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Return Merchandise Procedures

With a purchase order or a blanket purchase order

Contracting and Purchasing Services should be contacted anytime the return of merchandise purchased on a Purchase Order (PO) or Blanket Purchase Order (BPO) is required. When possible the Buyer who created the PO or BPO should be the primary contact. The Buyer will then work with the Department to complete the return merchandise process with the vendor.

Please have the following information available when contacting the Buyer:

  • Identify merchandise to be returned to the vendor
  • Determine why merchandise must be returned
    • Wrong item shipped
    • Over ship
    • Return for credit
    • Damaged goods
  • Purchase Order Number

Important: If a return is due to "damaged" merchandise and the item was purchased on a Purchase Order or a Blanket Purchase Order, call Central Receiving at (989)774-6535 immediately after the damage is identified. Central Receiving will need information from you to document the incident and determine if a freight claim should be filed. In addition, Contracting & Purchasing Services should be contacted so that the Buyer can help communicate with the vendor and work to resolve the issues at hand.

With a non-purchase order

Payable Accounting should be contacted prior to returning merchandise to a vendor that was paid as a Non-Purchase Order (NPO) purchase. Once Payable Accounting has been notified, the Department can proceed with returning the merchandise by following the procedure below:

  • Contact the vendor's customer service department to gain an understanding of their return/exchange process. Request a Return Merchandise Authorization Number (RMA). This number will formally document your return request and complaint.
  • Determine if any restock charge will be assessed. Restocking charges normally range between 5% and 35% of the purchase price. Determine if the restock charge is acceptable.
  • Follow vendor guidelines regarding packaging, labeling, and return shipment to the vendor's facility. Whenever possible the original cartons and packaging materials should be used when returning merchandise. Shipping labels and documents sent with the returned merchandise must reference the RMA number provided by the vendor.
  • If the vendor is issuing a call tag to a transportation company, such as UPS, make sure that the merchandise is completely ready for shipping prior to the scheduled pick-up date.
  • If the merchandise has been paid for prior to the return authorization being issued, ask the vendor to issue a refund check. The refund check should be made payable to Central Michigan University. Vendors that CMU makes frequent purchases from may issue a credit memo for returned merchandise referencing the Merchandise returned and the date. (The credit memo must be used within six months of issue or Payables will have to charge it back to the department's fund center). Vendors that CMU does not regularly use and vendors that will not be used again must issue CMU a refund check.
  • Refund checks and credit memos should be sent to:

Payable Accounting
Drawer 1000
Central Michigan University
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859

  • Prepare merchandise return memos. This memo should be enclosed in the package being returned to the vendor. Copies of the letter and any pertinent documents should be forwarded to Payable Accounting, WA 302, as noted. Copies of all documents sent to the vendor should be kept for future reference. (Example memo).

Important: If a return is due to "damaged" merchandise call the vendor immediately after the damage is identified the vendor will need information from you to document the incident and determine if a freight claim should be filed.