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Petit Bateau – a cautionary tale


Petit Bateau is a shop that used to be one of my favourite places to buy ‘special’ children’s’ clothes. However, a terrible exchange and returns policy and huge delivery and returns costs means that I won’t be buying from there again.

When we lived near a store I used to pop in quite a few times a year to buy something for my eldest daughter. I couldn’t go too often as the clothes, whilst lovely, are very pricey. We then moved and were too far from a store, so I stopped shopping there and found other favourite brands/stores for children’s clothes.

A few months ago a Google search brought up Petit Bateau for something I was looking for. I created an account, but then found the item I wanted wasn’t in stock for that particular size. After that I continued to receive their numerous marketing emails and was lured in just before Christmas with some sale items, which took the clothes down to a more reasonable price.

Petit Bateau delivery costs  

Regardless of how many items you order and their total value, the delivery cost is £7.95. This seems really steep especially as delivery takes a minimum of four-to-six days from the day your order confirmation email is sent. It seems particularly expensive when compared with many other retailers.

However, I just had to grin and bear it as the savings seemed just about worth it. The items arrived after quite a wait and were too small for all three of my girls (despite them all being small for their age).

No free returns for online purchases and no online exchanges

With Petit Bateau you have just 14 days to claim a refund for any ‘defective item/s.’ You have to print off the return forms (they aren’t provided) and then send back at your own expense! So £7.95 for delivery and then the costs to send back. I didn’t want to do that. Firstly I wanted the items just in bigger sizes, but exchanges can only be done in-store; secondly I didn’t want to pay twice on the P&P! So I decided to make the journey to our closest store and combine it with some Christmas shopping. 

After a one hour and 20 minute drive through grinding South London pre-Christmas traffic we got to the store.

You can’t get a refund in-store  

Whilst the website states that exchanges can only be made in store, I couldn’t find anywhere where it explicitly says you cannot get a refund in store. Guess what? You can’t get a refund in store. I would have happily settled for exchanging for bigger sizes, except they didn’t have them. I was invited to send them back at my own expense and then re-order and incur a further delivery cost.

Cue a few expletives and a vow never to shop there again.

*I did feel rather sorry for the sales assistant who sympathised with the predicament but was bound by company policy. 

You might also want to read:

Cheap Childrens’ Clothes: The £2.99 Dresses

JoJo Maman Bébé – Kingston Store Re-launch

Top Tips for Buying School Uniform

Petit Bateau


About Author

I’m Fran: wife, mother-of-three and freelance publicist. My love for communicating and writing mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. I love good food & wine, Italian culture and football and have a keen interest in personal finance. I also blog over on Epsom & Ewell Families and Habyts, and write sporadically for a number of other sites.

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