FURIOUS customers have inundated the Daily Echo with complaints about a Hampshire car dealership that closed suddenly.
Another 20 people have contacted this newspaper since we published the results of our investigation into Woolston Car Supermarket in Southampton on Saturday.
They have complained of being sold defective vehicles that broke down and cost them hundreds of pounds to repair.
Many reported major faults with their vehicles – from a Peugeot 307 with a bonnet that would fly up if it went above 30mph, to a Toyota Celica that was not driveable due to an engine problem.
When some complainants were eventually given refund cheques, they were horrified to find that they bounced.
Southampton City Council Trading Standards is already investigating more than 20 complaints against the firm, which shut its Hazel Road site in Woolston without warning earlier this month.
The Daily Echo tracked down the company to its new base in Fareham, where it has reopened as Fort Wallington Car Sales.
With Daily Echo journalists on hand, angry customers confronted one of the men behind Woolston Car Supermarket – Stan Rudgley – and wrested a promise from him to reimburse them.
However there is another person heavily involved in the business.
Richard Burbage, below, who owes more than eleven million Australian dollars after the collapse of his car-trading firm Down Under, is another man who customers have tried, and so far failed, to get hold of.
Yet the Daily Echo may have spoken to him this weekend.
This newspaper called a number given to a former customer by Mr Burbage and spoke to a man who claimed he was called “Dave”, lived in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey and was a friend of Mr Burbage.
“Dave” claimed Mr Burbage had left the country a fortnight ago and was now living in a villa he owns in Marbella, Spain.
Later it emerged that several customers of Woolston Car Supermarket had dealt with a man calling himself “Dave” and believed to be Mr Burbage. David is also one of Mr Burbage’s middle names.
When the Daily Echo attempted to contact “Dave” again, his phone was switched off.
Over the weekend, the Daily Echo also called at an address in Botley given by several callers to this newspaper.
When our reporter knocked on the door no-one answered, although the lights were on and curtains had been drawn.
Mr Burbage was banned from being a company director in Australia for ten years, and left the country in 2012.
His firm We Buy Any Car, which is not linked to the UK company of the same name, collapsed with a liquidator’s report saying it owed more than £6 million.
Over the weekend Fort Wallington Car Sales, based at the Fort Wallington industrial estate in Fareham, was open for business as normal.
Mr Rudgley, below, was seen at the site while other members of staff showed a number of customers around the firm’s car warehouse.
Meanwhile, the registered address for Woolston Car Supermarket was recently changed to a site in Ducie Street, Manchester according to the website companiesintheuk.co.uk.
The website shows the address was changed from the Hazel Road site in Woolston on January 10.
Have you got a complaint against Woolston Car Supermarket? If so call Partrick Knox on 023 80424501 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org