Sweetater service is phenomenal, this SKB case has a major issue
Sweetwater service is excellent but this SKB case has a major issue.
I received a new case from Sweetwater very quickly and upon opening it I noticed relatively major (3/8" to 1/2") gaps between the top and bottom parts of the case. I have several other injection molded cases from both SKB and Pelican and have never seen this so I inquired to Sweetwater and they noted the case was defective and promptly replaced it. They are phenomenal.
Upon receiving the second case I noticed the same issue; however, this time the gaps were slightly smaller and more in the corners (on the first case the gaps were in the corners and in the middle of the front). Being that I was a bit timeframe-challenged due to an upcoming trip I wanted to make it work but since I am going to Asia where they routinely leave bags outside during transfers at airports and since it rains a lot I wanted to make sure it would be able to resist water. I took a bright LED flashlight, put it inside the case and closed it; sure enough the light leaked out. I sent an e-mail back to the Sweetwater service team and they noted they would immediately replace it again. I asked for them to check the case before they sent it out since I had to leave in a few days and did not have time for another back and forth; they agreed and checked the next case in their warehouse. Same issue. They proceeded to check the remainder of the cases in their warehouse (I believe another 4) and they all had the issue so they followed-up with SKB's technical team who replied it was normal as long as there was an indentation on the entire area of the gasket (meaning that the gasket was being sealed by the top and the bottom). I opened the case and sure enough there was no indentation in several areas (this was obvious as light would not have leaked out if it was sealed but I wanted to get photos). Upon sending the photos over the Sweetwater team pointed this out to SKB who then replied--in an arrogant, defensive and filp-flop manner--that there did not need to be a solid indentation for it to be sealed (the opposite of what they had said a few days earlier ... and physics); they continued to go on about how they sell to the military and their cases are sound. Their final note? They suggested I put tie wraps through the lock loops to snug the top and bottom down to seal the gasket. Absurd. This is a $300 high--end case and they are suggesting a work around for their poor QA? They point out that their case is fine but then suggest using a tie-wrap? Ridiculous; they clearly know it's not right. Obviously this is very disappointing but it's also a lack of understanding on their part; if they have ever flown they would realize that TSA will cut the tie wraps off and then the gap will be there without a tie wrap to seal it. I have experienced this in the past as I put tie wraps on a toolbox to prevent it from opening during baggage transfer movement; TSA cut them off and even though there was a LARGE NOTE INSIDE WITH EXTRA TIE WRAPS ASKING THEM TO RE-SEAL IT, THEY DID NOT.
SKB, you are being silly.
I did point out to the Sweetwater team that I believe they have fine cases as I have several of them and they do not suffer from this; I also pointed out that I have a very small amount of experience with injection molding and have observed situations where the mold may be off and cause issues or even if the mold is perfect the plastic components may come out of the mold and warp or come out of shape slightly due to storage, etc. This may or may not be the case but I pointed out that it was an entirely possible they have many of these exact cases that are fine but that there may be a batch or a few batches which have this and because of this the Sweetwater team asked SKB to inspect the ones at their warehouse and then if they found one that was okay to send it to me to help me with my tight timeframe. SKB refused.
I have purchased thousands of dollars of SKB cases for both work and personal use in the past. These have been iSeries and roto molded cases as well as bags and I have found their quality to be very good. I am extremely disappointed in how SKB handled this; they have a problem with some of these cases and don't want to address it (obviously it will cost them money). The real fix is to ensure there is a tight seal with no gaps (the way the other iSeries cases or other manufacturer's injection molded cases fit) but if they want to cheap out maybe they could install larger gaskets; I really don't know; I am not an expert on their cases, these are just thoughts.
Sweetwater: You are excellent. Your service team went above and beyond. SKB: Shame on you. I have purchased many of your products and have recommended them to many colleagues and co-workers as a model of American manufacturing, innovative design and quality; this is so disappointing.
To cap this all off; I found another one of these cases at another reseller; guess what? Same issue. The reseller was surprised when I pointed it out. They noted many guests likely bought them and did not even notice it. It may be that. Or it may be that many of the cases, as SKB pointed out, are fine. I don't doubt they can make good cases and they have (I have many); the issue is with this batch and the way they are trying to ignore it.
End result as of today: No case. Sweetwater took the second one back and are continuing to work with SKB to see if SKB will do the right thing. I hope SKB fixes this issue; if they do, I would like to buy one someday soon (even though the immediate need I have is now) for future travel; however, only if it is fixed.