By Kurtis Ming

ELK GROVE (CBS13) — What toilet do you have? It’s a question Nafisa Neabkhail wishes she’d known to ask.

When Neabkhail and her family returned home after a vacation, they walked into a nightmare.

“I hear water everywhere,” said the wife and mother of three.

The house was flooding. Light fixtures rained onto the carpet below, the alarm was squealing, the ceilings peeling.

“As if this whole house is a waterfall. My whole rug was floating on the water” said Naebkhail.

The result was $190,000 in damage to the family’s Elk Grove home.

“You would never think something like this would happen. That flood is still running in my mind,” said Naebkhail.

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Her family of five was forced out of their home for more than five months, and their house has been torn down to the studs.

“They took out everything because of the water damage,” she said.

The flood was caused by a toilet in their second-story master bathroom. A steady stream of water poured through the crack in the tank of their Vortens toilet.

“No family deserves this,” Naebkhail said.

We’ve learned the same model is failing in homes across the country including California, Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

Texas resident Amy Etchberger says her Vortens model cracked in 2016.

“It was coming out and just dripping out the bottom. It’s a faulty product on their part, and I think they should take responsibility,”  Etchberger said.

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Anne Altz says her cracked Vortens toilet caused $20,000 in damage.

“They know they’re going to fail. “ said Altz.

The manufacturer has admitted “Some tanks made in 2011 with model numbers 3464 and 3412 may have been affected by technical issues that allegedly caused the fractures.”

Sure enough one of those numbers, 3464, is etched in Nafisa’s toilet tank, but the company never recalled them. Nafisa said no one even warned them of the problem; not the toilet manufacturer nor the builder who installed the toilet in 2012.

“That’s what we’re really, really upset about,” she said.

How many of these toilets remain in homes in Naebkhail’s neighborhood and in homes across America? Vortens would not say. The company tells us, “to date, all claims received have been addressed or are in the process of being addressed.” Vortens’ full statement is included below.

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After a class-action lawsuit, Vortens has agreed to pay up to $300 to replace the toilet and, if there’s flooding, up to $4,000 to help cover insurance deductibles.

“I just want it to be over,” Naebkhail said.

Nafisa’s insurance is covering the damage. Now living with relatives during the rebuild, she says this has turned her family’s lives upside down.

“I’m thinking after everything is fixed I’m putting the house back on the market,” she said.  “Because I cannot see myself living here anymore.”

The Naebkhails think it will be at least another month and a half before their house is done. They plan to sue over the inconvenience. After we reached out to the builder, Taylor Morrison, they sent letters to all homeowners in the Elk Grove, Franklin Crossings community. The letter, below, alerts homeowners to the issues with Vortens toilets and directs them to the class action settlement.

 “Oct 9, 2019

Dear Homeowners,

 It was recently brought to our attention that some homes in the [Franklin Crossings] community may have been built with a particular model of toilet tank manufactured by Vortens between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. The enclosed 10-page Notice was downloaded from the website link https://vortenssettlement.com/Content/Documents/Notice.pdf. The Notice provides a good explanation of the issue and what steps can be taken by affected homeowners. While Taylor Morrison has no involvement in the class action settlement, you may wish to inspect your toilet tank to see if it is one of the affected tanks, and if so, take the appropriate steps to address it.”

We asked Taylor Morrison how many of these toilets they installed across the county. They haven’t answered. Vortens statement, the models affected and a link to the settlement website are below.

Vortens complete statement: 

In the past, Vortens™ acknowledged that some of our tank models #3464 and #3412 manufactured in 2011 may have been affected by certain manufacturing issues.   

To date, all claims received have been addressed or are in the process of being addressed to the satisfaction of our customers.

Pursuant to a class action settlement being administered by a Texas court involving these tank models manufactured in 2011, we have established a program for certain remedies which include product replacement, reimbursement of certain costs, and in some cases, extended warranties.   For more details the claims that are covered, the remedies available, and the process for pursuing claims, please reference the claims website at: https://www.vortenssettlement.com

For other Vortens™ matters regarding issues not related to the settlement program mentioned above, customers may contact us directly at 866-821-2811 or via e-mail to claims@vortens.com.

Vortens™ is committed to generating value for its consumers and offering the best experience possible, as our customers are at the center of everything we do. Solving any complaints and receiving suggestions is a priority for us. For these purposes, we may be contacted at customerservices@vortens.com

 

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