A CONTROVERSIAL car dealer has broken his promise to refund customers or make amends for faulty cars they bought from him.

Stan Rudgley kept them waiting for four hours before reading a prepared statement when he finally turned up and leaving after just five minutes.

Furious customers called his actions a disgrace after they were forced to wait around for four hours in a cold showroom.

When he did finally turn up he stayed for just minutes to deliver his statement before disappearing without a word to those left waiting.

Last week the Daily Echo accompanied angry customers, who confronted 30-year-old Mr Rudgley, director of the former Woolston Car Supermarket in Southampton, and wrested a promise that monies would be repaid.

It followed a Daily Echo investigation into the dealership, which closed suddenly earlier this month.

Mr Rudgley has since opened a new business called Fort Wallington Car Sales in Fareham.

However, Mr Rudgley only called at his business briefly yesterday to make a statement, saying he had been reading with “rising anxiety” reports about himself, his business and associates. He added: “This has caused me great personal stress and financial difficulty. I do not believe I should be blamed for poor service provided by a previous business of which I was not in control.

“I have made endeavours to speak to and offer assistance to anyone who has made a legitimate complaint since the inception of my business in November last year.”

He added that he did not wish to say any more at this stage and that he was seeking legal advice on his company’s behalf before quickly leaving the building and driving off in his black Volvo S40.

But the customers left in his offices were not impressed. Dad Chris Blake, 34, from Bassett in Southampton, who had arrived expecting to be refunded £1,695 for a car found later to have potentially risked the life of his pregnant wife, said he was furious.

He said: “When he was in the room he was there for one minute and wouldn’t even look at us. I don’t know where to go from here. Are trading standards going to help us out?”

After finding out that the company had closed its Hazel Road site Mr Blake found his car left around the corner.

A garage later said it would cost more to repair and that the bonnet could fly up at any moment when driven.

Daily Echo:

Furious customers wait to speak to Mr Rudgley

Mum Karen Knowlton, from Marchwood, who was sold a car that she found later to have been written off in an insurance claim by a previous owner, said: “He’s caused me a lot of stress. For him to come in here and play the “poor me” act is disgusting.”

Mike Wiley, 24, from Hedge End, was one of the lucky ones. He had bought a Toyota Celicia that later proved to have engine problems.

But while he managed to take home his traded-in Volvo he still left without £500 he claimed was still owing to him.

He said: “It’s a disgrace. He wouldn’t man up to something he’s caused and people with money he owes.”

Trading standards officers at Southampton City Council are currently investigating more than 40 cases relating to Woolston Car Supermarket, which include faulty and dangerous cars and refund cheques which were not honoured.

More furious customers have contacted the Daily Echo with their complaints about the firm.

Stan Rudgley is not the only man customers of Woolston Car Supermarket want to talk to.

As revealed by the Daily Echo, Richard David John Burbage has been connected to the company along with other firms that occupied the same site in Hazel Road.

The 40-year-old businessman owes more than 11 million Australian dollars to hundreds of people after the demise of his firm, We Buy Any Car, in Australia, which copied the name of the successful British online car seller but has no connection to that firm.

The dad of three jetted back to his native UK and the New South Wales authorities banned him from being a director for ten years.

After repeated attempts by the Daily Echo to contact him, Mr Burbage broke his silence.

He said he had suddenly left Australia because he was receiving death threats from angry customers and denied responsibility for the collapse of his dealership empire.

Footage obtained by the Daily Echo clearly shows Mr Burbage behind a desk next to the man officially registered as director, Stan Rudgley. Both are shown threatening a customer wanting a refund.

Mr Burbage claimed he felt intimidated himself. He also denied he was ever a partner of Mr Rudgley and that he had broken ties with him for “personal reasons”.