POLICE have received a catalogue of calls from furious customers claiming they have been sold shoddy cars by a Hampshire car dealership which shut up shop without warning, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Hampshire Constabulary confirmed it had been contacted by a number of angry people complaining that they been lost money or been sold defective cars.
The force says it has a log of complaints and is aware of the “dispute” surrounding the former Woolston Car Supermarket which has ceased trading.
As revealed by a Daily Echo investigation, the dealership in Hazel Road, Woolston, closed 11 days ago leaving furious customers in the lurch about their refunds and faulty cars sent back for repairs.
The Daily Echo tracked down the company to a new site in Fort Wallington Industrial Estate, Fareham, where its owner Stan Rudgley, was confronted by people demanding either refunds or their traded-in cars back.
With our journalists on hand, the entire episode was captured on video camera, during which fed up customers wrested a promise from him to reimburse them.
After publishing the results of our investigation, our phones have been ringing non-stop, with people sharing their horror stories about cars which, it is claimed, Mr Rudgley and other dealers sold with a catalogue of defects, some of them dangerous.
Last night, online car magazine Autotrader joined the growing chorus of concern and revealed to the Daily Echo it would be suspending Mr Rudgley’s account, pending an internal investigation into his activities.
Many customers had been drawn to the dealership using Autrotrader’s website, which currently lists cars sold at the Woolston showroom at the new showroom in Fareham.
Hampshire Police said it was not currently investigating but it would be waiting the outcome of Southampton City Council’s Trading Standards investigation before deciding on launching any criminal inquiry. A spokesman said: “We have been made aware of the dispute concerning some car buyers and the Woolston Car Supermarket which has now shut, but this is not currently a police matter and is being looked at by Trading Standards.”
Another dealer linked with Woolston Car Supermarket, Richard David John Burbage, who owes more than 11 million Australian dollars after the collapse of his firm down under, is another man customers have been trying to locate.
Mr Burbage has also been connected with a dealership called Hampshire Vehicle Sales, which was renamed as Woolston Car Supermarket last year. Despite numerous attempts to speak with him, Mr Burbage cannot be found. At an address believed to be his home last night, a Mercedes car and a Mini were sat on the driveway but nobody answered the door.
The Daily Echo has spoken to a man who goes by the name of “Dave” on a number provided by one of his customers, but he said Mr Burbage had left the country after falling out with Stan Rudgley. David is also one of Mr Burbage’s middle names. A man fitting the description of Mr Burbage was known as Dave Spearing.