Tampa man still without his things – more than a month after move

Rick Heitzmann looks through documentation from various federal, state and local agencies.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa man moved back to the Bay area more than a month ago but his condo is still empty.

Rick Heitzmann says he takes some of the blame, but he’s also upset with the moving broker, American National Van Lines of Hollywood, Florida, and the moving company, M.A.D.E. Moving and Storage of Acworth, Georgia.

Heitzmann says he shelled out $700 to American National Van Lines thinking they were the movers only to be surprised when M.A.D.E. showed up at his doorstep in Mississippi. He says the deal consisted of him paying $1,300 that day and the remaining $1,300 when his things were delivered.

It’s now January and his things haven’t arrived. “Come on in,” he told News Channel 8 when we showed up at his condo Monday night.

It’s not exactly home sweet home for Heitzmann and his dog Kassie. “Don’t you like it?” he asked facetiously. “It’s been a month.”

It’s been more than a month of waiting. Heitzmann sleeps on an air mattress and watches a television loaned to him by his son. He does his crossword puzzles on a card table.

“It’s just been kind of a rollercoaster,” he says. “It’s difficult. I mean I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s not just my furniture. It’s my clothes. It’s my personal belongings. It’s my photographs. It’s my life.”

That ride started with a call to that federally licensed moving broker, American National Van Lines. That company put him in touch with the mover, M.A.D.E. “Nothing but mis-commitments and lies,” Heitzmann said. “Either that or just totally gone dark.”

But despite the setbacks, Heitzmann hasn’t given up.

He’s been in touch with the American Moving & Storage Association, the Georgia Attorney General’s Office (that’s where the moving company is based) and the United States Department of Transportation.

On Tuesday Department of Transporation investigators will meet with M.A.D.E. to review Heitzmann’s case and several others. Heitzmann says investigators told him they have the power to temporarily, or even permanently, shut down the company.

The moving broker released this statement to News Channel 8 and Heitzmann:

“We were ‘fooled’ by the great ratings on MADE moving, and we are completely disappointed in their lack of service. As you have been informed, since your move complaints, we have not, and will not, be giving them any business in the future.”

Heitzmann hopes this incident can help others and that his home life will soon take a turn for the better. “I do have hope that I will see (my stuff),” he said.

Stay with News Channel 8 and WFLA.com for updates on Heitzmann’s story.

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