returns management

What is an RMA?

Returns Merchandise Authorization (RMA) for product return in the Reverse Supply Chain. Read about RMA and download the RMA checklist.

According to Google, there is a daily average of 100 searches for the question "What does RMA stand for". It looks like many people are familiar with the term RMA but don't know the abbreviation and meaning of it. It is time to explain what RMA stands for.


What is an RMA? What is an RMA number? What does RMA stand for? RMA explained:

  • RMA stands for Return Merchandise Authorization or Return Material Authorization;
  • An RMA is a formal authorization of a return that has been created in an RMA portal to return products to the seller;
  • The RMA authorizes the buyer to return products to the seller;
  • The RMA guarantees the buyer to receive a service from the seller (e.g. a refund) when the products have been received in the agreed condition;
  • An RMA number is a number that represents a shipment of returned products;
  • The RMA number is used for shipping and receiving the products;
  • An RMA is created in the Returns Authorization process;
  • When the RMA has been submitted the buyer can return the products to the seller.

The RMA process itself is part of a larger business process: the returns management process. In the returns management process, authorized product returns are shipped to the seller (reverse logistics), received and dispositioned in a returns center (returns processing), and administrated for service with the customer (returns settlement). In many cases, the returned products are inducted into another value chain (revalue).

In the entire returns management process, the RMA number is the leading attribute that unifies the entire process and the data in the process.

Download the RMA Checklist for more background information.



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