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Woman suing towing company

WILMINGTON -- There are more details about a towing controversy in Wilmington. A woman who claims she was towed illegally plans to do something about it. Shea McCombs's car was towed from a vacant grass lot on North Fourth Street in Wilmington, a place she claims she had permission to park. It cost her $150 to get her car back. Now she's taking the towing company to court. A local attorney tells us getting her money back won't be easy; McCombs will have to prove there wasn't probable cause to tow, and even if the judge rules in her favor, the towing company can still appeal. The process can be time consuming. McCombs said, "They make their money based on the fact that people won't go after them. They won't spend the time, they won't spend the money to go after them to get their money back. And if people actually spend the money to go after them, then they're going to have to kind of pay the consequences, I guess." Kirby's Towing Company on Castle St. towed McCombs's car. The owner of the company would not comment. Part of the confusion was the question of whether the spot where she chose to park is even considered a parking lot.

City Attorney investigates

At NewsChannel 3's request City Attorney Tom Pollard visited the lot Tuesday. He says the owner of the property had no legal obligation to post no parking signs before towing cars off the property. Pollard said, "It is just a commercial lot in a vacant area. It's got a 'for sale' sign on it and there's not indication that it's been intended to be used as a parking lot and in that context the ordinance doesn't apply to it." As to the dispute as to whether the towed driver had permission to be there, Pollard says that is a civil matter and the city doesn't get involved in those types of disputes.

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After 8 hours and calming down a lot... I spoke to Mr. Earl. I expressed my concern for safety and he waived my charges... I'm an very impressed with his customer service... Thank you Earl


I just had my vehicle towed. I stopped the driver by running through the lot. My truck was in an unmarked space at a place called campus edge for about 45 minutes. The driver wouldn't stop, he just said it would cost me 100 to get it back. I had to yell ' where are you taking it'. This kid left me stranded in what I found out to be highly active in not so good activities. Stranded....he has my truck, wallet, and phone. It was midnight. I was trying to get a person from the sports bar home safely after the Dallas game. Here I sit, still stranded st a strangers table, waiting to get my truck back. I am appalled that this kid would jeopardize my safety for any reason. I live 25 miles away in Winnabow!! Needless to say I haven't slept a minurte sitting here. This business is WRONG AND UNETHICAL!!!

earl's towing

Rude unprofessional business, Mr Pollard I have read some of these complaints, the city doesn't get involved with civil matters, so i assume you allow renegades like Earl Hewett to do as he pleases with no laws to follow, My daughter was hit by a drunk driver this morning, thank the lord all driver's and passengers are safe, my daughter is in neck and back pain due to flipping 2 or more times. thanks the lord again my baby wasn't in back in car seat, the roof would have hit his head. I went to the I earl's towing to get her proscription card and car sea. two people in office, my truck was in unlocked gate with personal items inside doors unlocked and ignition key left in and turn on. When I ask to retrieve our belongings I was told no, as I watch her sit behind desk a gentlemen paid for his sv while the other attendant retrieved his car, so, I asked to pay the tow charge so i could retrieve my daughter's prescription card, she was in pain and needed it filled. but this also was a laughing matter they seem to enjoy. I was mocked and my attempt to have our Wilmington police department to help me Had Only Your remark as well BECAUSE WE ALLOW EARL'S TOWING TO PLAY GAMES And BREAK THE LAW .AND you want to say it civil, why would our officials that we elect allow a business that has had so many same complaints to continue.

unbelievable costs for what? and why?

Ok, so heres friday, and its movie night for the locals. I simply came to town to make a deposit with my grandson and walked around the block to slow, stopped to one of the local places to buy a coffee to support local business. Well it cost me instead. I had my car towed. My cell phone and diaper bag in car. I had to walk two blocks with grandson, no stroller, pay 150.oof to police dept. why? oh there contract with tow compy and city of los altos, pay the tow company 371.00 for keeping my car at their garage for 1 1/2 hrs. not overnite mind you. $100.00 just for entering their fence is what the clerk says, its after hours. It was 7:00 and not more than 7:30p did we stay there. This is robbery if you ask me and anyone else. This is legal robbery. I don't understand. First time anything and I get socked with this ridiculous amount. I could see maybe 150.oo but 500.00 for movie night. Please help me understand this and get some of my money back. Its not like I came here illegally or took money from anyone. I am an honest citizen who works hard for a living and always believes in doing the right thing. Im not sure it pays off anymore, Im almost unsure of what that means anymore.

The towing company has every

The towing company has every right to trespass the car. The property owner signs a contract with the towing company to remove cars that meet trespassing qualifications. This lady may have gotten away before with parking there before, she got caught pay up and deal with it!

I didn't do nutin' wrong

Poor clueless little chic.......whatever!


Boy, people are nicer when we do repos they only use guns

Turn the tables

I think I'm going to start a towing company that tows tow-trucks. Then, when their trucks that I've stolen are in my locked fence, I can charge them $800/piece for them. I despise tow companies with a passion. Nothing like having your car towed with no idea if someone stole your car, or if some money-hungry company is rolling through random apartment parking lots seeing dollar signs. Most of the tows in this area are from places where no call is really made to a towing company, they just say private parking, and if you don't have a sticker, the company assumes they should be able to profit from you.

Reply to "Turn the tables"

Ok, I think Im going to park on your front lawn for a few minutes while I run into the local store. How would you like that? Im guessing you would be just fine with it and not call a tow truck.

turn it back

So genius, how are you going to get your broken down car off the road? You and bubba going to get a chain and hook bumpers? You sound like a guy that has been towed away.


Next time you find your car missing, first call the police department and check if there is a record of it being towed. Then go to the bank, get a wad of cash and pay for your parking lesson.

I'm not sticking up for this

I'm not sticking up for this girl but concerning towing, A lot of these local towing companies are very unethical. They tow cars at the drop of a dime with little or no questions asked. If you ask me some of these apartment complexes are getting kick backs from the towing companies to have exclusive rights to pillage and plunder their parking lots. Back in college Earls was making a killing towing everything in sight in the apartment campuses around campus. Cash only business usually only means deceipt on taxes I promise you.


hey genius i guess the new hanover county courts is also hiding from taxes as well huh? they dont accept personal checks or credit cards! they do have a atm machine that charges you three bucks to pull out CASH for them! lmao some of you really have no clue! you park where your not supposed to be you get towed how about read the signs and see that it says no parking!!! im shocked and appaulded at how many people just ignore them or think it doesnt apply to them! here is the worst part of it! the parking at apartments is for residents if they didnt provide some type of patrol in their lots there would be no safe places for your daughters/wives/mothers to park. towing is inplace to protect the resident and NEWS FLASH its private property heres your sign! tow companies are asked to tow by the apartments managment! they cant just roll up in there and take a car! get a clue get some facts! get a grip you got caught have a nice day now

Comment for "I'm not sticking up for this"

The reason for cash only is not to hide from taxes my friend, it is so that you can't deny charges on your credit card or cancel your check after you leave. I am the owner of a towing company, and we tow vehicles based on the property owners wishes, if you park illegally that's on you, why should we have to suffer with "declined" charges because of your screw up. There are signs clearly posted & if you don't see them, your car will be towed, and chances are next time, you will be more cautious where you park.

When I was a security guard

When I was a security guard the tow truck drivers would give us $10 f0r every car we called them to tow. $10 x 3 per night = $210 per week. Tax free

Sorry, Genius

No, there is no money changing hands. When we find a vehicle illegally parked in an apartment complex, we HAVE to call the corresponding police department or the New Hanover County Sheriff's department and have them come out and cite the improperly parked vehicle before the vehicle can be towed.

Really, then explain why the

Really, then explain why the only time in my life I was towed, was when I was visiting a friend in an aprtment complex..the police not sheriff;s dept was notified, they just left my tag number & type of car it was on a not on the apartment office door.

I wasn't cited & the authorities had no idea my car had been towed!! I also had a parking pass in my windshield as I was supposed to have to be parked there IN PLAIN SIGHT!. The towing company didn't car & I had to pay regardless to get my car back..I should have sued but since the apartment complex refunded my money to me I let it go. But, my experience proves that they were only looking for resident stickers, they didn't care about the guest passes, which gave me the right to park there!!!

not true

As someone who lives in an apartment near UNCW's campus I have witnessed first hand how these tow truck drivers park (illegally, blocking spaces of the residents who paid to park there) and walk around with flashlights checking cars. Now I like having a space to park in my own building, and I'm glad some Joe-blow off the street can't take my spot, but when my room-mate's car is missing, and just happens to turn up in a tow truck lot with the parking pass stuffed under the seat (where she wouldn't leave it, come on, she didn't want to get towed duh) I have to wonder what kind of crooked operation they are running.

no cash is the only thing

no cash is the only thing that YOU can trust. you can despt everthing but with cash you cant. you can't read where you can park how can anyone trust that you can read your bank statement. so i konw when i got my car towed I got a paper telling me how much and you they are its called a bill of sales... IN GOD WE TRUST

Bob,you sound like an idiot.

Bob,you sound like an idiot.

towing crooks in wilmington nc the city is behind it

towing is crazy people cry that they have no where to park down town its true all the trouble down there the bars etc.. a long time ago you did not go downtown to get drunk you went downtown to eat and to shop whats going on people . you see back then you went down town you put 25 cents in the meter and you got an hour to do what ever now the city police and the sherrif dept are being sued over things that they do wrong and the people pay for it. the parking decks they are not safe at night for the ladys. it does not mater who you are towing bills are way out of hand the city needs to do something about it . the mayor owns holton place he only gives two parking spotsfor a three bedroom unit.forest hills reserve each unit only has one and a half spots for each unit .mill creek does not have enough parking spots ,clear run, campus edge nobody has parking spots best buy if you car is left there after mid night earls tows them they will put a car there as a decoy so people will park there then tow them. the person who manages campus edge is also half owner of earls wecker service whats up with that.people can not afford to be towed with the high price of 160.00. the tow companys only take cash maybe the irs should look into this maybe thats how they pay there people cash for working there. think about it people its not right to be over chargedfor bullshi#.the city should do something


The reason tow companys only take cash now is because so many people were writing checks and then cancelling the check before it cleared. As for the "accidently ramming the vehicle into the fence" they told kirbys that they would tear the fence down and take the car before they paid a dime for the fees. SHe is making herself look real stpid for taking a towing company to court over them doing their job. It was not her property to park on and therefore she needs to grow and be a woman and learn from her stupidity. Take responsibility for your own action and quit blaming everyone else!!!!!


First, she is most likely wrong for assuming. But at least she's trying to stick up for herself. Second, when did Wilmington become as cesspool of tow-trucker loving, belligerent, redneck a holes? Everyone knows that most of the tow-truck companies in this town drive around jumping the gun at the chance to tow anyone and I've seen way too many cases of wrongful tows. With just a few phone calls I could probably have a fleet of tow truck drivers clear an entire apartment complex of cars in about 30 minutes. Do they ever stop to see if what they're doing is legal/ethical/necessary? They might as well be roving bandits carjacking people at random. At least I would have more respect if they took my money at gun point rather than holding my vehicle for ransom. Third, this article is usual brainless journalism at it's worst. There is about as much detail in the writing of this story as one might find in a Little Golden book.

Amen, I hope she looses and

Amen, I hope she looses and spends all her hard earned money in court! People just kill me thinking they can just pull up on a patch of grass and park.

Go for it Shea !!

Hey "gohaveasteak", Sounds to me like you have a personal issue with Shea, why don't you eat some veggies and unplug yourself. And let's get the facts straight, she parked on a "lot", not someone's backyard, not a fenced in area, not a driveway, but a vacant lot where many others have parked for over a year now. They all assumed they had permission, and let's face it, when someone says you can park somewhere, do you really ask for their credentials to make sure they have permission to give. Give me a break!! Towing companies are notorious for towing without the land owners permission, maybe it happened in this case, maybe not. But whether she wins or not, at least she's got enough guts to try to stand up for herself while the rest of you losers sit at your computers and judge.


I agree. If it's not your lot...why do you care where she parks. Oh I are the towing co and that is how you make your of others hard working money while you sit on your fat dunkin-do-nut and do nothing but tow tow tow.

It was done to me and I found out they have to answer to no one and they can charge whatever they want to. No one to answer to and I think it is time for them to be held accountable and get a real job and stop living off of all of us hard working people!

If anyone would like to start something to make them accountable...let's do it!

the price

Your statement of:They all assumed they had permission assume= make an ass out of u & me.

Towing and smoking

Well, the owner of the property that was trespassed on is in the right. The towing company was doing their job (unfairly priced though). And this lady was real lucky she wasn't charged with littering when she dumped her ashtray onto the "vacant" lot when she parked there. She assumed it was OK, bwahahahaha, NOT! Never assume anything, it will be either expensive or ugly, maybe both.

I'm with Shea on this one.

I'm with Shea on this one. I think the man that called the towing company and the towing company are in the wrong. The 'vacant lot' by default should be considered a parking lot because that is how it was used for over a year. Also, the man that leased the lot was using it as a parking lot during the Azalea Parade. I believe the law is in Shea's favor, so I say take it to court.

She will spend more money in

She will spend more money in legal fees and court costs then the towing fine itself and more than likely will lose. Move on and consider it a lesson learned.