Shutting down a storm shelter business leads to warranty issues
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A well-known tornado shelter company has closed. Some customers with leaky shelters have now turned to KFOR, wondering what this means for their warranty.
Jason Haney had heard stories about Oklahoma’s bad weather when he moved to the Sooner State last year.
“Tornadoes do happen, but usually you’re not given much notice,” he said. “I was like, I gotta get [a storm shelter] to protect the family.
He shopped around, found Tornado Safe Shelters LLC, and settled on a buried “overflow shelter” to place in his garage.
“So I saw their design and I was like, that’s a good thing,” Jason said. “You know, it’s a plastic shell inside concrete. And their reviews seemed correct at the time.
He tells our team that he paid almost $4,000. Its shelter was installed at the end of 2021.
In the spring, however, Jason found a mess under his garage.
“Went to do my spring cleaning and prepare for tornado season, and found about a foot, a foot and a half [of water],” he explained.
Luckily, he says it was covered by warranty.
After several attempts, he joined the company.
“[Tornado Safe] replied to me by e-mail saying that we are following up your problem. We will send a contractor to take a look and fix it,” he said. “April 7 was when they were supposed to go out. So I stopped working and made sure my wife or I were there too.
But Tornado Safe never showed up and still hadn’t been to Jason’s house when News 4 shut down in June.
Jason now has to drain the water from his shelter every few weeks.
The company was once one of the largest shelter distributors in the state.
They were previously featured on In Your Corner, after offering free shelter. It was part of a house renovation, after a woman fell victim to a suspicious contractor in 2016.
When News 4 stopped by their massive 2022 junkyard, we found a locked door with a sign that read “Showroom closed, sold out for the season,” along with notices of utility cuts.
Among the letters on the door was one from a client named Patrick Stewart. Patrick claimed in his note that his shelter was stuck in the hall.
“It’s in the lobby right now,” he said. “You can look out the window and see my name is written on it.”
Patrick bought his shelter in February and was hoping to get it back this summer.
His attempts to reach the company had been unsuccessful.
“You know, as a business owner, I would expect at least one callback,” he said. “At least one response to my email letting me know what the circumstances are.”
A quick search of court records shows that Tornado Safe is currently in conflict with the state.
The Department of Corrections (DOC) previously provided the company with shelters. DOC is now suing Tornado Safe for breach of contract, for $50,000.
We spoke with owner Darrin Humphrey on the phone. He said the ongoing dispute with the DOC had crippled his business and there was much more to the story than the lawsuit.
“[DOC] canceled our contract for no reason,” Darrin said. “We didn’t see it coming. I mean, they’ve been our makers since day one and they cut it.
Darrin tells In Your Corner that he hasn’t been involved in day-to-day operations for nearly a year, but said he would take care of customer complaints.
To his credit, the customers we alerted him to have had their issues resolved as well.
Patrick received his hall shelter the day after our interview. Jason Haney told News 4 that crews fixed his leaky shelter over the weekend.
The DOC says they were unable to comment on the situation, due to ongoing litigation.
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