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A credit note or credit memo is a commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer. Credit notes act as a source document for the sales return journal. In other words the credit note is evidence of the reduction in sales. A credit memo, a contraction of the term "credit memorandum", is evidence of a reduction in the amount that a buyer owes a seller under the terms of an earlier invoice.
A credit note lists the products, quantities and agreed prices for products or services the seller provided the buyer, but the buyer returned or did not receive. It may be issued in the case of damaged goods, errors or allowances. In respect of the previously issued invoice, a Credit Memo will reduce or eliminate the amount the buyer has to pay. Note: A Credit Memo is not to be substituted as a formal document. The Credit Memo rarely contains: PO #, Date, Billing Address, Shipping Address, Terms of Payment, List of products with quantities and prices. Usually it references the original Invoice and sometimes states the reason for issue.
- To allow the buyer to purchase an item or service from that seller on a future date, i.e. a gift card or store card credit. Credit notes may be issued by a seller as a goodwill gesture to a buyer who wishes to return previously purchased merchandise (instead of cash repayment) in circumstances where the original sales agreement did not include an explicit refund policy for returned items. In such circumstances, a credit note of value equal to the price of the returned item is usually issued allowing the buyer to exchange his purchase for other items available with the sale.