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Woman suing towing company

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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.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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This happened to a friend

This happened to a friend years ago. Our solution...write a check and then stop payment. It cost 20 bucks but the arrogant tow truck owners did not get the bucks. Then you turn the table...are thay going to jump through all the hoops to collect. No way.

nice try

Yea, you can write a check because most tow companies were born last night. It is a cash only policy when picking up a towed away vehicle. Checks can be stopped, credit cards can be disputed. Cash is king.

Shea, I read your comment on the other board

You had better come up with an argument that is far more specific and gets to the point far quicker. Who gave you permission to park there? You'd better have a name, place, date, and time. Even that may not help you, because unless that person was somehow authorized by the landowner to give you that permission, you had no legal right to park there. It's legally the same as if I had been walking down the street and you said, "Sir, is it okay if I park here?" "Sure, sweety!" See? It means nothing. Drop all the junk about required signs - it is NOT a parking lot, and no signs are required. You likely won't get anywhere by arguing that it was a de facto parking lot, because the action taken by the owner (towing) argues against that very contention. I think that you're basically out-of-luck, and out $150. But always look for the silver lining. Think hard. There has to be SOME way this is your boyfriend's fault, and if you can stitch together a quasi-coherent argument, HE will pay the towing fee.

Get a life

What a bunch of bull. Blame everyone else for your stupidity. You part on someone else's land, they have your car towed (so would I) and then you blame the towing company. And talk about telling a one sided story. You failed to tell the part where you and your friend attempted to take your car by force damaging Kirby's fence and almost hitting the owner. Now you are going to sue someone else for your mistakes. You better hope Kirby sues you for damages and for defamation of character. Grow up and get over it.

I agree

I agree

towing in wilmington towing for dollars

towing for dollars in wilmington nc its friday night you just got off from work you fight the rush hour traffic to get home get changed when you see its almost 8 pm . you go out jump in the car go downtown you see a empty parking lot you pull in jump out come back and you have a 160.00 tow bill . thats not right the city of wilmington should do somthing about it . students from uncw they can not afford to pay this kind of money . i myself think that the city should make it mandatory that for the first hour you have to put a warning on the car then after two hours they give you a parking ticket then they eather boot the car or have it towed. and the price should be for the ticket 2o.oo if it is booted then you should have to pay 50.00. then if it is towed i feel you pay 75.00. if it is towed and dolled add 25.00 and make it mandatory that the tow company take a picture of the car being dolled before they can charge the dolly fee for any tow aways then some of the crooks will get out of the towing.

AMEN amen amen. I agree

AMEN amen amen. I agree whole heartedly. Lets do something about all this non sense!!!

"students from uncw they can

"students from uncw they can not afford to pay this kind of money " THEN students from uncw shouldn't leave their cars on other people's property. If you don't use a legal parking space to park that BMW that daddy bought you then don't complain when it gets towed away.

I honestly just wouldnt be

I honestly just wouldnt be the kind of person to accept that my calling in life, my way of living and providing for myself or family is by ruining peoples days or nights. Given that sometime tow trucks are useful for certain situations but to go into all of complexs and neighborhoods and tow people as sly as possible when there is not even a dilema involving it being too crowded with no spaces. I guess thats why im in college and tow truck drivers are out at night. I guess in life theres those that work unitelligent jobs because there not very smart and have to ruin peoples days. Those same people have their girlfriends sleeping around behind their back because they obviously cant be too intelligent and confident. but o well, Earl and your employees i feel for ya. get smarter

Sharp As A Bowling Ball, You Are!!!

I sit here reading the two pages of mostly "gripes" you people are commenting on & this stands out. The fact of the matter appears to be that ther are some tow companies that practice "vulcher style" of towing illegally parked vehicles. However, I personally feel that this type of towing is "Bad Business" in the long run, so I do not do towaways UNLESS law enforcment is involved. The bottom line is this... If you & the rest illegally parking citizens that claim to be so smart & educated that ignore signs, feel like you are above the posted rules & regulations set forth by the city, apartment complexes, property owners, etc... You wouldn't have been towed. We are providing a service, for the most part certified, trained operators that are paid to work in all types of condtions, long hours, respond to emergency situations at the drop of a hat, to get "YOU" out of the mess that you educated people get yourself into. Grow up & get some common sense. It takes alot smarter individual to properly tow your vehicle. The days of slinging one up are gone. It is far too easy to damage a vehicle with improper towing techniques. You educated folks that design everything on paper generally have NO CLUE to the real world applications. It's people like you that cause inflated insurance rates cause you drink too much, wreck your car or leave it where it shouldn't be. If you are sooooo inteligent, act like it. It's real easy...follow the rules, pay attention to your surroundings & you will not put yourself in situations that will cause you to pay for stupidity. Yeah, you are "Real Sharp". Oh, one last thing....If you screw up & law enforcment calls me, I WILL come take your vehicle, you WILL pay the regulated fees & you WILL pay in CASH with proper proof of ownership or you WILL not get your vehicle released to you. So, the next time you & your educated, above everyone else attitude, whinny people call us tow companies to come bail you out of your screw up, have enough sense to ask to see their credentials. If they can't produce them, call someone else. A respectable tow company that takes pride in having trained operators, providing good customer service & operates above the "vulcher Style Towers" practices will have no problem showing you. I keep my certification card in my wallet & my operators do too.

Oh Yeah

They're not intelligent enough to get a real job so they drive a tow truck. hahahaha

In college? Really?

You claim to be in college but you have made simple spelling and grammatical errors in your post. I'm thinking you are not as smart as you claim to be.

$$$$$$$$$$$$

You all have NO IDEA what TOW TRUCKS COST, THE REPAIRS, FUEL COSTS, INSURANCE, THE HOURS, and employee costs. You all complain that you can't afford a 160.00 tow bill, because you are a college student. Here is a hint, don't go out on the weekends to party, and you wont be towed. Learn to read the signs, they are all clearly marked. Maybe you should set the speeding ticket rates too, maybe the cops will let you do that.

Do you have any idea?

Do you have any idea what it costs to run a tow company? Lets start with almost $10,000 per year just to insure ONE small tow truck! Fuel that is over $4 a gallon, employee compensation that is higher than normal because of the risk involved with the job not to mention workers comp that can be as high as $20 per hundred payed out to the employee? When I started back in 1976 as a tower in Fremont CA, There was a company doing tows in town for $25. At that time, all the other companies were complaining because they were undercutting everyones prices. If you do a cost of living calculation on that amount, that same cut rate tow today would be well over $100 just to arrive on scene. Here in Colorado, those fees are dramatically higher than your state, and they should be. $150 for what is termed a "Non Consent Tow" is very reasonable indeed. In fact, I would go so far as to say the towing association in your state is not doing ENOUGH to protect their towers. They should be working hard to make sure they are paid a fair amount. Earning a reasonable profit under all the crushing legislation and regulation surrounding this type of towing is difficult at best. (PS, I am quite sure the fees this woman were charged were regulated by the state and the fees would be the exact same from any other tower in that area) There are always 2 sides to this kind of story. On one side, you always have the vocal majority, the car owner that thinks he or she has the right to park anywhere their car will fit and the other, less vocal minority, the property owners that are under assault everyday in this country from Mollocks like you! (look that up, you'll be surprised by its slang meaning). The ONLY defense is to have the right to remove any vehicle from their property at any time WITHOUT WARNING! In other words, if you park on their property without permission, you deserve to lose your car. Cub reporters, like the one that wrote this article, will always tell the side of the story that is the most sensationalistic. They only have one job. That's to sell newspapers. I needed to point that out just in case some of you lost sight of that fact. Oh, one more point, you useless comment thread litigator, These events happened on private property and the city cannot become involved with booting or ticketing anything on property that they don't own (ie, private property), they do not have that power. How would you like it if the city could come in and start ticketing you for sitting on the pot too long? (obviously reading your poopy legal briefs where you get all your legal knowledge)??? PS#2. I hope to GOD you are not a college student. If you are, we are all in trouble! That little post of yours is some of the worst English I have every witnessed! I have a 5 year old that can form a better sentence than you. I actually got a headache trying to read your entire post. If you want to be taken seriously in this world, I would recommend you take some remedial English language courses and maybe a couple sessions of Hooked On Phonics so we can all understand what you are actually trying to say.

towing in wilmington towing for dollars

Street parking spaces are free downtown after 6:30 pm. There are 3 parking decks that will not cost you more than $5 to park your car. Which might I add is cheaper than a tow bill. If you park in a parking lot that is not public parking you are subject to being towed. People who own property and pay taxes and maintenance fees for that property have the right to tow your vehicle without warning. Use the parking available to you by the City of Wilmington and stop your whining.

Uh, no. I live downtown and

Uh, no. I live downtown and fortunately for me I have off street parking. However, that doesn't stop people from trying to park in MY yard or right in front of my driveway. It's obvious there is a house there, this is not a parking lot, I shouldn't have to warn anyone about this. I don't know how many times I have called to have someones car moved from in front of my driveway or on my property. If I am at home and need to leave for an emergency and someones car is in my way, oh hell, towing would be the last thing they need to worry about. Your incoherent argument doesn't make sence in the first place. The city did not have these people towed, the owner of the land did, since they were parked on private property. If the student can't afford a $160 tow bill, then they can't afford a car. In the grand scheme of things $160 is a paltry amount compared to everything else you have to pay for the privledge of driving.

Towing

Looks like this woman gambled by parking where she did. Believe it or not people,there are STILL properties that are privately owned that the owners have control over other peoples right to use it or not. I dare say if it was MY private property, she probably would've had to call the Tow service herself. There are LOTS of objects that damage tires...rocks, metal,etc. that some property owners may not be aware of! If it ain't yours, stay the **** off it!

towing for dollars

towing for dollars in wilmington nc its friday night you just got off from work you fight the rush hour traffic to get home get changed when you see its almost 8 pm . you go out jump in the car go downtown you see a empty parking lot you pull in jump out come back and you have a 160.00 tow bill . thats not right the city of wilmington should do somthing about it . students from uncw they can not afford to pay this kind of money . i myself think that the city should make it mandatory that for the first hour you have to put a warning on the car then after two hours they give you a parking ticket then they eather boot the car or have it towed. and the price should be for the ticket 2o.oo if it is booted then you should have to pay 50.00. then if it is towed i feel you pay 75.00. if it is towed and dolled add 25.00 the law is as of right now in the city the most for the tow is 100.00 dolly fee is 35.00 and storage is 16.00 per day and they have to release your car when you call them if its at night they can charge you after hour fee of 25.00

* comment copied from previous news story *

Since there are so many comments as to whether or not I have the right to be upset over my car being towed I thought I would take the time to tell my side of the story - unedited by news reporters. First of all, I'd like to say that from the way the story is being reported, I'm not sure I would agree with me if I were an unbiased viewer. The reporters involved have all been very nice and very thorough, however I do not feel they have clearly explained my argument. Second, I am not trying to make myself look like a victim. I did not call the news station, they called me. I am happy to tell my story though, and I hope it helps other people to realize that they can stand up for themselves if they feel they are being jerked around. Third, I did not attempt to break my car out of the tow lot without paying my fines. There was an accident involving the fence at Kirby's, but I was not in the vehicle, nor did I have any intention of breaking my car out. I had been on the phone with the police and the owner of the towing company all morning and had given them all of my information, so obviously it would not have beneficial for me to get my car back illegally. Those things being said I would like to clear up why exactly I am upset with the towing companies. Prior to the lot being for sale, there was a sign that indicated the lot would be used for a future funeral home. A call was made to the number on the sign and permission was granted to park on the lot occasionally, as it was not being used for anything else in the meantime. It was assumed that the permission was granted by the owner. As of this point, I am unaware of who the actual owner is and what the relationship is between those involved. The morning I woke up and found my car had been towed, to the best of my knowledge my car was parked in a safe spot. When I found my car missing I approached the police officers that had been posted at the intersection of 4th and Brunswick and they told me that there were cars towed out of the lot by a gentleman that said he had LEASED the lot from the owner for the Azalea festival to charge for parking. I could not verify who this person was because there was not anybody there at that point and nobody showed up for a few hours - after I found my car. I was then told by the police that because they did not have the vehicle towed I had to call over 20 different towing companies to figure out who had it. At this point I was still upset because I believed I had permission to park there, and when I indicated that to the towing company they told me it was not their job to check whether or not the person calling actually owns the lot where the vehicles are being towed from. I regularly help organize festivals and know that if a vehicle is going to be towed the person leasing the lot MUST have a signed contract by the owner indicating permission to have vehicles removed. After speaking with 2 police officers and a sergeant I was informed that even if the owner had called to have my car towed, without having signs posted the towing company was subject to fines for 'trespass towing.' Trespass towing, as quoted from the municipal code pasted below is, according to these officers, a scam by local towing companies that they get away with because nobody ever fights them on it. From what I have been told, the police are aware of the problem, however, cannot do anything about it without complaints from those affected. A residential property that has a home occupying it does not qualify as trespass towing if the owner would like a vehicle removed, only a vacant lot. The section and article I am referring to are as follows: Sec. 5-121.2. Trespass towing of vehicles from private parking lots; signs required. (a) No vehicle, of any size or weight, shall be towed from a private parking lot for designated parking violations unless a sign is conspicuously posted and clearly visible at all vehicle and pedestrian entrances to the property. The sign shall be no smaller than four (4) square feet in area. The sign must clearly provide the following information. (...) (2) The telephone number of the person from whom a towed-away vehicle can be recovered. (...) (b) The posting of a sign is not required by the property owner or lessee of a family residence to remove a vehicle from the driveway, lawn or what is commonly understood to be the yard. The ordinance continues, but I included all pertinent information. I understand that the lot may not have been intended to be a private parking lot, however, I have lived in the building across the street for over a year and as long as I have lived there the lot was used as such. It was the assumption of myself, as well as many others, that this was the intended use and to this point there had been no indication to the contrary. Whether or not permission was directly granted, the owners must have been aware of this and had not made any attempt prior to this incident to inform the owners of the vehicles parked in the lot otherwise. If you have read this far, thank you for allowing me to speak my mind on the matter. Also, I would like to apologize to the family that does own the lot, whomever that is, for all of their trouble over this matter. Had I known they did not wish for vehicles to park there, I would not have. I was under the impression they were allowing the land to be used for that purpose to alleviate some of the parking problems the residents do have. There is currently minimal street parking and the lot located on the backside is $40 per month, per vehicle to park. With all of my frustrations towards the towing companies for blatantly ignoring a law that they were aware of, and that would have protected my vehicle, I never meant for the family to endure such difficulties - especially Ms. Davis.

There may be minimal street

There may be minimal street parking, but there is plenty of room in the many parking decks. And just calling the number on the sign and asking if it was ok is not good enough. You should have gotten the name and asked what they had to do with the property, did they own it, did their husband or wife own it were they leasing it by someone and if so get that contact info and make sure they are ok with it too. I honetsly think you just wanted a free easy access place to park. People need to learn when you go downtown to park in the places it is actually POSTED YOU CAN PARK!!! I am happy to see you sticking up for what you think, BUT I do not see you winning this. So many people these days sue for the smallest things. Its $150, that wont even cover your lawyers fee!

I have a couple problems

I have a couple problems with your story and "your side" of the matter. First and foremost is this: "It was assumed that the permission was granted by the owner." Never assume anything. If you were given permission under false pretenses, then your problem is with the person who said it was ok. That aside, you also apparently assumed that the "permission" was for an indefinite period and not revokable. This is your problem... no one else's. Secondly: "I understand that the lot may not have been intended to be a private parking lot, however, I have lived in the building across the street for over a year and as long as I have lived there the lot was used as such. It was the assumption of myself, as well as many others, that this was the intended use and to this point there had been no indication to the contrary." Again... you "assumed" that because others were parking there, it was ok for you to also. Come on... surely you are smarter than that! Thirdly, your interpretation of the following statute: "(a) No vehicle, of any size or weight, shall be towed from a private parking lot for designated parking violations unless a sign is conspicuously posted and clearly visible at all vehicle and pedestrian entrances to the property." The lot is a "vacant" lot, not a "private parking lot." You are assuming that being vacant means it's for parking. It's not. Granted, the land owner (or the guy he leased it to) was making the space available for this one time as parking space, but prior to you parking there, it was NOT a parking lot, had NOT been designated as such, and the fact is you were trespassing on private property illegally BEFORE the decision was made to utilize the space as a parking area. You don't get grandfathered in because you were there already! Bottom line: you had no business being there. You set yourself up for a situation in which you risked being towed. Suck it up and deal with it.

Guest of the week..... You

Guest of the week..... You must be the ahole who had the cars towed. I think her side makes complete sense.

to guest of the week

And you too must be an idiot that has had their vehicle towed, after your stupidity. Tow Trucks are not free, neither is all the insurance we have to have to tow your pieces of crap

its your lie and you can tell it like you want

go ahead and claim it was an accident it you want but the truth of the matter is entirely something else and you know it. your 'friend did try to remove the car WITHOUT paying and he DID almost hit the owner of the car lot. Any other story is a bunch of bull and you know it. If you really want to sue someone why not sue the person who called the tow company. The tow company simply did what they were asked to do.

LOL

You can cry all you want, sue all you want. It is going to be a waste of HER money. NOBODY can give you permission to be on their property EXCEPT the legally registered owner of the property or an agent of their property. Sounds like this was a relative that gave permission that was NEITHER. Her vehicle was towed LEGALLY. NOW...had the towing company broken the law, not stopped when you caught them towing it or damaged your vehicle...SUE...but there is NO basis for a lawsuit in this case...

Give it a rest

This lady needs to quite her crying. First of all, how can you sue the tow company that was called out to tow your vehicle? The owner of the property is the one that called to have the vehicles towed. If she is upset because she thought she had permission to park there, then she needs to civilly go after the person that told her she had permission to park there. This is nothing but a waste of her time.

Towing

She is wasting her time and money taking the towing company to court. If she would have gotten some advice from legal experts before making this stupid decision, she wouldn't be suing, and she would be looking like a fool on the news.

CITY ORDINANCE - tows from

CITY ORDINANCE - tows from private lots are $100!!!!

How much is a storage fee???

How much is a storage fee???

Storage Fee

I have seen storage rates from 30.00 per day, up to 60.00 per day. Most towing companies have these rates, so the owners of the vehicles move them out faster, and gives us room in our lots. Plus, there are such things like property tax, and that is quite expensive.