Saturday, March 01, 2014

Three cheers for Columbia Sportswear

A few years ago AC and I got hooked on snowshoeing at Riverwood during our winter holiday there.  At first we used Brian's old oval, woven snowshoes seen on the left in the picture below, and we wore any old winter boot we had on hand.  Soon we invested in our own snowshoes, seen on the right in the pic below.  Not as pretty as the old oval design, but easier for trekking through narrow forest paths.

We also invested in better winter boots that kept our feet toasty warm and dry no matter how long we were out on the trails.  I am not sure when we bought them, but it was more than 5 years ago.  In the pic below, AC's boot is on the left, and mine is on the right.  Both look fine don't they?

Without looking at them closely, I grabbed both pairs of boots off the shelf and packed them in the car for our winter trip to Riverwood this year. 
Here are my boots with my snowshoes all ready for an adventure.
What a shock I got when I picked up my boots to put them on and saw this on closer inspection.  The rubber on the sides of the boot, was all cracked and disintegrating. 
I was not happy about the demise of my boots, but they were 5 or more years old, so I  reluctantly salvaged the laces, and resigned myself to putting these fabulous boots out in the garbage. 

I set them out in the snow by the side door, and took one last picture before tossing them .  I really liked these boots, and didn't want to throw them away.  Sigh!  I took them back into the house to await garbage day.
That evening while sitting around the kitchen table I saw AC's boots on the floor next to  mine, and marveled at the fact that his were purchased at the same time as mine, were the same style, and had been worn the same amount of time, but his were fine.  My sister suggested that I take the boots home with me and send them back to Columbia to see if they were under some sort of warranty. 

I had only worn the boots for snowshoeing, so the treads were almost like new, as they had only been worn on snowshoes not clomping around city streets.  I had only worn them for a few weeks each year, as our snowshoe holiday only lasted for two to three weeks.  I thought Columbia might give me a coupon for 50% off my next pair of boots, or do something like that.

When we got back home, I contacted the warranty department at  Columbia, and they advised me to ship the boots back to them, so they could look at them to determine what was normal wear-and-tear, and what could be a defect in the boot.

Look what arrived in the mail for me this week...a brand new pair of Bugabootoo boots!  I was delighted! My old style no longer existed, so they sent me the new and improved Bugabootoo boot. 
Pretty snazzy huh?

My feet should be dry and toasyt warm in these beauties, no matter how long we are out trekking around in the woods.
Three cheers for Columbia.  They stood behind their product, and passed the customer service test with flying colours.  A big pat-on-the-back goes out to Mindy also, the customer service rep I dealt with.  She was nothing but pleasant and helpful all through the process.  

Thanks Columbia, I will continue to look for your label when shopping for outdoor gear, and will pass this good news along to one and all. 


Lorna said...

Well, I'm impressed! and -65 degrees. I so seriously hope that you never actually need them for that. The soles look amazing though! I wonder if someone has them on sale?

Cuppa said...

Lorna - I am impressed too. That is really standing behind a product.
Boots are on sale everywhere right now. I would try MEC first. Bushtukah also has some Columbia boots. Good luck if you go hunting for a pair.

Unknown said...

I am sure there is still time to try them out this winter.

Cuppa said...

Sue - yes, we have lots of snow here still, and more on the way. I just might have a chance to give the new boots a whirl before the season ends. Don't know if we'll get to Riverwood again before the snow melts though.

Regenia said...

How encouraging is that? A company who treats the consumer well!

Kerry said...

-65? Yer good to go, girl. Columbia's headquarters aren't far from where I live, so I'm always glad to hear good things about them.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Sue, it's always good to know that some companies will stand behind their products. We had a flag replaced recently after contacting the company's customer service, and we also shared that story online.

Unknown said...

I need to get to Mindy. After hours of calls and emails with pictures of once worn boots that fell apart with same issue, I was told 2 years was out of warrantee, but thanks for being a valued customer.

Anonymous said...

I am happy to see your comment, Brown Betty Brew, as I also have cracked boots. I pulled them out of the closet today, and I couldn't believe it when I saw that the rubber had completely cracked off the toe on one boot. My boots are also over 5 years old, and we haven't had any snow here until yesterday. I'm going to contact the warranty department tomorrow.

Unknown said...

And I am "Anonymous" again, and I waited on hold for 4 hours and 1 minute -- yep, you read that right -- because I was cleaning out my office today. After FINALLY getting a rep online, I had mentioned my boots also were over a year old, but I pulled them out today for the first time this winter, and the rubber had completely cracked. He said he had no recourse for me, NONE.

So consider yourself lucky. Mine are going in the garbage can where I originally was going to put them anyway. Can't hurt to try, right?

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