Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has filed suit in the Broward County Circuit Court against Hallandale based hurricane shutter company Rolladen, Inc. and its owner, Robert Hoffman, alleging deceptive and unfair trade practices.
Rolladen and Hoffman have marketed and sold hurricane shutters and impact windows to Florida consumers for years. According to the suit, the company allegedly required substantial upfront deposits for shutters or windows and then failed to install them.
According to the Attorney General’s Office investigation that started in March, Rolladen is alleged to have received more than $600,000 in consumer deposits for hurricane shutters or impact windows that it failed to deliver.
“As Floridians safeguard their homes against hurricanes, they deserve the assurance of knowing that they are doing business with fair and honest companies,” said Pam Bondi, Florida’s Attorney General. “My office will continue to investigate deceptive business practices and protect all of Florida’s consumers.”
According to the suit, Rolladen required customers to make an upfront payment of between 40 percent and 80 percent of the contracted price for hurricane shutters. The company then promised delivery and installation within six to 12 weeks of the contract date. In many instances, Rolladen failed to deliver.
Bondi’s lawsuit seeks an order prohibiting Rolladen from the marketing or sale of shutters and windows until installations can be completed in accordance with Florida contractor requirements.
The lawsuit also seeks an immediate freeze of all company assets to maximize refunds for consumers.
In addition to the lawsuit, Hoffman was arrested by the Broward Sheriff’s Office last week on charges of running an organized scheme to defraud and for unlicensed contracting.
In what has been forecast as a busy hurricane season, be sure to conduct your “due diligence” before hiring a hurricane shutter contractor.
- Confirm the contractor has a current state contractor’s license. Go to http://www.myfloridalicense.com to verify a license.
- Ask who will be doing the actual installation and confirm that the installer is also licensed.
- Ask for and check references, and investigate the contractor with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org).
- Know what kind of protection you are purchasing. Some counties may have specific standards for storm shutters, so be sure to inquire in advance whether your shutters meet the applicable standards and retain copies of the specifications for insurance purposes.
- Know that “hurricane film” is not approved for residential use in Florida.
- Florida requires a building permit for installation of shutters and most windows and doors. Be sure your contractor is obtaining a permit for the installation.
- Make certain that all materials and supplies, permit fees, and installation costs are included in the price quoted in the written contract.
- Ask for a specific installation deadline and request the contractor to include the deadline in the contract.
- Beware if the contractor asks for payment in full before the work is completed.
- Contractors often require a deposit, but if you pay more than 10 percent of the contract price, the contractor must apply for a permit within 30 days and start work within 90 days of the issuance of the required permit(s).
If you are the victim of Rolladen, Inc. or any other contractor, please contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office at 1-866–9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or online at http://www.myfloridalegal.com.