Diane, I’ve been using Otterbox Defender cases since my first iPhone 3S. Then a 4S, 5S and a few months ago, a 6S.
I have also run into some problems with the silicone cases, mainly with the 5S which I used for around 5 years. For me it was stretching of at the bottom of the case. I tend to wear my iPhone on my waist, I listen to podcasts/music a lot while working on my property and the case is definitely put to the test. I wish it didn’t happen but otherwise I love the Defender because of all the maximum protection cases that I have looked at, it is the most functional, I like the colors (tending toward purple and magenta in recent years) and when I go to sell my well-used iPhones on CraigsList they come out of the case looking brand-new. (I think that periodically removing the iPhone and cleaning phone/case to get rid of the really tiny dust particles helps a lot.) When I was upgrading every two years I would always get top dollar and buyers were delighted to get an Otterbox Defender as part of the deal.
Since I kept the 5S for so long, I had to contact Otterbox twice for a replacement silicone case. Both times they replaced it for free, charging me only $5.95 for shipping. Last time they insisted on replacing both the interior and exterior cases. At the same time they also did the same thing for my wife. The two times I contacted them I was at least 1 year past the end of the 1-year warranty period. Over the years I’ve had the silicone case replaced at least 4 times and I have never been charged for the service.
A few months after the last replacement I became aware of the iPhone SE deals Apple was offering but I missed both. Turns out I am glad that happened because it caused me to look at what my cell carrier (Consumer Cellular) has to offer and it had the 32GB 6S for $200. We bought two even though our 5S iPhones were still going strong and we were happy with them. But the primary reason I am happy I didn’t get an SE is the extra .75" display size. I have always struggled when using the smaller screen for texting and it is better now. (An iPhone + is simply too large for my taste. I jump to my iPad Mini 2 when I want BIGGER.)
So I contacted Otterbox to order two new Defender cases. During the transaction the sales rep voluntarily increased a 25% discount to 35%, saving us around $50. FWIW, I have always appreciated how friendly and accommodating the Otterbox reps have been.
What I am getting to is this: I’m so satisfied with Otterbox quality and the service experience that I am willing to put-up with the exchange process and limited colors when it happens. (Only once that I can recall.) Otterbox has saved me a fair amount of money over the years, so the initial cost doesn’t seem nearly so high now. I have looked at other brands and I haven’t found a suitable replacement when it comes to protection and colors. And I doubt that I will find a comparable level of customer service, much less superior service.
Would you consider trying another Otterbox model? Perhaps there are more attractive colors available. Using older iPhone models does entail making a few compromises. . . I also want to have my color options and I spoke with the Otterbox rep about it. I may buy at least one more silicone case now Just In Case (no pun intended).
Regarding your comment about the cases being made in China and the perceived drop in quality: The iPhone 6S case seems to be better than the 5S. It fits perfectly flush, the port covers seem to be a bit more robust and I simply have the impression that the silicone case will not have the stretching issue nearly as often. . . maybe never. It feels like the case is One With The Phone. Perhaps the difference in the iPhone designs has something to do with it.
I’m really sorry you are having this problem. I wish you the best of luck resolving your case dilemma. And sorry for my verbose reply. I brewed a double cappuccino before I sat down to type this.