RMA stands for return merchandise authorization. It is also sometimes referred to as return authorization (RA) or return goods authorization (RGA).
RMA is an arrangement whereby the merchant agrees to the customer returning an item for an exchange, refund, or repair. An RMA can be used for both physical goods and software.
Returns are an inevitable part of doing business, but having a solid RMA process in place can save time and money. It starts by allowing the customer to fill in as much of the returns information online as possible. This allows the merchant to determine how they want to proceed with the request early on. For example, there might be different processes for a refund and a repair.
If the item is to be returned, an RMA number lets merchants keep track of the return and give their warehouse staff an advanced warning of a product that needs to be handled upon return.
By having a solid RMA process in place, merchants can also track and learn from trends to reduce the number of returns in the future.
The RMA itself is a key moment in the returns process. It allows the merchant to identify invalid returns and gives them one last chance to correct the customer’s problem and prevent a return, thus reducing costs for the merchant and inconvenience for the buyer.