Return merchandise authorization
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A return merchandise authorization (RMA) or return goods authorization (RGA) is a part of the process of returning a product in order to receive a refund, replacement, or repair during the product's warranty period. The purchaser of the product must contact the manufacturer (or distributor or retailer) to obtain authorization to return the product. The resulting RMA or RGA number must be displayed on or included in the returned product's packaging; no returns are accepted without this number.
The issuance of an RMA/RGA is a key gatekeeping moment in the reverse logistics cycle, providing the vendor with a final opportunity to diagnose and correct the customer's problem with the product (such as improper installation or configuration) before it is returned. As returns are costly for the vendor and inconvenient for the customer, any return that can be prevented benefits both parties.
The RMA/RGA process is also often used, particularly in the electronics industry, as a condition of service agreements. The term has also been applied to the return of a license of a proprietary operating system pre-installed on a computer when a consumer wants to install another OS (see Bundling of Microsoft Windows).
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