When receiving shipments of goods, it is customary for the consignee (the University department) to inspect the goods for damage before signing for receipt of those goods. Open the package and inspect the actual merchandise if time allows. Before signing, always examine the outer appearance of the package to see if shipping damage is evident. If damage is evident, note the damage on the bill of lading that the carrier asks you to sign. Depending on the FOB terms of the transaction, the consignee may refuse the shipment and have it returned to the point of origin. If the goods cannot be refused, document your damage and call the company that sold you the product. In most cases, you only have 10 days to report hidden damages to your merchandise.
Regardless of the reason for return, you as the consignee will be responsible for ensuring the return of the product to the company from which it was purchased. Returns improperly executed and not shown as received back by the selling company become the financial responsibility of the consignee or buyer.
Steps to Follow when Returning Merchandise/Goods
- Call the company from which the merchandise was purchased.
- Explain to the company that your order is unsatisfactory and you wish to make a return.
- Ask the company about their return goods policy.
- If the company does not have a formal policy, ask if they assign RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) numbers. If the company does not utilize RMA numbers, get an individual's name at the company, their department name, and the proper address where merchandise is to be returned.
- Return the merchandise according to the directions given to you by the company. Document with whom you talked, their phone number, and the date of this communication.
- Address multiple packages the same way. Do not assume the packages will stay together; they will not. Put the RMA number, name, address, etc. on all packages, both inside and outside where the information is highly visible.
- Return the package(s) via a carrier that can provide tracking on your return and a written proof of delivery. Do not send items via US Postal Service unless sent by certified mail (return receipt requested). First class deliveries by the US Postal Service will not provide you with a signed receipt. (When possible, utilize the Postal & Parcel services on campus.) Postal and Parcel can arrange the proper carrier to return your package and ensure tracking on that package.
- Inquire about return charges such as restocking charges. Depending on the circumstances, you may or may not be responsible for restocking or other charges.
- If the Purchasing Department was initially involved in processing your order, contact the appropriate purchasing staff, and inform them about the return and its details. An invoice on the merchandise returned will be received by Purchasing, and the proper steps need to be taken to ensure that payment is not made for returned merchandise.
- Credits and refunds on returned goods may take up to 90 days before they are received.