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Investigation into WatchBrokers reopened

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ATLANTA -

A high-end, Buckhead watch dealer's time just might be up. WatchBrokers offers high-end watches sold on consignment, but after cutting a deal with the state to return money to some of its customers, complaints are rolling in again.

Those that may have been taken by WatchBrokers say they started selling collector item watches or family heirloom pieces when the economy got tight.  They needed the extra money, but it seems they can't get the money from WatchBrokers.

The Governor's Office of Consumer Protection stepped in once, getting the business back on track.

"We found out the troubles.  We saw the reviews coming and it was kind of like, 'Whoa, what's going on?' I came back in," said R.J. Bergh, president of WatchBrokers, back in January.

Bergh said that to the I-Team after complaints poured into the state about the company. Bergh said he came back to work for the luxury consignment shop to make things right. He may be back, but so are the complaints.  

Michael Brown claims he can't collect money from two timepieces sold through the dealer. After he filed a complaint against WatchBrokers with the Atlanta Police Department, he says an officer told him he was "one in a line of many."

Months ago, the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection stepped in and got an assurance of voluntary compliance against the company and its president. It says the company owed $651,000 to its customers and if they didn't pay up, Bergh would be financially responsible for the money. That seemed to work for a while.  

"The first watch to be sold was the Rolex and it sold within about a week and a half," said Brown.

Brown told APD that a Rolex sold in June for $3,700, then a Cartier watch sold for $2,400. But a police report shows he is still owed "payment for the two watches."

"I left probably five messages and two emails before I even went in there the first time," said Brown.

It was on his second visit when Brown realized his troubles were even worse. Brown also gave WatchBrokers a Hermes watch that hadn't sold yet. Brown says he told the manager he wanted it back.

"He went back there and said, ‘I don't see it.'  I said, what do you mean you don't see it? And he said 'It's not back there.' So I don't know where it is," said Brown.

Brown says he estimates that watch to be worth as much as another $2,000. He needed the money to pay for his recently deceased mother's headstone.  

"I walked out there and it's just awful.  It's the only grave without a headstone," said Brown.

The Office of Consumer Protection has issued a new judgment demanding R.J. Bergh and his company to pay up so that victims like Brown can move on. The office says the investigation into WatchBrokers has been reopened.

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