Return Order processing is a complicated procedure which involves the creation of jobs, sale orders, expenses, write-offs and more. Configuring your organisation's RMA settings and return policies allows for many of these steps to be automated, facilitating the work of inspection staff and managers.
Return policy settings must be configured before RMAs and return orders can be initiated.
When you have finished configuring your return settings, see Returns (RMAs and Return Orders).
Table of Contents
- Product return policy
- Reasons for product return
- Return order settings
Product return policy
In this section you can configure your organisation's return policies. Return policies defines what products, after what period of time can be returned. Set up return policies by going to Settings → Reference Books → Product Return Policy Set Up.
Setting return policies for products streamlines the decision-making process and allows some automation of workflows involved (inspection, replacement, restock, write-off, etc.) Return policies are used in DEAR to streamline the returns workflow, however, authorising a final decision is in the hands of the RMA officer.
From this page, you can add, edit, search, and delete return policies. At least one return policy must be active in order for RMAs and return orders to be initiated.
Enter return policy details
Return policy details determine which products a return policy applies to, and which country. Add a new product return policy by going to Settings → Reference Books → Product Return Policy Set Up and clicking +.
- The first step is to enter the return policy details, starting with the Policy Name.
- Next, select which Countries the return policy applies to from the dropdown list. Multiple countries can be selected. When a customer makes a return through the B2B portal, the return policy must apply to the B2B portal country. For sales from the web portal, the return country is not restricted and the RMA officer will make the decision to authorise or not.
- NOTE: If no countries are selected, the return policy will apply to all countries.
- Then, select which products the return policy will apply to. Product Families, Tags, Categories and Brands can be selected from the dropdown menu fields.
- If no product families, tags, categories, or brands are selected, the return policy will apply to all products.
- The return policy is assigned to products which match all of the selected values. The relationships inside the group for selection is OR. The relations among the groups is AND.
- When a product could match several policies, the return policy will be applied in this order or priority: Family, Tag, Category, Brand. Policies that apply to specific product groups will be prioritised over policies that apply to all products.
NOTE: Return policies cannot have identical country and product parameters.
RMA processing milestones
Returning a product to your warehouse and determining whether it is repaired, restocked, or scrapped is a multi-step process that must be carried out by warehouse staff and incurs costs. This section sets up RMA processing milestones which are then used by DEAR to generate job orders, assign costs to the processing steps, and charge them to either the customer or your organisation, and creating the relevant accounting transactions. Cost assignation can be manually changed from default values before confirming a return.
By default, the milestones Shipping from customer, Inspection, Repair, and Shipping to customer are included. These can be edited or deleted according to your business requirements. New milestones can be added with + Add more items. At least one milestone is mandatory.
Next, select a Cost Type from the Description on Invoice dropdown menu. By default, Shipping, Inspection and Repair are included but you can also add new cost types here. The Description on Invoice will be added to product line in the sales order generated by the RMA when job expenses are charged to the customer.
For each milestone, select whether it should be charged to the company or the customer by default.
Set return policy attributes
In the attributes section, we define the acceptable timelines for returns, refunds, and replacements. The following attributes are available:
Return is possible: When this is enabled, it is possible to return the product from customer to your organisation.
Return calculation start date: Return availability can be calculated from the order, invoice, or shipment authorisation. When the sales order is unfulfilled or unpaid, the date for start of calculation is Sales Order date.
Return is available within [X] calendar days of the sale: Defines how long (in days) it is possible to return the product.
Refund is possible: When this is enabled, it is possible to offer the customer a refund during the return.
Refund calculation start date: Refund availability can be calculated from the order, invoice, or shipment authorisation. When the sales order is unfulfilled or unpaid, the date for start of calculation is Sales Order date.
Refund is available within [X] calendar days of the sale: Defines how long (in days) it is possible to refund the product.
Replacement is possible: When this is enabled, it is possible to offer the customer a replacement during the return.
Cross ship is possible: Allow a replacement item to be shipped to the customer before original product has been to your organisation.
Replacement calculation start date: Replacement availability can be calculated from the order, invoice, or shipment authorisation. When the sales order is unfulfilled or unpaid, the date for start of calculation is Sales Order date.
Replacement is available within [X] calendar days of the sale: Defines how long (in days) it is possible to replace the product.
Return policy text can be entered and formatted in the window below.
NOTE: Customers will always be allowed to request a product repair within the return period, regardless of time limits on refund and replacement.
Edit a return policy
Return policies can be returned by going to Settings → Reference Books → Product Return Policy Set Up and clicking the policy name. From here, you can then edit the return policy name, details, attributes, and policy text.
Pressing Save applies the policy changes to the affected products. The new policy will be by default applied retroactively, however, the RMA officer can override the outcome if necessary.
Deactivate a return policy
Deactivating a return policy stops a policy being used for product returns, without deleting the return policy. To deactivate a return policy, go to Settings → Reference Books → Product Return Policy Set Up, click the policy name to open it, then slide the toggle to deactivate it. Pressing Save deactivates the policy.
Delete a return policy
Deleting a return policy removes the policy completely. To delete a return policy, go to Settings → Reference Books → Product Return Policy Set Up and click the X icon.
Example Return Policy
In this example, we would like to set a generic return policy for our catalog, in which products can be returned for a full refund for 28 days, and exchanged for a replacement product for 45 days. This generic return policy should not apply to certain categories of products, such as make to order products, toiletries and food products.
First, we create our generic return. By leaving the product value fields blank, the return policy will apply to all products in our inventory.
We set our return, refund, and replacement attributes to 45 days, 28 days, and 45 days respectively. Saving this policy it will apply it in general to our products.
Next, we create our exceptions. DEAR prioritises return policies that apply to product families, tags, categories, and brands (in that order) over generic policies, so we use this to create exceptions. Depending on how your organisation has its brands, tags, and categories set up, this could require creating more than one policy to create the correct exceptions.
NOTE:The relationships inside the group for selection is OR. The relations among the groups is AND.
In our example company, customisable products are marked with product tag Custom and cannot be returned, refunded, or replaced.
We set our return, refund, and replacement attributes to not allowed.
Our next example policy applies to products that cannot be returned to our stock like food and toiletries. However, we allow replacement and refund for defective items in these categories within a grace period of a week. First, we choose which products to apply our policy to.
We set our return, refund, and replacement attributes allowed for one week only. Cross-ship is possible for replacement, as we will want to send out a replacement item immediately, without waiting for the defective item to be returned.
This completes our example.
Reasons for product return
Understanding why customers sometimes return their purchases is an important concern for any business, especially for online stores. Set up reasons for product return by going to Settings → Reference Books → Reasons for Product Return.
Add new reasons by clicking + or Add more items. Enter reasons and Save your changes.
Return order settings
Return order settings control which location products should be returned to by default when an RMA is created through the DEAR web portal, and which expense accounts should be used by default for warranty expenses, non-warranty expenses, and scrapped products. Appropriate expense accounts will need to be created in the organisation's chart of accounts if they do not already exist.
This information will be used to auto-populate RMA order fields, but can be manually edited if required. Configure return order settings by going to Settings → Reference Books → Return order settings. Return order settings must be active in order for RMAs and return orders to be initiated.
DEAR RMA Return Location
Select the location where returned products should be received when a RMA is created via DEAR web portal. Return location for products returned via the B2B returns submission form is configured from the B2B portal settings. All locations that are not fixed asset locations, co-manufacturing locations, or deprecated locations can be selected.
Non-warranty Expense Account
Expenses (replacement, inspection, repair, shipment etc.) incurred for items not covered by warranty will be charged to this account. The account will be cleared when the customer is invoiced.
Warranty Expense Account
Expenses (replacement, inspection, repair, shipment etc.) incurred for items covered by warranty will be charged to this account.
Scrap Write-Off Expense Account
Returned products that are scrapped/written-off will be charged to this expense account.
Credit note creation and authorisation
Credit notes can either be created for each receiving order (RO) line the uses authorises, or alternatively a single credit note can be created for the entire RO when the user has authorised all RO lines. Changes will be applied to new RMA orders only.
DEAR Inventory provides sellers with the ability to manage manufacturer warranties for their products. This helps facilitate the Return Merchandise Authorisation (RMA) process, particularly when products are returned during the warranty period. This leads to better customer support and helps track and reduce repair costs.
Warranties can be added for individual products, and warranty information for a product is displayed during the RMA process to support returns decision-making.
See Warranties for more information.