launches Investigation

Home Inspector with Gold Coast Inspections

The IHPAC announced the formation of an investigative task force intended to act in tandem with the State Of Florida Attorney General to investigate complaints made by homeowners of companies selling window films that are being falsely advertised as hurricane rated or impact products.

There has been a blitz of complaints at a municipal, county and state level alleging that companies are advertising after market window films as the alternative to installing hurricane protection devices or shutters. Not only making face to face presentations with slick brochures but actually telling homeowners that once this product is installed, there is no longer a need for hurricane panels or shutters.

Phyllis K., a Broward resident is just one of many that has been misled and swindled by a local contractor that sold her a bill of goods. "Not only did he say I would get a discount on my insurance, but said his product was so good, the U.S. Embassy installed it," Mrs. K said while we were on site last month conducting a Wind Mitigation Inspection.  "Compared to over $30,000 quote to install hurricane impact windows, less than $5,000 sounded great."

Mrs. K is just one of many within her older and established sub-division where most are retired and due to current economic times just don't have the type of money it takes to retro-fit their homes.

"Without a doubt, these homeowners are being taken advantage of and in some cased they are being lied to," David Manley, President of Gold Coast Inspections, "these products do not carry an impact rating and will not receive any discounts from insurance carriers writing windstorm policies in Florida."

The influx of these types of complaints has Florida's Attorney General's office answering quite a lot of angry phone calls lately. 

Although some of these window films are beneficial during velocity winds, none carry an impact rating. "What homeowners don't understand is building code," continues Mr. Manley "nor should homeowner have to, it's the state's job to make sure that honest people are kept honest."

The application of these products doesn't require a permit because it doesn't require the removal of the window or glass door component.  These films are basically a peel and stick product that is applied over the existing glazing (glass).  The concept of or the hurricane rating is given to the entire opening, including the frame and hardware. Specifically how it performs within the impact testing procedures.  During these tests, the entire opening must remain in tact, not breaching, in order to be awarded an impact rating.

While it is unlikely that Mrs. K will ever get a refund from the company in which she state misled her, she has taken a very strong stance against this contractor by filing a complaint with the state's Attorney General's Office, Broward County, the Better Business Bureau and has had initial discussions with a private attorney.