Quality customer service is a wonderful thing, particularly with new year's right around the corner (in Steelhead Alley the new year starts in September with the first run of the season).
Back in 2012 I posted a positive review of the Simms Rivertek Boa Boots that I bought to replace a pair of old Simms boots that had held up well on the outside, but provided no support for my feet. By this summer one of the Rivertek boots was splitting along the toe-box seam pretty bad and the second one was headed in that direction. I put my wading boots through a lot during the steelhead season, but the boots should have held up much better.
While out in Colorado in late May, guide Brandon Soucie of Taylor Creek Fly Shop took one look at my boots and said, "Send them back to Simms and they'll send you a new pair." I thought to myself, sure they'd do that for a guide, but not for a sport. At minimum I figured they'd charge me a fee to repair them and charge me more for shipping. After reviewing the Simms web site I wasn't overly optimistic, but I sent them a picture of the boots and asked whether they would indeed consider replacing them as Brandon suggested.
Nick Krueger with customer service responded quickly, assuring me that Simms treats all customers the same and that it looked like my boots would be covered under warranty. I wasn't certain what being "covered" meant, and I sent the boots off to Simms without much optimism. A week later I got a note saying they'd replace my boots. A few days after that I got an apologetic voicemail from customer service saying that there'd been a delay in the shipment by a few days. I called back and got right through to a real person (no automated phone system). I said that I appreciated the heads up, but had a few questions.
Would they be able to ship me a size 12 rather than the old size 11? Sure, not a problem, the rep said. What about the HardBite Cleats that were in my old boots? Could I get them back? (Yeah, it was stupid to ship them with the cleats still in...) The customer rep said there was no sign of the old cleats, but he'd be glad to include new cleats with the new boots. I assumed he'd want a credit card number, but he never asked and after double checking the order with me he said to expect the boots by the end of the week.
And sure enough, they arrived as predicted.. Size 12. With 20 HardBite cleats. Not a bad way to get ready for the new year. I had been thinking about trying out a different brand of waders when my G3s finally give up the ghost, but now I'm committed to Simms. Quality customer service is hard to find, and I'm sticking with Simms.