A New Law in Florida Has Window Film Companies Up in Arms

July 21st, 2011 | Category: Featured Content

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.”

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  1. [...] Reading: A New Law in Florida Has Window Film Companies Up in Arms – Window Film magazine Posted in Gulf Coast Hurricanes, [...]

  2. The efficient way to deal with this foolishness is to get the insurance industry involved immediately. That industry has already acknowledged in several forums that it stands to save millions if not billions in losses from the reduction in water damage from storms when film-protected window gets hit but still keep most or all of the water out in the great majority of such incidents. I personally have had windows in Florida covered in standard 1.5 mil films that were hit and broken by flying debris in a hurricane (Ivan) that did not fall out and did not admit water which would have caused even more damage in addition to the damage I had from other factors. Security grade films are even stronger and more effective at this sort of protection, and the insurance industry already knows it and needs to weigh in on the side of the film industry.

  3. It is unfortunate that the state of Florida felt the need to become directly involved with this situation. However, we do agree that some companies overstate the effectiveness of safety films and in the end, that may hurt the industry and consumers as a whole.

  4. I am not a dealer I but was through 1989 in Tampa, Florida. Standard window film is 1.5 mil. and offered some protection from storm damage. Shortly before we sold the company 4 mil. safty films became available and offered excellent protection. In one case a smash and grab robbery of an electronics store was prevented because the thieves could not break the in. The glass was shattered but held together. The stores security camera showed that they struck it several times with what appeared to be a small sledge hammer. I have no way of testing the product effeciency of the newer safty film but I’m considering installing it on the windows of a home I’ve purchased in Sarasota, Fl. and am confident that it will exceede the states post Andrew 160mph glass strength requirement.

  5. Personally, I’m not a dealer but I am a window tinting professional in Texas. I think this Florida law is simply just trying to protect homeowners from false claims from dealers. We have similar legislation in Texas. I’m okay with any law that puts the best interest of consumers first.

    - Tim

  6. I agree with Tim, I’m actually based out of Orlando and this is a common question consumers ask. The tough part is that window film in fact holds up to most conditions, but weather can be unpredictable and mixed with certain elements it could in fact go through the film. Tough call though!

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