Target 8: Poorly installed, missing storm shutters torque customers

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — With complaints about their shutters whipping up like the hurricane winds they are designed to protect against, Global Protection Products, LLC., is sending workers into a storm of unhappy customers.  

From North Port to Apollo Beach and now in Tampa, customers are complaining about the required hurricane shutters that came with their homes. Homeowners claim they either didn’t get enough shutters to cover all windows and door or some of the shutters don’t fit.

Lenny Eichsteadt of Tampa complained his fabric shutters didn’t fit.

“We had to sit there pull on the shutters to put them on the poles, and some of them you couldn’t even line up,” he said.

G.P.P. supplies customers a pair of pliers to try to stretch the fabric onto studs. When Lenny was able to do that he claims he was missing about 50 wingnuts.

Down the street, G.P.P. shorted his neighbor shutters for two large windows.

Lenny complained 3 weeks ago, G.P.P. was on site today.

Before the hurricane, Ray Pouliot of Apollo Beach discovered G.P.P. shorted him as well.

The company provided Mr. Pouliot with a document certifying it covered all windows and openings with shutters.

“They got this document that says they did that,” explained Mr. Pouliot, “But there’s no way they could have done that in my case, I was shorted three.”

G.P.P. manager Tim Robinson claims the company provides photographs to local building departments of the homes with shutters up.

Hillsborough told me it has no such photos of Ray Pouliot’s house.

At Lenny Eichsteadt’s we watched a G.P.P. employee pull off decorative bolts from the wall, hand screw-in studs, then using a nut driver without a bit, pulled and tugged the fabric shutter over the studs.

A simple tool that would’ve helped put up shutters securely. Instead, customers like Lenny Eichsteadt and Ray Pouliot rode out the storm with their homes partially protected.

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

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