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An RMA (return merchandise authorisation) is a numbered authorisation provided by a merchant to permit the return of a product to receive a refund, replacement, or repair during the eligible period. Returns involve an interlinked network of actions and decisions, including issuing credit notes, refunds, and initiating actions like inspection, repair, replacement, scrap, and restocking. The RMA module in DEAR allows you to configure your organisation's return policies, which are then used to streamline returns decision-making and automate much of the returns workflow. 


DEAR creates the following objects for returns:

  • Return Merchant Authorisation (RMA): RMAs are numbered authorisations provided by the merchant to permit the return of a product. RMAs are for RMA officers or managers to make the final decision on what will happen to a returned product, decide how costs of a return are handled, and manage communication with the customer. 
  • Return Order: Return Orders are for warehouse staff and managers to carry out inspection, repair, replacement and restocking of physical products. 


Actions taken on RMA and Return orders are translated to combinations of DEAR processes (Sales order/credit note, Inventory write-off, and jobs) to correctly reflect the return in your organisation's inventory and accounting records.


RMAs can be raised for any sale processed through DEAR. 


Prerequisites


Table of Contents


RMA permissions

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Granting permission to a user gives full or read-only access to the selected feature. This allows for fine-grained control of returns permissions for your users. See Manage Users & Roles for detailed instructions on setting permissions for your organisation's users.


The permissions are available for RMAs:

  • RMA - Set Up (Settings section): (Full Access) create/edit/delete Return Policy, Reasons for Return, Return Order Settings. (Read-only) view Return Policy, Reasons for Return, Return Order Settings.
  • RMA List & Tasks: View the list of RMAs and RMA status, Return Orders and Return Orders. Create RMA. 
  • RMA Task -  View:  RMA List & Tasks permission is required. (Read-only) View the Products tab to see returns request. View details, resolution, and related orders. (Full access) Edit RMA data, print, Mark as Completed.
  • RMA Task - Authorisation: (Full access) Authorise/Reject product return request. (Read-only) can view RMA data.
  • RMA Task - Resolution: (Full access) Resolve RMA, choose resolution action, invoice customer for expenses. (Read-only) can view RMA data.
  • RMA Task -  Undo & Void:  Undo and void RMA tasks.


The permissions are available for return orders:

  • Return Task - Order View: Return List & Tasks permission is required. (Read-only) View the Products tab to see expected products to return and return quantity. View details, inspection/repair costs, resolution, and related orders.  (Full Access) Add expenses to return milestones. Edit return orders, print, and mark as completed.  
  • Return Task - Order Authorisation: (Full access) Authorise receipt of returned products. (Read-only) Can view Return Order data. 
  • Return Task - Order Resolution: (Full access) Resolve return order and choose resolution action. Add expenses for return order. (Read-only) Can view Return Order data.


The permissions are available for warranties:

  • Warranty Setup: (Read-only) View warranties in  Settings → Reference Books. Open warranties to view details (Full Access) Create new warranty types and edit existing warranty details. 
  • Warranty Search: View and search Sale → Warranties for existing registered warranties. 


Returns requests from customers

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A customer returns submissions form can be added to your B2B portal, allowing customers to quickly and easily submit their return requests and view the status of their returns. 


NOTE: Active B2B integration required for this feature. If your organisation does not have an active B2B portal, RMAs must be initiated through the DEAR web portal by your RMA manager.


Any DEAR customer can submit a returns requests via the returns portal with an order number or invoice number and email address. This includes sales for the same organisation that were processed through the DEAR web portal.


Return request availability is governed by the return policies configured for your organisation, and requests are then submitted to RMA managers for approval. Customers can not use this form to submit returns requests for products no longer covered by the returns policy. If a customer still believes they are entitled to a refund, they should contact your organisation so an RMA manager can initiate an RMA through DEAR.


Configure returns submission form

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The B2B portal returns submission is enabled and configured from the Setup menu in your B2B portal admin panel (Integrations → B2B → [Select portal]). Scroll down to RMA module and slide Enable Product Return Form to active to display the other settings. 


Next, select a Return Delivery Location, where returned products will be received from the customer. If this field is left blank, the RMA officer will have to select the return location before authorising the RMA. 


The Return Portal Link will allow any DEAR customer to request a return with an order number or invoice number and the email address linked to the sale order. This includes sales for the same organisation that were processed through the DEAR web portal.


NOTE: We recommend adding the return portal link to your invoice document template, email template, or eCommerce communications to make it easy for your customers to access your returns submission form. See Managing Document and Email Templates for more information on customisation. 


Submit a returns request

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Any DEAR customer can submit a returns requests via the Return Portal Link with an order number, invoice number customer reference, and email address. This includes sales for the same organisation that were processed through the DEAR web portal. Any paid order is available for return regardless of fulfilment status, and any fulfilled or partially fulfilled order is available for return regardless of payment status.


Alternatively, B2B portal users can initiate a return from the All Orders page. Find the order to be returned and click Return.


This will open a summary of the order details and allow the user to select which products, and how many, are available to be returned. The Return Policy field will show what policies are applicable to a product, and can be clicked to view the policy's text in more details. If a product is no longer covered by the return policy but the user still wishes to negotiate a return, the user will need to contact your organisation directly. 


Selecting Qty To Return and clicking Add Return Request will take the user to the next page. 


On the Return Request page, the user can enter Packing Condition, Reason for Return (configured here), and the requested Return Type (Refund, Replacement, or Repair according to the applicable return policy attributes). Clicking Notes & Attachments allows the user to enter text or attach images showing the problem if necessary. 


The user then clicks Submit Return Request to continue. On the next page, the user confirms their shipping address and return details before submitting.


View returns status

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Customers using the B2B portal to track their returns can either log in to the return submissions form again with their order number and email, or log in as a B2B user, then visit the All Returns page.


RMAs through the DEAR web portal

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RMAs initiated through the DEAR web portal do not have the same return policy restrictions  as those applied to the customer returns submission portal. RMAs in DEAR will be both initiated and authorised by an RMA manager, and while return policies will be used to auto-fill return information, the final decision will be determined by the RMA manager. This allows for your organisation to handle its returns with more flexibility. 


View RMAs list

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When a request for return is submitted via the customer returns portal, it can be found in the RMAs list by going to Sale → RMAs


There are two views:

  • RMA - General: Each RMA has a single line showing a summary with RMA number, SO number, customer, date created, date expired and status. 
  • RMA - Products: Each product in an RMA is displayed on a single line, with detailed information about the RMA status, return order (RO) status, and resolution actions. 


From here, RMA managers can generate new RMAs, search existing RMAs, and take returns actions. The RMAs list can be searched by RMA number, SO number, RO number, Product name, product serial number, related Job number (if applicable) and Customer. The list view can be filtered by  filtered according to RMA status (All, Draft, In Progress, Completed). Export downloads the current grid view in .csv format, meaning that if a filter is applied, the filtered data is exported. 


Refresh updates the RMA list with the most recent information.


Create a new RMA

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A new RMA can be generated manually from the RMA list page by pressing +. Any paid order is available for return regardless of fulfilment status, and any fulfilled or partially fulfilled order is available for return regardless of payment status. 


This will open a new window where the user can search for a sale order number, invoice number, or warranty number of a product. Products will be displayed regardless of fulfilment status or return policy coverage. The user can view product information and order quantity and click the Return Policy link, if applicable, to view the terms and status of a product's policy. 


The RMA manager can then enter the following:

  • Packing conditions (mandatory): Original or Opened. This will not be available if the order has not been fulfilled. 
  • Reasons for return (mandatory): Select a reason for return from the values configured in the return settings
  • Return type (optional): Select a return type from Refund, Replacement, Repair, and Other. This is an optional field at this stage, and can be changed before taking a final decision. All return types are shown regardless of the return policy.
    • NOTE: If the product has not been fulfilled, only Refund and Other will be available.
  • Notes (optional): an optional text input field with a limit of 2000 characters. Attachments are limited to 32 Mb in size. Notes is a mandatory field when Return Type: Other is selected.

Clicking Create creates the RMA and adds it to the RMA list, and clicking Close closes the form without creating an RMA.


RMA order details

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Click on an RMA in the RMA list to open it and view return details. At the top of the screen is the RMA document header, which will be autofilled with the customer's details. Customer Details, Shipping Details, and Receipts location can be changed here if necessary. RMA Creation Date and Expiry Date can also be edited here, the default expiry period is one month. 


Specify action for products

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Scroll down the page to the Products tab to determine what Receipt Action should be taken for returned products. Click a product on the left hand side of the screen to show the product, sale order details, warranty status and return request details on the right. 


Click Authorise to approve the RMA and receipt action or Reject to refuse the return of the product and notify the custmer (e.g. product no longer covered by warranty).


The following receipt actions are available:

  • Inspect: Inspect returned products to determine condition and next action. Not available for products non-fulfilled products. Creates a return order to instruct warehouse staff to inspect the product.
  • Scrap: Write-off returned products that are defective or should not be restocked to inventory. Not available for products non-fulfilled products. Creates a return order to instruct warehouse staff to scrap the product.
  • Restock: Return products to inventory, either as the original SKU or under a new SKU. Not available for products non-fulfilled products. Creates a return order to instruct warehouse staff to restock the product.
  • Receipt not required: Returned products do not need to be returned to your organisation. See Return products from customer to merchant supplier if the receipt is required by the supplier, not the merchant.
  • Cancel: Cancel the RMA for this product without notifying the customer (e.g. RMA was created by accident). 


NOTE: If the return policy permits cross-shipping, returns where replacement or repair is requested will have this option available. This allows the merchant to send a replacement product before the returned product has been received by the merchant. 


Selecting Inspect, Scrap, or Restock will create a Return Order for your warehouse staff to instruct them to take the next action. Print or Email a Return Authorisation for the customer which will tell them what products to send and where.  

  • Inspect will instruct the warehouse staff to take action on the returned product. Costs and expenses can be assigned to the return. Use this option for inspecting a product's damage, carrying out repairs, and restocking refurbished products. The return order must be revolved in order for the RMA to be resolved. 
  • Scrap will instruct warehouse staff to scrap the returned product. This generates an inventory write-off for the scrapped item and no inspection/repair costs can be added. No further actions are required on the return order, the write-off will be authorised when the linked RMA is resolved.
  • Restock will instruct warehouse staff to restock the returned product. No inspection/repair costs can be added.  The returned product is restocked as the original SKU. No further actions are required on the return order, the stock adjustment will be authorised when the linked RMA is resolved.


See Return Order for detailed instructions before moving on to the Resolution step. Once the products have been received and receipt action has been carried out, the RMA manager can resolve the RMA and communicate the resolution to the customer.


Selecting Receipt not required will not create any instructions for warehouse staff, and the RMA manager can then resolve the RMA and communicate the resolution to the customer. See Return products from customer to merchant supplier if the receipt is required by the supplier, not the merchant.


Related Order tabs lists all orders which were created connecting to this product RMA. This includes return orders,  jobs, stock adjustments restocks and taking inventory into stock, write off (scrap), replacement sales orders, and service sale orders when expenses are charged to the customer.


Returning products from the customer to merchant supplier

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In some cases, the returned products will not be processed by your organisation as the merchant, but must instead be sent to the manufacturer or supplier for inspection, repairs, or other actions. In this case, you can select Receipt not required as the product receipt action, then check the Drop ship box in the Details tab. Select a supplier and supplier address (supplier addresses are loaded from your supplier record). 


Authorise the receipt action to continue. When you have received a resolution from the supplier, see Return resolution by supplier (not merchant).


Print or Email a Return Authorisation for the customer which will include the return address of the supplier. 



Resolve the RMA

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The next step is for the RMA officer to resolve the RMA with the customer. If the receipt action selected was Inspect, Scrap, or Restock the Return Order must be resolved before moving on to this section - please see this section for more details. 


Return costs that have been added to the associated return order will be shown on the Resolution  tab. If the box next to an expense is checked, it will be charged to the customer. If the box next to an expense is unchecked, it will be charged to the organisation. 


NOTE: When the RMA is resolved, merchant expenses for returned products within warranty will be charged to the Warranty expense account, while expenses for returned products not covered by warranty will be charged to the Non-Warranty expense account (Expense accounts are configured in the return settings).


Refund the customer (minus return expenses if applicable)

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Customers can be refunded for the entire value of the returned product or for the value minus return expenses. From the Resolution tab, check any expenses you wish to charge to the customer if applicable. 


Under RMA resolution, select:

  • Apply Credit - this authorises a credit note for the value of the product, minus any return expenses. 
  • To be refunded - this authorises a credit note and refund payment for the value of the product, minus any return expenses. 
  • No refund


Click Resolve to complete the resolution and generate the documents, which can be viewed in the Related Orders tab. Credit notes and service sales are created in authorised status, but payments and refunds need to be added manually.


Deny customer refund

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From the Resolution tab, under RMA resolution, select No refund and click Resolve. No credit note will be created and this will complete the resolution of this product. This option is not available in the case of non-fulfilled orders, auto-scrapped orders and auto-restocked orders. 


Return a product to the customer

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Products may be returned to the customer, such as after being repaired. The Job Resolution: Return to customer must have been selected in the associated return order for this RMA resolution to be available.


Back on the RMA display, select the Resolution tab for a product. 


Click Resolve to display the ship to customer option. Confirm the product has been returned, enter a ship date and click Ship to complete the resolution. 


Send a replacement product to the customer

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From the Resolution tab, under RMA resolution, select Replacement and click Resolve. This creates a new sale invoice inside the original sale order and a new fulfilment. 


Return resolution by supplier (not merchant)

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When a customer is instructed to return their products to the supplier, RMA officers must then communicate the supplier resolution from the Resolution tab - scrap (defective), scrap (damaged), or replacement by supplier. From there the merchant can choose to refund, deny a refund, or replace from the RMA resolution menu. Clicking Resolve completes the resolution for this product.


View related orders

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The Related Orders tab of an RMA provides a quick reference link to related tasks such as return orders, credit notes, service sales, jobs created for the return (inspection, repair, etc.) and their status. The related orders tab corresponds to each returned product in an RMA. 


Undo or void an RMA

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It is not possible to undo or void an RMA. Undoing a product receipt action voids the return order and associated orders. RMA can no longer be undone or voided if the return order has been authorised for that product. 


Email or print an RMA 

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RMAs are intended for internal use and show each product in the RMA, the return order resolution and the RMA resolution. RMAs can be saved to your computer, printed, or emailed directly with the document as a PDF attachment. 


NOTE: Documents and emails are fully customisable in the Settings module. See Manage Document and Email Templates for more information.


Email or print return instructions for the customer

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Return Authorisations are documents intended for your customers, to notify them where to send the returned products. Return authorisations will show what products are expected to be returned and include the return address. Return authorisations can be saved to your computer, printed, or emailed directly with the document as a PDF attachment.


NOTE: Documents and emails are fully customisable in the Settings module. See Manage Document and Email Templates for more information.


View RMA activity log

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The Activity Logs tab displays the date and time of all activity taken for the RMA, an activity description and which user took the action. 


Return Orders: Inspect, scrap, and restock returned products.

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Return orders are created for warehouse staff to track when returned products are received and specify which actions to take, such as inspecting, scrapping, cleaning, restocking, or any other actions required by your organisation's returns process. DEAR creates a job to accumulate this expenditure, and expenses added to the return are linked to job milestones that are pre-configured for the return policy (see RMA processing milestones).


Returns actions such as shipping to/from the customer, inspection, repair, and write-off incur costs. When a return order is authorised, DEAR creates a job to accumulate this expenditure. Once the return is resolved, the expenditure is then written off to an expense account if the merchant bears the cost, or invoiced to the customer. 


Return orders cannot be created manually, they can only be initiated by specifying a receipt action via RMA. 


View Return Orders list

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Authorising certain receipt actions for an RMA (Inspect, Scrap, Restock) initiates a return order and adds it to the Return Orders List. Return orders cannot be created manually, they can only be initiated through an RMA. 


Access the list by going to Sale → Return Orders. From this page, warehouse staff can view which return orders are open, view return order status, search orders and take actions. 

The list can be searched by return order number, RMA number, and Customer. The list view can be filtered by filtered according to status (All, Waiting for products, In Progress, Completed). Export downloads the current grid view in .csv format, meaning that if a filter is applied, the filtered data is exported. 


Refresh updates the return orders list with the most recent information.


Authorise returned products receipt

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When a product return is received from a customer, go to Sale → Return Orders or the Related Orders tab of the RMA itself to find the relevant return order and open it. 


First, the return order will show the order, customer, and shipping details - this is for information only and cannot be edited. 


Scroll down to the Products tab to view which products are expected to be received and the expected quantity. Click a product on the left too view warranty details, reason for return and return expiration date on the right. 


Each product to receive is displayed on a separate line. Mark a product as received and select a received date. Depending on your RMA settings, credit note and restock can be authorised when each product received line has been authorised, or when all product receiving lines have been authorised. 


Depending on the product receipt action, this will trigger an action:

  • Scrap will generate an inventory write-off for the scrapped item. No inspection/repair costs can be added. No further actions are required on the return order, the write-off will be authorised when the linked RMA is resolved.
  • Restock will restock the returned product as the original SKU. No inspection/repair costs can be added. No further actions are required on the return order, the restock stock adjustment will be authorised when the linked RMA is resolved.
  • Inspect creates a Job in DEAR, which will allow the user to assign any service and inventory costs to the return - see the next section. 


Add costs to a return

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Returns actions such as shipping to/from the customer, inspection, repair, and write-off incur costs. When a return order is authorised and Inspect is selected as the receipt action, DEAR creates a job to accumulate this expenditure. 

Once the return is resolved, the expenditure is then written off to an expense account if the merchant bears the cost, or invoiced to the customer. The expense account will be the Warranty Account if the product is covered by warranty, or the No Warranty Account if the product is not covered by warranty (see Return Order settings). 


Expenses added to the return are linked to job milestones that are pre-configured for the return policy (see RMA processing milestones).


The created job is also accessible from Production → Jobs as well. All job actions taken, expenses added within the return order are reflected in the job.


Job is created for the customer connected to RMA and Return Order, i.e. fields referred to customer in Job in DEAR Inventory are filled automatically with this customer's data. Mapping for the other mandatory fields for job in Return Order to Job in DEAR Inventory is:


Click the Inspection/Repair Costs tab on the right of the screen to start adding costs to the return. Click + New Expense to add an expense, then select the milestone to assign it to. 


Add costs from a purchase

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Purchased costs can be for products or services, such as replacement parts, shipping costs, or third-party repair and cleaning costs. Our example company pays for shipping from the customer for returns within 28 days of ordering. We can input this like so:

  1. On the Inspection/Repair Costs tab, click + New Expense → Purchase.
  2. Select Shipping from customer as the milestone. This creates a new purchase in draft status.
  3. The purchase details show that the costs will be allocated to the correct job account and milestone.
  4. Here we can select our shipping supplier, add the shipping service cost details, and Authorise the purchase order. Purchase invoice and stock received (if applicable) can then be carried out as usual (see Processing a Purchase for detailed information).
  5. Once the purchase is completed, the expense will be shown for that milestone on the return order with a link to the expense task.


Add costs due to internal labour or inventory

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Internal labour costs, or use of internal stock, can also incur costs for a return. Our example company incurs a cost for labour for inspection.

  1. On the Inspection/Repair Costs tab, click + New Expense → Inventory Write-Off/Cost of Labour.
  2. Select Inspection as the milestone. This creates a new inventory write-off task in draft status.
  3. The inventory write-off details show that the costs will be allocated to the correct job account and milestone.
  4. Here we can add our labour costs to the inventory write-off and specify a credit account. Complete the write-off to continue.
  5. Once the write-off is completed, the expense will be shown for that milestone on the return order with a link to the expense task.


Resolve the Return Order

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After expenses have been added to the return order milestones, the user can resolve the return order. The resolution will be passed to the RMA where it can then be communicated to the customer. Resolving the return order marks the open job as Completed and means the return order can not be edited. 


Select the Resolution tab to continue and select an option from the dropdown menu. 


Scrap damaged or defective products

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Scrapped products are written off from your inventory. Defective indicates the product is written off due to a production defect, while Damaged indicates the product is written off due to damage after the sale. DEAR generates an inventory write-off task to reflect this.


NOTE: If product receipt action Scrap is selected, no inspection/repair costs can be added. No further actions are required on the return order, the write-off will be authorised when the linked RMA is resolved.


Write-off Location, Expense Account and Effective Date can be edited. Quantity,  Cost, and Total Cost are fixed. Costs are auto-filled with the product's cost of goods at sale. 


Pressing Resolve button executes the write-off. The status of the product is changed to Resolved  and the job status is changed to Completed.


Restock products

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Restocked products are returned to your inventory. Products can be restocked as the original SKU, or as a different SKU (e.g. refurbished electronics). DEAR generates a stock adjustment task to reflect the restock.


NOTE: If product receipt action Restock is selected, no inspection/repair costs can be added. No further actions are required on the return order, the returned product will be restocked to the original SKU with a stock adjustment. Stock adjustment will be authorised when the linked RMA is resolved.


IMPORTANT: The costing method of the original SKU and restocked SKU must match. E.g. If NewPhone has costing method FIFO serial and it is restocked to RepairedPhone, RepairedPhone costing method must be FIFO serial. 


In Location, select where the product will be restocked. Use the Restock As dropdown menu to select which SKU the product should be restocked as. Restock Date and Comment can be edited. Status refers to the status of the stock adjustment task. 


Pressing Resolve button finishes the restock job. The status of the product is changed to Resolved and the job status is changed to Completed.


Return products to customer

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Pressing Resolve button passes the resolution to the RMA. The next actions are taken by the RMA manager - see Resolve the RMA - Return product to the customer


View related orders

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The Related Orders tab of a return order provides a quick reference link to related tasks such as RMAs, jobs created for the return (inspection, repair, etc.) and their status.


Void a Return Order

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Return Order can be voided only by undoing or voiding an RMA product return request. This must be done from the RMA request. Undoing the product return requests voids  the return order and associated orders. 


Email or print a Return Order

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Return orders can be saved to your computer to print or emailed directly. Return orders contain information about the expenses generated from the job and the return order resolution. 


NOTE: Documents and emails are fully customisable in the Settings module. See Manage Document and Email Templates for more information.


View return order activity log

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The Activity Logs tab displays the date and time of all activity taken for the return order, an activity description and which user took the action.


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