I finally heard from Altec Lansing. Sandy informed me that, and I quote:
"the speakers are ultrasonically sealed during manufacturing once you open it you take a chance in damaging the drivers in side and compromising the sound quality".
Not only does this company produce a lousy product, they want you to throw them away when the volume control acts up (in my case months after buying them, when the problem started!)
My lesson from this and advice to anyone reading this is, stay away from Altec Lansing computer speakers. If the volume control cannot be maintained, Altec Lansing = JUNK.