OtterBox Replaces iPhone Case With No Questions, Amazes Customer

Andrew’s OtterBox Defender case (not pictured) for his iPhone 3Gs protects his phone tirelessly, but it’s seen better days. After using it for about a year, he noticed some ordinary wear problems with the case, including a missing headphone jack flap. When he contacted the company about their warranty requirements, they simply turned around and shipped him a new case.

I’m an iPhone 3GS owner, and from day one my iPhone has been in an OtterBox Defender case. The OtterBox has protected my phone from brutal damage countless times. The poor thing knows what it’s like to be dropped down a flight of stairs. More than once.

I use my phone a lot, as I would assume most iPhone 3GS users would. Because of this, the case has developed some problems. It’s still fully functional, and continues to do an excellent job protecting my iPhone. The problem is only with the flap that covers the headphone jack, it tore off from being opened and closed so many times. To be completely honest, it’s mostly a cosmetic issue. The phone is still very well protected.

Anyway, I purchased my iPhone (and OtterBox) just a few weeks less than 12 months ago. When I noticed the OtterBox beginning to wear, I looked online for OtterBox’s warranty policy. I was expecting them to require original proof of purchase, require me to pay for shipping, etc.

Nope! I emailed them at customerservice@otterbox.com and a sales representative simply asked for my shipping information. There was no jumping through hoops. They just asked for my mailing address. They didn’t even ask for the old case back! No one does that. With any other warranty claim it’s like trying to pull teeth.

A few days later (today), I found a brand new OtterBox (in full retail packaging) in the mail. Needless to say, I’m very pleased with my purchase almost 12 months ago. I’m also very, very proud of OtterBox for standing behind their products. If you’ve ever wondered why someone would pay for a $50 mobile phone case, this is why.

If I ever need another mobile phone case, I’ll definitely be purchasing it from OtterBox. They’re quite amazing.

Comments

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  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Huzzah! A company that doesn’t try to weasel* out of its warranty policy! Now someone can come along and ruin it for everyone else, as inevitably happens.

    (*forgive the pun)

  2. iambeaker41 says:

    I love my otterbox. It has protected my iphone through countless number of abuses.

  3. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    My buddy does security for a phone store, and last time he was in, the owner told him to take whatever he wanted from this box of old, discontinued, or outdated merchandise. He snagged a nice Otter Box case for my 3GS and said that the box was pretty much full of those cases. Interesting that the store would have pulled them as they are still retailing online for $50 a piece.

  4. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Otterbox did the same thing for me. The rubber flap that protects the dataport came off on mine. I emailed them asking how I could go about buying a replacement rubber outer layer and they sent me a new one.

  5. Kevin says:

    I sent in a tip about Otterbox previously. I bought a 4th gen iPod Nano in January of 09. I had read about the Otterbox products and at that time they were doing pre-orders for a waterproof case for my Nano. It became available 3 or 4 months later and it was fantastic. After about a year of the abuse of it being on my belt throughout the day at work, I broke the belt clip. I called them to ask if I could order a replacement part. Unfortunately parts weren’t available and the case had been discontinued.

    The customer service rep didn’t stop there though. They still had a few bundles that included that case, an arm band and waterproof headphones. She shipped me the full kit free of charge. I couldn’t believe it!

    If you’re a regular reader of Consumerist, you know how hard it is to get some companies to honor their own warranties. To find a company ready to bend over backwards for their customers like Otterbox did is truly remarkable. Any Otterbox product is money well spent!

  6. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    I have an Otterbox for my 1st gen iPod Shuffle, my 2nd gen iPod Touch, and also for my Zippo lighter(s), should I choose to take them with me in my carry on. Great products.

  7. tutting4 says:

    otterbox is amazing. They delayed a shipment to me because of a computer error and sent me a 15 dollar off coupon and free shipping.

  8. framitz says:

    Pennies to make and replace, so it makes good business sense for word of mouth advertising and customer retention to replace the item at no cost to the user.

  9. brianisthegreatest says:

    I have an iPhone 3gs with an otterbox defender case as well. It’s a very good case. I bought it from the cell phone store that I got my iPhone in, in the same transaction. It’s been through hell, and that’s what I needed it to do. I haven’t had to speak with their customer service, so I can only add by saying their cases are worth it, given you get the right one you’ll need.

    I did take it off a few weeks ago, right before my phone went from the center console of my friend’s suv into a major highway when we were turning. The iPhone is pretty tough itself I must add.

  10. SonarTech52 says:

    If you’ve ever wondered why someone would pay for a $50 mobile phone case, this is why.

    Wow, $50?? Maybe that is why they can afford to send replacements like this, they are making a killing.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Well, $50 compared to not getting your phone covered for service because it got wet is a good value in my mind.

      • SonarTech52 says:

        Im not arguing the usefullness of the product, but I dont think it costs anywhere near that to make it. So they are making alot of profit, and are able to send replacements no questions asked when needed.

    • Kevin says:

      Yeah, I felt silly putting a $40 case on a $150 iPod but it’s been worth it. I also repurposed a plastic case from a roll of electrical tape to keep my in-ear headphones in…after my cat chewed up my first set.

  11. MrEvil says:

    I love the defender case for the iPad. My co-workers kind chuckle a bit that I bought it. But it was $50 on Amazon a couple weeks ago. and I really like it. Need one for my Evo now.

  12. kateforgach says:

    I live in OtterBox’s home town and not only are they an ethical company providing the best product with outstanding customer service but they’re also an excellent corporate citizen. Buy OtterBox. (Full disclosure: I have no connection with this company except they live here. I just think they’re fabulous in every way.)

  13. Jasen says:

    Take note large companies: this is how you bring customers back.

  14. 12-inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    Much better than the company who’s case I have. I’ve been using Seidio products for the last 3-4 phones (~1-2 years/phone), and each case breaks about 9 months into use (at obvious weak points). I don’t handle my phones rough at all.

    Cases are $30-40, but only comes with a 180 day warranty.

    At this point my current Droid case won’t stay on the phone because all the clips on both pieces have broken off, and I’m at about 11 months of owning the case.

    I’ve heard good things previously about Otterbox, and things like this (and the Seidio habit of breaking) make me figure that I’ll be shopping around for a new case company for my next phone….

  15. Lprd says:

    OtterBox is far and away one of the best case makers out there. Outstanding quality and amazon customer service when I broke my belt clip. Everyone at my branch uses them now. I think I have 3 of their products myself.

  16. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    You would think, considering the prices for Apple products, your “i”-whatever would be made of indestructable titanium, zircon encrusted, diamond – studded, and wouldn’t need an expensive case to keep it pretty.

    • JonathanR says:

      You would think, considering the prices of all smartphones are about the same as Apple smartphones, that people would stop making stupid uneducated comments.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        Ummm, let me see… I’m not just talking about iPhones, MP3 players too. iPods are way overpriced, can you argue with that?

        Stupid uneducated comment, my ass.

        • Bye says:

          I think you mean: stupid ass uneducated comment.

          Stop the hating. If you don’t like Apple products, don’t marry ‘em!

  17. whgt says:

    I have the Otterbox Commuter for my Blackberry 9700 and I LOVE it. It’s a compromise between the bulky Defender series while still providing better protection than one of those simple “gel” skins. $20 on Amazon as well…I recommend Otterbox to ANYONE.

  18. awaitinginspiration says:

    I have a Defender case for my iPhone 4. The belt holster go the Defender case has a clip that lets you lock the belt clip back so you can use it as a stand to hold the iPhone to watch movies and such.

    I noticed that the clip n my holster broke off, not a bi deal but I liked having the ability to use it as a stand. So, I snapped a pic (so they’d know what I was talking about) and e-mailed OtterBox to ask how much a replacement holster was. I was fully expecting, and willing to pay for a new holster, I didn’t feel that it was a design defect and I’d likely broken it off at some point.

    A couple of days later a customer service rep e-mailed me asking for my shipping address, phone number, and the supplier code imprinted on the holster.

    Literally, two days later I had a new holster at my doorstep, FREE.

    Oh, and a couple of days ago I got out of my car, forgetting that my iPhone was sitting in my lap. SMACK into the asphalt my iPhone went. But it was ok, the Defender case did it’s job. It nicked an corner of the Defender case but it’s all good. I have no doubt that my iPhone would have been busted had it not been protected.

    Great company.

  19. aja175 says:

    Otterbox has world class customer service. It’s always a pleasure to deal with them.

  20. sweaterhogans says:

    I love the Otterbox Defender for iPhone which is why I decided to get one when I got an Evo. Their Evo case is horrible though. Very loose and flimsy. The kickstand broke after 3 days. It still protects against drops and spills, but at $45 I expect a well designed product. Sadly, this is still the best Evo case I’ve found.

    • s0s has a chewy nougat center says:

      I’m glad you posted this. I have an Evo and was looking at going from my Seidio to an Otterbox, but I’d heard a lot of negative commentary about the Evo case in particular. Guess I’ll need to keep looking, if it’s as poorly made as it seems to be.

  21. richcreamerybutter says:

    Just wanted to chime in with love for my Otterbox case! I bought one before AT&T carried them, and friends would make fun of me constantly (I don’t understand the obsession with thin cases). My phone dropped from ear level once, and I felt that slight but sickening vibration of the sidewalk near my feet as my expensive device hit the ground. Then, I realized I had an Otterbox!

    This story makes me love them even more than I already do. My headphone flap also fell off a while back, but I actually prefer to have more access to this part.

  22. slsashrk96 says:

    I concur! Otterbox replaced the sleeve of my 3Gs case and are in the process of shipping me a new cover for my iPhone 4 case. No questions asked. They’re just awesome!

  23. 333 (only half evil) says:

    My husband keeps breaking OtterBoxes for his phone. After getting his third free replacement, he bought another new one and promptly broke it. His phone is fine.

  24. TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

    Otterbox is by far one of the best companies out there. In this era of non-customer service by 99.9% of the companies out there, Otterbox shines in this area. When I owned my 3GS, twice the clip on the holster broke and they replaced it each time, no questions asked. When it came time for the iPhone4, Otterbox was getting my business. The rep I contacted (Natasha) was very polite and I even asked her to provide me with her supervisor’s email address so that I could tell them what a great person they have working for them.

    Otterbox rocks and my phone loves its hug!

  25. mhutt says:

    ditto on the “I love my otterbox” bandwagon. My 3g shattered, so when i went to apple and said I want a 4 g but need the sturdiest case you sell…they showed me the otterbox. My 3 kids use my iphone 4 all the time. We all drop it, abuse it, etc but with the otterbox it isn’t a problem.

  26. nopirates says:

    otterbox replaces a co-worker’s iPad case no-questions-asked also

  27. pyrobryan says:

    And here’s the problem. A bunch of people will read about this and start emailing otterbox asking for a free replacement and they will have to change their policy.

    At the company I work for we used to honor our warranty without proof of purchase if the customer received it as a gift. For a long time this was something that we were happy to do. Eventually the number of people who needed warranty service on gifts started to rise…dramatically. Well, we continued out normal practice until one day one of our engineers was reading a forum, as they often do to help troubleshoot products, and someone was asking about issue they were having and mentioned that they no longer had their receipt so they couldn’t get warranty service. One of the replies told them to just call and say they received it as a gift and that we would repair it for free, that he had done it before, even though his unit was several years old and out of warranty, after someone else told him that they had done it. The poster said he would try it.

    That was the end of our freedom to go the extra mile for you guys. We tried to do the right thing and stand behind out products even outside of our stated warranty policies, but when people start taking advantage of your kindness, you have to tighten the reins a little bit. So when you call a company and they aren’t able to budge from their warranty policy, it’s not because they want to screw you, it’s because they don’t want to get screwed by you, and since they don’t know you from Adam, they have no choice but to by their policy. If they make an exception for you, then you tell the internet and then everyone calls and demands the same exceptions. Besides, it’s not like warranty policy is a closely guarded secret. That information is easily available to you before you make your purchase.

  28. cbutler says:

    Ill make a statement.

    I used to be an Otter Box dealer (before my family closed the store when we saw business was getting bad and shut down before taking on debt) and this is how their customer service ALWAYS was. Their iPod stuff had a hush-shush policy of actually replacing ipods if their product failed. I never had to make a phone call to them for that though.

  29. jaya9581 says:

    Otterbox is AMAZING. I have a case they don’t make anymore for my iPod video classic, that I bought several years ago. It’s a full hard plastic case surrounded by a soft silicone case. I was a bit overzealous putting the silicone case back on it one day and tore it. I emailed them to find out about getting a new silicone part – and they just shipped me an entire new case, both parts, for free.

    They are the only cases I recommend to people because of this. About to order a new Otterbox for my husband’s iPhone.

  30. HorseplayEconomics says:

    Thank you so much for the tip! I contacted them about my case as well and they’re friendly and providing a replacement for something for me as well.

  31. Grant Beery says:

    My experience with OtterBox has been much different. After hearing nothing but good things about their cases, I purchased one for the MyTouch 3G Slide I own.

    The MT3GS has a slide out keyboard, so the case for this device requires a top piece and a bottom piece. Well, due to some pretty poor design choices on Otter Box’s part, little clips on the case have scratched the bejeezus out of my phone. OtterBox refunded the price of the case, but now I have a scratched up phone that is out of warranty. Don’t buy a case for your MT3GS from OtterBox.

  32. Adam says:

    I got an otterbox for my iPhone 3GS knowing that I’ve destroyed most of my phones in the past even those that had decent cases. I have dropped it several times and there has been no issues with the case or my phone. I’m really happy that I bought it, especially considering that AT&T gives it to your for 15 bucks when you buy the phone and sign a new contract. I work in an often dirty and sometimes very dusty environment (tree removal) and although the case gets very dirty and does allow dust to get behind it, I can still wipe it from my phone and clean the case to look near new. I’m not worried so much about scratches to my phone as I am breakage. Otterbox FTW!