A return merchandise authorization (RMA), return authorization
(RA) or return goods authorization (RGA) is a part of the process of
returning clothing, footwear, or fashion accessories in order to
receive a refund, replacement, or repair. The purchaser of the
product must contact the supplier (manufacturer, distributor, or
retailer) to obtain authorization to return the product.
What is a return authorization and why does it
matter to clothing companies?
First of all, what is a return? A
return takes place when a company purchases product and then for some
reason returns the merchandise to the company that sold them the
For example, a clothing boutique called Mike’s
Clothing Store purchases jeans from the wholesaler John’s Wholesale
Jeans Co. After the purchase arrived Mike conducted an inspection
AQL inspection). After conducting the inspection Mike’s
Clothing Store realized that a large portion of the shipment was in a
very poor quality. The owner decided that the shipment was
unacceptable and they did not want to keep the merchandise. It was
decided that a full return was necessary.
Because Mike’s Clothing Store already paid for the
shipment, it was important that they discussed the issue with John’s
Wholesale Jeans Company so that they could mutually agree that a return
would be made. It was important for the jeans company to confirm
that they have given authorization for the return and that they would
refund the money.
Prior to returning merchandise, it is important to
receive a return authorization so that you are certain that your account
will also be credited accordingly. You do not want to return
merchandise to someone and later learn that they have no intention of
giving you back the money you originally paid for the merchandise.
A return can transpire for numerous reasons.
Poor quality is only one of the many reasons. Some companies will
ship merchandise with a pre-discussed agreement that unsold units will
be returned at the end of the selling season.
When dealing with large clothing retailers the
buyer a return authorization is typically assigned to product being
returned. The return authorization number allows both companies to
better track the return transaction.
The company that receives the returned clothing
must decide what to do with the product. Depending on the quality,
they have a few options. The product can be refurbished and sold
again to a new client if the merchandise is of good quality.
Damages can be donated or destroyed depending on the condition.
If you work for a fashion company that has many
return in your warehouse, you may want to consult with a
clothing closeout company or a
jobber to help you sell off the excess merchandise.
By the way, if product is returned for poor
quality, late delivery, or another supplier error sort of reason, it may
be accompanied by a
chargeback from the buyer.