Attorney General Warns Consumers of Unapproved Hurricane Protection for Windows
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today issued a consumer advisory warning Floridians about window film companies that have sold or are selling products to residential homeowners as “hurricane protection.” The implied benefits leave homeowners with a false sense of security, and ultimately very vulnerable to the destructive forces of hurricane winds and flying debris.Through information gathered from the International Hurricane Protection Association (IHPA), investigators have determined that aggressive sales tactics may have misled some homeowners to believe the hurricane protection for windows has been approved for residential as well as commercial use, when in reality the film protection advertised has only been approved for commercial use. The Florida Building Code compliant forms of hurricane protection contain no approval(s) for film applied to a residential structure. The consumer must be aware that passing some but not all testing does not qualify a product for approval.Purportedly, some window film companies are also falsely claiming that by purchasing the window film for residential use, the homeowner will be eligible for an insurance discount. In reality, the insurance industry may not recognize this discount because the window film does not meet the standards for use in a residential home.Recently, the International Window Film Association (IWFA) has began issuing manufacturer and dealer alerts in an effort to make sure companies are adhering to proper business procedures. While most members are following proper advertising and sales practices, some are not. Additionally, not all film manufacturers are part of the IWFA, therefore they are not held to the same standards.Attorney General McCollum offers the following recommendations to consumers to avoid falling victim to dealers who may be misrepresenting the film’s capabilities:· Ask to see the product approval and the corresponding number;· Go to www.floridabuilding.org and/or www.miamidade.gov/buildingcode/ to assure that the number supplied is verifiable;· Check with your local building department. Most building departments require a permit to install hurricane protection; and· Report any company that is making fraudulent claims about window film.Consumers who believe they may be victims of fraud may contact the Attorney General’s fraud hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or file an online complaint at http://myfloridalegal.com.
Some within the window film industry feel a new Florida law about product misrepresentation has gone too far. Florida HB 849, which went into effect July 1, makes it a violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, to advertise, sell, offer, provide, distribute or market any product as hurricane, windstorm or impact-resistant unless it is in compliance with the provisions for product approval in the Florida Building Code. This includes window film.In September, the Florida attorney general warned Floridians about window film companies that claim hurricane protection from window film. Reportedly, some window film shops had been selling window film to customers as a hurricane-proof product.“Frankly it’s a no-win situation for window film dealers,” says Mike Feldman, president of Advanced Film Solutions in Holiday, Fla. “The shutter companies have a strong lobbying effort and, candidly, there have been dealers who have exaggerated claims about ‘shutter-less protection.’ Having been the manufacturer and now as a dealer we are careful when we discuss the efficacy of films…”Others in the industry feel laws like this one hurt the industry and credibility of window film as a security product.“The timing is fortunate because nobody is selling a lot of storm protection products right now, so it’s not really affecting us,” says Lyman McNutt, president of Solar-X Window Film Systems in Sarasota, Fla. “But I will not hesitate to advertise the fact that window film provides an elevated level of protection against windborne debris in violent weather; because that statement is true and I’ll let the Attorney General’s office try to prove that my product has no merit whatsoever—because they cannot. That product has been tested and proven to pass ASTM 1886/1996 levels, so how can it be worthless?”The International Window Film Association (IWFA) is also concerned about the new Florida law.“It is unfortunate that the new Florida legislation restricting the promotion and sale of certain products went as far as it did,” said Darrell Smith, executive director of the International Window Film Association (IWFA). “By stating that products promoted or offered for sale that offer protection against windstorm debris during a ‘windstorm’ must have Florida product approval, the legislature effectively expanded the Florida requirements for ‘hurricane protection’ products to include other products which do (and can be proven to) give significant reductions in property damage due to wind and rain in lower speed hurricane conditions and in many lower wind speed ‘windstorms.’”“There is no question that there is an unfortunate history of unscrupulous film dealers over-extending their claims regarding the performance of so-called ‘hurricane’ films,” says McNutt. “But I also think that there is no question that safety film works and works well when properly applied; adding an elevated level of protection that far exceeds a non-filmed window.”Smith says that due to its inclusion with an unrelated bill the legislation snuck in without warning.“This change was included in a bill dealing with entirely unrelated issues and became law so quickly our industry did not have time to react,” says Smith. “The IWFA Government Advocacy Committee and the IWFA board of directors will be looking at what changes and what options exist to address this in next year’s Florida legislative session.”While some within the industry agree that there are dealers over-exaggerating the benefits of window film, they say the product still makes a difference.“There is no question that there is an unfortunate history of unscrupulous film dealers over-extending their claims regarding the performance of so-called ‘hurricane’ films,” says McNutt. “But I also think that there is no question that safety film works and works well when properly applied; adding an elevated level of protection that far exceeds a non-filmed window.
This a picture of a window that has been hit with a baseball bat to show you what the out come of installing security film window tinting in order to they used 8 mill sercurity film to the demo . All it does is hold the broken glass in place. But the problem is that most window film shops don’t sell the all parts to make it work as the window film manufacture designed it to . You need some type of anchoring system to bond the window film,glass and window frame together to make a true 100% sercurity film installation. Be very aware of what type of anchoring system there are some and I seen from experience that they do not know what they are doing. You don’t go to your local home improvement store and get bathroom or kitchen caulk. this is a no no.. Bad becuase with the metals in most film it will make it corrode that is bad . They make a product from Dow Corning 995 that is made for the window film sercurity installation to bond the film to the glass and window frame But there are many different kinds of bonding products that are certified to use and recommended by window film manufacture like this Bondkap