Woman says Westway Towing damaged car, refused to pay for dealer to fix it

Woman says company initially offered for its own mechanics to repair car

By Layron Livingston - Reporter

SUNRISE, Fla. - It wasn't the most comforting of coincidences. Alicia Pinnock showed the "Leave it to Layron" team cellphone video she recorded showing a Westway Towing tow truck pulling an SUV.

"Why wouldn't you have gotten a flatbed to tow the vehicle instead of having somebody's vehicle swerving to and from?" Pinnock wondered.

The video shows the white Toyota SUV's rear wheels lifted, being towed at an angle. At times, the SUV appeared to cross the white lane-marker lines on the pavement.

"I'm like, 'This is not for real,'" Pinnock said.  

Pinnock happened upon the scene the same day she had to pay $126 to get her own car back from the Westway tow yard.  

She said her husband parked in a loading zone outside their apartment building and forgot to move the car. It was left there overnight, and the car was towed.

Pinnock said she and her husband went to Westway's tow yard the next day to get the car back.

"They were bringing it out, [and] I heard a squeaking sound, and I'm like, 'What is that?'" she recalled.

When she got into the car, a number of different warning lights and messages were lit up across her instrument panel.

"I saw all of this lit up on the thing, but my car was not like that before," Pinnock said. 

Pinnock recorded another video on her cellphone showing a Westway towing employee under the hood of her car, trying to troubleshoot the issue.

She'd later take her 2017 Toyota to her dealer, where she paid $100 for a diagnostic. The report uncovered a nearly $1,500 problem with the hub bearing.

"I have two young children. How can I be comfortable driving around with my children in it like that?" Pinnock said. 

Pinnock took the dealer's report and estimate back to Westway. She also filled out an incident report.

But when the tow yard saw how much the dealer's estimate was, "They said they were not going to pay this to fix it," Pinnock said. 

Pinnock instead was given a letter from the tow company stating their mechanics would repair the damage.

"I said, 'No,'" Pinnock said. "You didn't handle it in a very comforting manner before, so why would I trust you to handle it even better now? I don't want that."

"As you know, towing companies have reputations, and that's why I try to go above and beyond and take care of these complaints and do the right thing by the people," said Brett Holcombe, who started Westway Towing 27 years ago.

The LITL team showed Holcombe the video Pinnock recorded, showing one of his tow trucks pulling the white SUV.

"When you have a vehicle that's inoperative, sometimes this is what you have to do," he said.  "There's nothing dangerous about this at all."

Holcombe was also skeptical. He said it's unlikely that the damage done to Pinnock's car was caused by one of his trucks. He admits the company offered to repair the damage, but felt the dealer estimate of $1,493 was a bit steep.

Holcombe said his certified mechanics use dealer parts. He showed us a spreadsheet showing more than $36,000 expended so far this year to make customers happy.

"I want to do the right thing," Holcombe repeated. "I believe the right thing is letting my mechanic repair it, but if we can't get to that conclusion, I'll be OK with having the dealer repair it."

Copyright 2018 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.