Orvis Customer Service

Let’s talk about Orvis shall we. I bought my Orvis boots at the start of the season, a pair of Henrys Fork II Premium Wading Boot – I was pretty annoyed as the last boots I bought from another company fell apart pretty quick so decided it was time I bought a top of the range pair. Naturally I turned to Orvis as they are known as being a good reputable company with good customer service. The customer service part was one of the deciding factors – I had read on various forums about their policy particularly to do with waders. We all know the problems of waders leaking after just a season and sometimes even less for that matter – when other companies expect you to jump though hoops too get them fixed Orvis simply send you a new pair. I do expect this to be within reason though – I mean if it was like ten years later than I reckon natural wear and tear is not permissible as a fault. A rule of thumb I think for breathable waders would be 5 years normal fishing – normal fishing being a few times a week with good care being taken of them between sessions. For boots I reckon 3 years – considering they are in water and spend most of the season wet I think they should start looking tatty after a year and a half and probably giving up the ghost during the third year.

Anyway, I bought my new boots from Orvis and then wore them for the season – I put my initial impressions in my review section and got used to my new boots.

Boy – they were good. The only drawback was the outer layer seemed to be peeling off causing them to not look as good but still functioning just fine. I was a wee bit concerned about the rubber toe section as after the skin came away it looked like it might follow suit as well – I knew it would take a while for that to happen though so was not overly concerned – there was fish to be caught…

All well and good until one fateful day during the first season when the felt sole fell of…I knew it had fallen off as I put my foot down on a boulder and slid around a half metre into a deep hole. It would have been a pure comedy moment if someone had been around with a camera but as it was I just flapped around a bit – got myself to shore and inspected the damage – the whole felt sole had come away.

I went home and wrote up my report for the day – thinking about what I was going to do about it – I paid good money for those boots. I was considering buying more felt and sticking them on myself but I would have to buy studs, I was then thinking of contacting Orvis to see what they could do but because of bad experiences with companies in the past I reckoned all in all it was going to be a pain in the ass trying to sort it out.

Well, within a few hours of that post going live James Hathaway from Orvis US got in contact offering to replace the boots. We exchanged a few emails; the boots got diverted to Canada by accident but eventually ended up on my doorstep.

Now, a cynic might say Mr. Hathaway was just worried about a bit of negative press on the net however I now know otherwise. Yea fair enough, he contacted me first but you know, I reckon if I had contacted Orvis the exact same thing would have happened – new boots. I have now heard similar stories from other people about Orvis, not just about boots but waders, rods and reels as well. In this day and age tackle manufacturers have got to take that little extra step to get the punters to buy the products – it does not have to be the fastest this or a techno gizmo that will help you catch more fish,, good old fashioned customer service will win the day every time. So has Mr Hathaway done here? Well he sure as heck has got himself a new customer for the future that’s what – waders, boots – I am looking for a new 4 weight, my first choice will probably now be an Orvis!

Now you know how much I moan about tackle manufacturers, but I hope you think of my words the next time you are in the market for a bit of new kit as well – that kind of customer service deserves business.

[tags]orvis customer services, james hathaway, orvis, Henrys Fork II Premium Wading Boot [/tags]


  1. Trout Underground · October 17, 2007

    Great story. Orvis remains one of the few fly fishing companies that knows blogs exist, and their service is second to none.

    Where they really get shortchanged is on the environmental end of things; they donate a lot of money to conservation causes.

    Good luck with the new boots!

  2. Ian Scott · October 17, 2007

    I’ll second Tom’s comment. Great story, and good luck with the new boots.

    For me, I’m pretty happy with my Simms Guide boots with the Aquastealth sole. Some don’t like it because it’s studded – but I do – and I find the boots themselves are REALLY comfortable.

    And good on Orvis and Mr. Hathaway!

  3. Alistair · October 17, 2007

    Hey Tom, yea – I think they are being very forward thinking getting on side with “the bloggers” in this day and age it is usually online that anglers go to find out about new gear – got to admit, I do like the new fad of writers sending their books to bloggers to review – although what to do if you get one you loathe ?

    Ian, I have hear Simms boots are pretty good as well when it comes to durability – I dont know though I tried a year without fely soles and slipped my way all over the river like a skating rink – those boots had a special sole as well – do yours manage to grip most surfaces ?


  4. Steve · October 17, 2007

    Totally agree with you Alistair, Orvis customer service is excellent.


  5. Trout Underground · October 17, 2007

    Alistair; I’ve received two books I simply couldn’t finish, so I didn’t review them at all.

    Wish I had an easy answer for this one, but most books will get at least a cursory review from me.

    Now if only I could manufacturers to send me their drift boats for review…

  6. Alistair · October 17, 2007


    The books you did not finish, was it the authors that sent you them or was it the publishers ?


  7. Steve Nuttall · October 17, 2007

    I was in the Orvis shop in 5th Avenue in New York City last spring, just browsing. I picked up some new lines and some clippers to gift to a friend – just small stuff. Anyay, the older gent who was staffing the section of the store I was in started saying something about “that looks way too small for you, what are you thinking?” which I thought was directed at me. It was a bit of a personal and familiar remark and for a split second I was offended until I realized the gent was speaking to another customer just beyond me…! The gent realized my reaction from the look on my face and we both burst out laughing at the tiny misunderstanding…
    A few minutes later, he gifted me a fine Orvis peak cap as a gesture of good will! What a fine fellow! Orvis is a class act.

  8. Jeff · October 17, 2007

    Last year I bought a 4 or 5 year old Orvis Superfine Rod off of a flyfishing forum in their for sale section for $200.00. It was a great looking rod but my first trip out with it I broke it into. I wanted to get it fixed so I called Orvis and asked them if they would take a look at it but that I had bought it used and had no warranty and he said sure just send it in. About four days later I received a call from Orvis informing me that the rod could not be repaired and that they wanted to replace it. I again explained to them that I bought it used and had no warranty. The rod was a 3 weight and he said just to look in the catalog at the new 2007 Superfines in the 3 weight catagory and pick any rod I wanted. A week later my new Superfine arrived at my door step. This is the third piece of equipment Orvis has replaced for me at no charge, of the other two, one was equipment failure and the other was my fault but in both cases Orvis did not question how it happened only how they could fix it. Some say Orvis is over priced but I say you are buying more than just a piece of equipment when you buy from orvis. Just my thoughts, Jeff

  9. Alistair · October 17, 2007

    Jeff, your story is similar to many I have heard – I bet you are now a life long supporter.

    I have pretty much decided to get my new waders from orvis…..in fact most of my tackle now that I come to think about it !

  10. Pingback: Orvis - Why I Like Em’ | The Urban Fly Fisher

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