Ivan Penn, who writes the Consumers Edge column that appears regularly in the Times, also answers reader questions about consumer issues daily on our website (www.tampabay.com/news/business; look for Consumer's Edge heading).
Window film not for hurricanes
How helpful is window film for hurricane protection?
Window film is not a Florida Building Code compliant form of hurricane protection.
Attorney General Bill McCollum has issued a warning to consumers, saying the purported benefits leave homeowners with a false sense of security, and ultimately very vulnerable to the destructive forces of hurricane winds and flying debris.
McCollum offers the following recommendations to avoid falling victim to dealers who may be misrepresenting the film's capabilities:
• Ask to see the product approval and the corresponding number.
• Go to www.floridabuilding.org and/or www.miamidade.gov/buildingcode to assure that the number supplied is verifiable.
• Check with your local building department. Most building departments require a permit to install hurricane protection.
• Report any company that is making fraudulent claims about window film.
Be wary of one-year warranties
Are the one-year home warranties offered by some home sellers a good deal?
Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, warns potential home buyers to be wary of the one-year home warranties that have emerged recently.
Sink says in her warning to consumers that the warranties are sometimes presented as "a guarantee that the buyer doesn't get any 'surprise' big expenses during the first year after purchasing the home, but not everything is covered." She says the warranty does not cover something that is already broken.
Here's what she suggests:
"When you hire a home inspector, make sure that they verify that the heating, air-conditioning and other features are in working order. . . . Also, be aware that the contracts are often contracts of 'inclusion,' in other words, only named items are covered."
For this and other consumer information from the chief financial officer, visit www.myflorida cfo.com/PressOffice/Newsletter.
De Beers case still not settled
What is the status of the diamonds class action suit against De Beers?
Judge Kent Jordan of the 3rd District of the U.S. Court of Appeals recently rejected the original settlement agreement and has sent the case back to the lower court for reconsideration.
To read the judge's opinion, visit www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/082784p.pdf.