Product Review: Case-Mate Custom Tough Case

Note: These are not the same cases we sell in the Pure Geekery store. Spreadshirt does not carry Galaxy S4 tough cases so I ordered mine through Case-Mate. The iPhone 5 case we had a giveaway for did not have these issues, and was much less expensive. It was also not a tough case.

After I broke my Windows Phone, I decided to switch to the Samsung Galaxy S4. Before I even received a shipping confirmation I ordered a tough case for it, because as we all know, I’m hell on phones. I decided to order a Case-Mate Custom Tough Case. I was excited, here was a two layer tough case that I could put the Pure Geekery logo on! I designed my case, and ordered it immediately. But when I received it, I was less than thrilled.

Not Completely Two Layered

First thing I noticed when I took the case out of it’s envelope was that it wasn’t a complete two layer case as was advertised. It’s closer to a bumper, with a plastic shell that goes over it.

I suppose though, to be fair, they don’t actually show the layers on the Custom Tough Case, just on the regular Tough Case. But seeing as how the cases are named the same (minus the word “custom”), and  the custom case is promoted on the regular tough case, I don’t think expecting them to be the same is out of line. But that wasn’t the only problem with the Case-Mate Custom Tough Case.

Production Scratches

After I noticed the case wasn’t exactly designed as I expected, I figured I’d deal with it since I was getting an awesome custom case. Strike two. The case was covered in production scratches.

This is just not acceptable.  When I buy something, I don’t expect to take it out of the packaging and see it already damaged. And if the production process leaves the case covered in scratches, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to have any confidence in the case lasting through day-to-day life.

Customer Service

When I saw the style and condition of the case, I went to Case-Mate’s website to send them an email with pictures to find out what the next step would be. The support method Case-Mate uses is a ticketed issue system, which is usually awesome because you can track your issue through the resolution process. Except their system doesn’t allow pictures. This seems like an odd choice to me. You’re offering a physical product, it should be assumed that there may be an issue with the way it arrives.

So I filled out my support request and tweeted the picture to Case-Mate, and posted it on their Facebook page (it has since been removed). The initial response came quickly. I submitted my request on 1/15 at around 6:00pm, and they responded around 11:30am on 1/16. Great, this will be resolved quickly. They wanted pictures of the issue, so around 11:00am I sent the pictures off. I also asked about the design discrepancy.

Apparently you can’t send multiple photos on an email to Case-Mate though, and they didn’t get my response. I emailed them a single photo of the scratch, and the support rep then asked for a photo of the design of the case. He was also surprised to see it more of a “bumper” style insert, than a full insert.


I was surprised with the resolution that Case-Mate came to. They gave me a full refund on the case. I was expecting they would have sent a case without scratches. Or maybe have given me store credit for the refund amount. But they gave me a full refund on the card I used to purchase the case.

So overall, while I cannot recommend the Case-Mate Custom Tough Case, I will say service wise they exceeded my expectations.


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