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Fischer Panda Generators - Dangerous Defects
This is an excerpt from a letter written (June 2004) to Anthony Rushton, President of Fischer Panda
As you are aware, I have had numerous problems with my generator (Fischer-Panda Model 4000DVS) since day one and have logged not less than 60 telephone calls to your service department over the last four years, including personal trips to your facility. During this time I have acted in good faith and showed an enormous amount of restraint in accepting increasing costs, abuses and frustrations as a result of your defective product and poor support. This generator was installed new in a new sailboat (Island Packet 45) by your authorized representative, strictly following your technical recommendations.
One of the most frustrating occurred for the first 18 months or so of ownership, where we just could not keep the generator running more than a few hours at a time. I spoke with many of your employees such as Paulo Oliveira, Bob Gruber and others. I ended up replacing a number of components at their suggestion with no success. After two years of frustration, I decided to remove the head and valves to inspect further (at my expense, as was all the labor). Upon removal it became evident the head had a crack. When inspected closely the crack showed that it was due to manufacturing defects showing poor material flow in the casting. When I confronted your people with this evidence they admitted then (and only then) that yes, “Panda was aware that there was a batch of bad castings for those models…” They did at that time offer to supply all the required parts which I picked up in person. After nearly two years of being subjected to many tribulations and frustrations your people finally admitted to this problem which was known all along. The concealment of this type of information is reprehensible and crosses the boundaries of fraud as the unit was well within its original express warranty period (Ref. UCC, Song Beverly and Mag Moss).
This is just one example of many that illustrates a pattern of cover-ups by your company for a known defective product. In all the instances, whenever any problem surfaced, the attitude of your service department was one of giving me or my mechanics the runaround every time we called, trying to blame the problem on outside influences and comments to the effect of "never having seen that problem before…”. To date, the generator has never provided with more than two consecutive days of trouble free operation despite having been maintained with the utmost care and attention. Even for the times the unit ran, its output has not exceeded 15 amps without blowing a lot of smoke and soot.
The latest problem and one that really reached my limits of patience was when my 3½ year-old daughter became violently ill during a recent trip. She started unexpectedly to feel dizzy and vomit during the night. The symptoms were somewhat relieved during the day while she sat outside but came back the next night. After investigation, we discovered that the generator, which ran at night, was leaking exhaust fumes through a small crack in the exhaust elbow casting. This crack has all the indications of another bad casting and/or a design defect. No warning or any alarm was detected from the generator (unless you consider my daughter’s exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning and the subsequent violent health reaction as its “warning”). Luckily we expect her to recover after prompt medical attention and her physician’s recommendations, but, at this time, we worry about any latent, undetected, or potential problems that may surface in the future. On a previous occasion recently, two adult guests had complained of headaches and dizziness during the night but which cleared the next day and we assumed was due to the boat’s natural movements at anchor.
I related this last problem to your Service Manager, Mark Yerek on May 31st. Mr. Yerek indicated that he would get back to me. It was not until June 7th that I was able to reach him again, after several tries, during which time he played down the health effects of my daughter’s exposure, stating that they were: “inconsequential due to our research and tests that shows the emissions are insignificant” as well as refused to assist in any significant manner. Mr. Yerek’s comments provided a level of knowledge of 1) your company is aware of previous defects involving leaks of carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes, 2) your company has not taken any steps to correct these defects in your products. Mr. Yerek’s attitude and disregard for the seriousness of the matter prompted the preparation of the attached lawsuit.
As there is quite a number of customers with similar problems, we are investigating the options of filing a class action on behalf of all the owners of these generators.