Vortens Toilet Tanks

Last year, we announced that Vortens was having problems with their toilet tanks and as a result, home and business owners were experiencing cracking and subsequent water damage. Recently we heard from two owners who had encountered the defective tanks. A photo of a cracked tank is shown below. The fact that we heard from two owners confirms that defective tanks are still in use and consumers want to know what to do. If your property is insured, contact your carrier as soon as possible, take pictures of all damage including the failed tank pieces. If you start cleaning up, do not discard anything. It is especially important to save all of the pieces of the tank; your carrier’s adjuster or investigator will want to take possession of all evidence. Be sure to make notes of all phone calls, meetings, and happenings that take place in regard to repairing your property. The notes will come in handy if you have to go to court and testify against the manufacturer. On the other hand if you are not insured, you can try to file a claim with the manufacturer directly. If that doesn’t work, you can try and find an attorney who will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That is, the attorney will work on your case and will be paid only if you collect anything. Typically, attorneys working on a contingency fee basis will take 33% of what ever is awarded.

Cracked Vortens Toilet Tank

Cracked Vortens Toilet Tank


Is Technology Changing Too Fast?

I just finished reading an article about how in the not to distant future we will have autonomous vehicles. That is to say that cars and trucks will drive themselves. The article, published by the Society of Automotive Engineers, went on to predict that autonomous vehicles would be available by the year 2020, only seven years from now. As a forensic engineer that investigates vehicular accidents, I can’t help but wonder what is going to fail that will cause these vehicles to crash. And something will FAIL. Will it be a software glitch or will some system that is supposed to detect danger miss a cue? History is littered with examples of engineering failures that have caused massive amounts of property damage as well as countless numbers of lives. Imagine traveling at some high speed and smashing into another vehicle because your vehicle, NOT YOU, failed to apply the brakes. The point to be made is that manufacturers, regardless of the industry, are all too eager to be the first to get a new product on the market. When the public starts buying the product, it’s not until then that we find out that the product has problems that have not been eliminated. What products am I talking about? Just think phones, computers, appliances, and yes, cars. I’m sure something will come to mind. Is technology changing too fast? Yes, I think so. As long as manufacturers rush to get their products to market before they are ready, we, the consumers, are going to be paying the price. As a result, I also think that those same manufacturers should be held responsible for property damage and personal injury if their products fail to perform as advertised.

More Recalls?

Whatever happened to the days when recalls were something you never heard about? remember when cars and appliances were built to last and not hurt anyone or anything? Remember when a manufacturer was disgraced if they built a bad product? Those days are long gone and have been for a long time. Those of us that grew up in the 50s and 60s can remember those times. But, those born in the late 60s and afterward do not know a time when american products and quality have NOT been in question. Recalls are part of life. Just take a look at NHTSA’s website or the website of the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Both are filled with problems that plague products, manufacturers, and  consumers. So what’s the answer? The answer is that we have known what the answer is for a long time. A lot of lessons were learned about quality during the 1970s. We know how to build good products. But, building good products doesn’t put people to work. Selling products puts people to work and keeps them working. Building good products keeps them in use for long periods of time. So, if something lasts, sales will be lower than if the product lifetime is shorter. Shorter lifetimes equates to a demand for more products. More products means faster production rates. Faster production means poor quality. Poor quality means more recalls. A vicious cycle?

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