You know I’m a huge believer in AppleCare and that it has saved me more times than I can count. Who can forget the five 12.9″ iPad Pros and four keyboards Apple replaced for me? In all cases, I haven’t had to pitch any kind of fit to get them to honor the warranty when it was obvious that the devices weren’t working properly. No stomping of my tiny little foot was required.
But recently I did have a problem with Apple. I bought the silicone case for my iPhone XS last year when the phones first came out. It’s a lovely salmon color and the feel of it was so soft and lovely and yet had just enough friction that the phone would never slip out of my hand.
After about six months though, the case started to feel sticky. I didn’t remember eating pancakes with syrup around it, but just in case I carefully washed it with mild soap and water and let it dry out, and yet it still felt sticky.
The good news is that Apple has a one-year warranty on their iPhone cases. I took it in to the local Apple Store and asked for a replacement. I was told I had to have a Genius Bar appointment to get it replaced, but that they could slip me into the schedule in just a few minutes. The Genius verified with his own hands that it was sticky but that he didn’t think that counted as a reason to replace it. I asked for a manager. She held the phone in the case and denied that it was sticky. I used everything in my power to convince her that it was but she was having none of it. She said if it was actually peeling apart, I could get it replaced but not for my imaginary stickiness.
Angrily I went home and started searching for a similar replacement. But I wasn’t able to find anything I liked that was as thin as the Apple case and still had enough of a ledge above the glass to provide a bit of protection for a fall. I guess I was going to have to live with my sticky phone.
Fast forward a few more months and the Apple case has started to completely fall apart. It has cracked in the upper two corners, and the bottom right and left sides are peeling apart. Well, I guess now the manager can’t deny me, right?
Back to the Apple Store where again I’m told that I have to have a Genius look at it, but they’d be with me in about 5-10 minutes. 30 minutes later Warren comes to talk to me. He is not “my little friend Warren.” Warren looks at the phone case and then starts to figure out how to do a warranty return.
On the inside of Apple cases, there’s a serial number printed, but it’s very tiny and on that felt sort of fabric so it’s pretty close to impossible to read. He tries a bunch of combos and keeps pulling the case close up to try to read it better but can’t get the system to recognize the number. I held out my phone with the accessibility feature called Magnify turned on and he looks at me and says in the snottiest voice you can imagine, “Your technology won’t work for this. It does NOT work that way. You don’t understand how it works.”
Excuse me? My technology??? I decided to take a picture anyway and make some suggestions – maybe it’s a T not a 7, etc. This doesn’t get us anywhere.
At some point, he decides he can bypass this step and he tells me that he can order me a new case. I explain that I’m not willing to wait for a new case, especially since I don’t believe he can still get the color I had as Apple changes the colors all the time. I tell him that I would like to take one of the equivalent cases they’re selling right there in the store. He says no. By this time I’ve been in the store for a full 45 minutes with no new case in sight. “Maybe I speak to a supervisor please?”
Warren takes me to a supervisor who is clearly just starting a conversation with a customer. They’re just beginning to take his iPad out of a box and clearly, this is going to take a while. After a few moments, I asked Warren if there isn’t another supervisor available. Warren, again in the most aggravating tone of voice I could imagine says, “THIS is the supervisor we’re going to talk to.” I told him that was not the question I asked, and he should probably not try to push my buttons right now. He said if I talked to him like that again he was going to report me. Good grief.
I wish I’d gotten the managers name who came into the story next. Let’s call him Bossman. I explained quite calmly what the issue was. Bossman looks at the case and tells me that it is not covered under warranty because the corners are cracked! I’m sure you can just imagine how this comment went over to me. I believe I said something along the lines of, “Yes, that’s why I need it replaced. It cracked in normal usage. I take the phone out of the case from time to time. That’s normal usage! Also, look at how the bottom is peeling off.”
Bossman was insistent that it wasn’t covered. At this point, the annoying Warren asks to see the case again, peers closely and points to an itsy bitsy little dent on the top corner and says, “Clearly you dropped it and it’s not covered.”
This was after a full hour of working with these people. Let’s be clear, this is a $39 case. I have taken up two people’s time during much of this. And remember this is the second time I’ve done this. How much do you think it cost Apple to not replace my iPhone case under warranty?
I left the store and began my search again for a similar case, and this time I found it. I bought the TORRAS Love Series case on Amazon for $14. It looks exactly like the Apple case, without the logo and feels just as lovely as the Apple case did when it was new. It is not sticky and the edges aren’t peeling off and the corners are not cracked. It’s altogether possible that this case will get sticky and crack but I will simply buy another one and still have saved money over buying another Apple case.
I’ll give one caveat on the TORRAS case. I bought the Midnight Blue the first time which on Amazon looks to be a dark purple. However, it’s more of a very dark slate grayish-blue. I didn’t favor that color at all because it wasn’t distinguishable enough from Steve’s black case. I showed Steve and he said he’d love to have it because guess what? His Apple case is getting sticky!
Since Steve loved the slate blue case, I bought the red TORRAS case which was a bit more expensive at $18 and it is just as gorgeous of a candy apple red as it looks online. I love this case!
My advice to you is to stay as far away from Apple’s silicone iPhone cases unless you’re willing to buy them a couple of times a year. Don’t expect Apple to honor their own one-year warranty. Be happy, buy somewhere else. An Amazon Affiliate Link have of course been supplied for the far less expensive and yet just as lovely TORRAS cases I described.