Action 9: The surprising reason behind hurricane shutter delays, price hikes

Video: Action 9: Family faces hurricane without shutters
A Brevard County family faces the height of hurricane season without the shutters they ordered.
The family members claims that, after they signed a contract for shutters from a big home improvement store, the store raised prices by nearly 50 percent and then canceled the whole deal. 
Action 9's Todd Ulrich found out why anyone ordering hurricane shutters now faces big price hikes and delays.

ORLANDO, Fla. — "It snapped and took out their windows over there," said Bill Miller of the tree that crashed into the home next door to his when Hurricane Irma pounded his neighborhood.

“That was enough for me to decide we weren't going through another storm without hurricane shutters,” said Miller.
Four months ago, Miller and his wife signed a Home Depot contract to install shutters on every window in their home. The contracted price was $6,700. They paid a $1,600 deposit and the installation was scheduled for July.
But 30 days after signing the contract, Miller got a notice from Home Depot.
“That there was a price increase to 47 percent, and they could not honor the contracted price we were quoted,” said Miller.
The Millers complained and Home Depot agreed to cut the increase to 23 percent. The family protested again, and then the company canceled the contract.
“I was dismayed. I was shocked. I couldn't understand why it was canceled,” said Miller.
Ulrich found Home Depot isn't the only company hitting speed bumps with hurricane shutters.
Homeowners across Florida who are ordering shutters now could face delays and price hikes. That can be blamed on demand and tariffs.
There is pent-up shutter demand after two hurricanes in two years combined with President Donald Trump's aluminum tariffs, which include a 10 percent tariff on Chinese imports.
According to a major aluminum supplier in Florida, that tariff increases hurricane shutter prices by 10 to 25 percent. It's triggered shortages, so customers could be waiting four to six months.
“I think it means inflation all the way around,” said Miller.
Ulrich contacted Home Depot’s corporate office.  A week later, the company said a mistake had been made, and it is now honoring the Millers’ contract.
“So no, I didn't think it was fair,” said Miller.
Home Depot blamed high demand, a labor shortage and the aluminum tariffs for driving up hurricane shutter prices and triggering big delays.
Home Depot's response:
"We apologize to the Millers for the confusion on the price of this project. We always want to communicate our pricing clearly and appreciate the opportunity to make this right."