Target 8: Storm shutters guaranteed to come with houses missing for Irma

APOLLO BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – As Irma’s catastrophic winds crushed the Virgin Islands and the Florida Keys, anxious homeowners scrambled. 

Locally, plywood, used to board up windows sold out.

In Apollo Beach’s Southshore Falls community, the homes built by Pulte Homes came with storm shutters, as well as certification the shutters covered all windows and vulnerable openings.

“I actually was shorted a few sets, actually, one for the front door and the window above it, one for the second bedroom, and then one for the den,” said homeowner Ray Pouliot.

Irma was Canadian Ray Pouliot’s first hurricane. What a time to find out you’re missing shutters.

Pouliot helped at least four neighbors who were also missing equipment and shutters.

“One of my neighbors didn’t even get the box of all the brackets that she needed to hold the shutters secure,” added Pouliot.

According to Pouliot, neighbors traded, shared and improvised.

“Tried to figure out how we could make do. We started going to Lowe’s and started looking for parts and see what we could do to offset what we needed,” he explained. “Without success in most cases, but yeah, we just started to scramble.”

With the storm still coming, on September 8, Pouliot’s wife Debbi fired off an email to Pulte.

“We are missing three sets of our storm shutters….we have Irma heading our way, we need these storm shutters. Why were we not given these, why did no one check?” said Debbi’s email.

Six days later, a Pulte customer care coordinator responded, “Your two year warranty has expired.”

Pouliot contends that it isn’t a warranty problem, it’s paying for something he didn’t receive.

In a statement, Pulte Homes relayed that during Irma, it received a handful of calls asking for extra bolts or shutters. If customers are within the two year warranty, parts are supplied free of charge. If they are outside warranty, they are referred to the supplier.

“To not have the parts that they needed at such a significant event, you know, it’s very disappointing that they put us in that position in the first place,” he said.

The supplier is Global Protection Products out of Davie, Florida. The company’s Tim Robinson told Target 8 if customers are missing equipment GPP is ready to work with them. GPP says there are a variety of reasons equipment might be missing, including theft.

Global Protection Products’ telephone number is 954-689-7545. Customers missing shutters and or hardware can also contact them online. 

If you have something that you think should be investigated, contact our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808. Contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com.

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