Deceptive Window Claims Are
Unwelcome in Florida
Window manufacturers and associations are applauding the
steps taken by legislators that protect consumers in that state from fraudulent
hurricane protection. Florida HB 849, signed on 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.
Following approval of the bill, window manufacturer PGT Industries in
Venice , Fla., posted information on its website encouraging consumers
to “receive the protection that you were promised.” The company is encouraging
consumers to ask for the approval numbers or codes.
“Once a product meets or exceeds the stringent compliance testing specified
by the Florida Building Code, it is then assigned an approval number,”
PGT tells consumers.
WinDoor Inc., a manufacturer of impact-resistant products, also says the
legislation will go a long way in helping consumers make informed decisions.
“Ensuring that products are properly represented in their advertising
allows the consumer to make an informed decision on the level of security
and performance they desire,” says George Hanus, marketing manager of
“This legislation can only have a positive impact on the manufacturers
who work hard to ensure that all minimum standards are met for their products,”
adds Jerry Decker, general manager for WinDoor. “In the competitive landscape
that exists today, it is difficult for a manufacturer who has invested
in the required R&D, testing and certification requirements to compete
with a manufacturer who may represent his products to be something they
are not–hurricane tested.”
The Fenestration Manufacturers Association was one group that lobbied
the legislature for passage of this bill, and its executive
director, Dick Wilhelm, applauds the decision.
“This provision in the statutes will take unscrupulous hurricane protection
products off of the market, thus providing a level playing field for the
manufacturers that have to spend untold dollars complying with impact
testing and certification of their products to ASTM E 1886/1996 and/or
Miami-Dade 201 – 203,” he says.
The International Hurricane Protection Association (IHPA) also expressed
concern to consumers and government authorities about the growing trend
of untested and unapproved products that are marketed as hurricane and
windstorm protection over the past several years.
“If you see pictures of windblown palm trees, satellite images of hurricanes
and wording such as ‘protection against severe weather,’ what is the consumer
to think?” says Thomas Johnston, IHPA president. “Advertisers would imply
hurricane protection and hide behind the claim that they did not actually
While Johnson is pleased with the bill’s passage he says the association
will now take this message to other states.
“We consider this legislation in to be a win for the consumer and legitimate
manufacturers and contractors who provide these protection products on
a daily basis,” he says. “Our job will now be to carry this message to
other states and regions. We look forward to the day when all hurricane
prone regions are promoting products that comply with the testing and
approval standards required under the International Building Codes.”
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