Right now I'm dealing with a warranty situation with my Otterbox Defender case, which started breaking the first month I had it on my new iPhone 4s.
I was in the first round of buyers to receive a 4s, and I was so paranoid about damaging it that I kept it wrapped in bubble wrap until I purchased my case at a local Wal-Mart. I needed a case immediately, thus my choice of store.
There were only 3 color choices available: all black, pink and black, and blue and black. I chose pink, because believe it or not, I am the girly-girl type. Ruffles and ribbons don't flatter me, however. :(. I guess I'm just not anorexic looking.
First the belt clip broke. (first week)
Next it was the upper right corner when I was gently removing the case with my fingers to put my phone in an arm band while I ran. It just crumbled in my fingers. (first month)
Then a side latch broke off.
Next the back panel cracked.
After that about half an inch of the cracked back just came off, leaving my bottom port unprotected.
I'm gentle with my phone - it cost a lot of money and I depend upon it. I'm not the type who drops phones in the toilet. Too paranoid to let it happen.
At Best Buy some young ladies encouraged me to go to the Otterbox website and they would honor my warranty. The company is lauded all over the Internet for the quality of their customer service.
All this time I hadn't thought they would honor the warranty without the original box and receipt. I filled out their web-form, which asked what color choice I wanted to replace mine with. I would have gotten the same color I bought, to be fair, but it wasn't listed as a choice. So I picked the closest to it, which was a pink and plum combination.
The next day I received an email requiring very specific photos of my broke product, showing my name, the current date, the very obvious damage to the case, and the logo embossed on the silicone wrap for the case. I took the photos required and returned them per their specifications the same business day.
Today I received an email saying they were shipping my replacement and that the matter is resolved. When I opened the PDF they sent, I discovered that they are replacing my pink and black Defender case with a cheaper Commuter case in "envy green and gunmetal grey".
Envy, as in, "Aren't you envious of people not being forced to accept a lower quality replacement in the least popular colors available?"
The Defender series comes with the belt clip, which I obviously have, shown in the photos. Not the Commuter series, according to their own website. Obviously, mine is a Defender case. I wonder if the Commuter case even fits into the belt clip securely.
Cost differences: the Defender case costs $49.95, plus 10% sales tax - the price I paid. (Yes, our sales tax really IS that high here.)
The Commuter case : $34.95, plus the same amount of sales tax.
Now, I did have the choice of buying a cheaper case and not protecting my screen, but the one small screen scratch I had on my iPhone 3GS (withOUT a case most of its 2 1/2 year life with me, mind you - do I destroy phones?) drove me nuts and I vowed to always protect the screen after that.
If I wanted their cheaper case I would have bought it in the first place. I bought the more expensive one with the assurance it would protect my phone.
What's on my iPad? A Griffin case. It's heavy and bulky, but after 3 months, nothing has broken off. I'm really glad I didn't trust it to an Otterbox.
I really regret not buying a Lifeproof case. When our new Verizon store opens, maybe they will have something that will actually protect my phone.
(Personal info in the screen shots and photos blurred to protect my privacy, but please feel free to share if you hate bait and switch tactics perpetrated by companies like these. )