Every Amazon seller sooner or later faces customer returns. Not only this experience is upsetting because you don’t make money from that sale. On top of that, Amazon expects merchants to deal with the returns, and do it fast.

In point of fact, to comply with Amazon’s return policies and avoid a negative customer experience, sellers should actively monitor shoppers’ returns. In addition, the marketplace recommends you process a refund to the buyer within two business days after you receive a return. If you are an FBA seller, Amazon handles returns on your behalf. As an FBM merchant, you are obliged to accept returns within 30 days. Whatever the case, it’s important to keep track of the returns.

In addition, you need to keep track of the reasons for your return. If you have any recurring returns, this may indicate issues with your product or listing.

On top of that, it’s essential to keep an eye on unpaid reimbursements, that may happen due to Amazon’s inventory management mistakes.

Therefore, in order to simplify the tracking of the returns, both for the buyers and the sellers, Amazon issues RMA for all authorized returns. This ID number allows ensuring that each and every return is executed smoothly.

Continue reading to find out what does RMA stand for and how the Amazon RMA number can help you with processing your returns.

What Is the RMA Number on Amazon?

RMA is a Return Merchandise Authorization. Importantly, this term is used to define an ID number that Amazon designates for each authorized return transaction.

RMA number on Amazon is applied to streamline tracking return requests for replacement, repair, or refund. As a matter of fact, such IDs are assigned not only on Amazon but also on other online selling platforms.

To clarify, if a buyer would like to return a product to an Amazon seller, they have to submit a request for an RMA. This number indicates to the seller that the buyer requested a return for a specific order.

As soon as a shopper submits a return request that has been authorized, Amazon issues a respective RMA number. The request also gets a return label with a bar code of the RMA.

Where to Find RMA Number?

In the case of an authorized return, Amazon issues an unpaid return label to a buyer or a merchant prepaid label. The RMA number is located on the return authorization slip.

The RMA number is located on the return authorization slip below the return label.

The RMA number is located on the return authorization slip

Where Is RMA Number Used?

When sellers authorize customer returns, they do it in their Seller Central account in the Manage Returns tab. In order to process the authorization, they are requested to enter the RMA number.

Where can you can find the RMA number?

  • on the Return Merchandise Authorization;
  • in the Return Mailing Label;
  • on the Return Authorization Slip;
  • in the Seller Central account, under Manage Returns tab.

Why Is Amazon RMA Number Important?

RMA Amazon facilitates the process of product returns. As a matter of fact, same as other inventory tracking numbers and barcodes, RMA is one of the inventory management instruments.

RMA’s purpose

Serving as a return tracking system tool

RMA helps both shoppers and sellers track the returns and their status. In fact, it also allows for passing a return from a buyer to a seller. This way, for merchants, RMA return numbers optimize monitoring of the type and quantity of returned units.

In addition, RMA barcodes enable easy scanning of returns in Amazon warehouses. They provide for distinguishing between returns and other orders.

Analyzing the reasons for return

In fact, sellers need to monitor the return rate and the reasons for return. First of all, if there are multiple returns of the same product, this probably means that either there is a problem with the product itself or with the listing information. The latter may include unclear descriptions, poor images, and more. RMA assists in sorting between the order returns.

Identifying unpaid reimbursements

In a general case, RMA supports returning a product to receive a refund, replacement, or repair. However, it can happen, as the case may be, that Amazon loses, damages, or destroys your inventory in warehouses. Amazon should automatically reimburse FBA sellers for such units, but sometimes it’s not happening. Therefore, you need to closely look at unpaid reimbursements and claim payments.

How Does RMA Work with Amazon Return Policy?

Amazon Return Policy differs for FBA and FBM sellers. What they have in common is that the majority of returns should happen within 30 days.

FBA return policy

If you sell FBM, Amazon takes care of the customer returns on your behalf. Amazon treats FBA returns as customer service. In practice, this means that sellers can’t control returns acceptance. Amazon processes return acceptance itself.

FBA return procedure

Whenever Amazon receives a shopper’s return in its warehouse, it estimates whether its condition is sellable or unsellable. In case if the condition is sellable (new), they return it to your inventory. If the condition is unsellable (damaged), Amazon estimates who broke the product. On condition that it’s Amazon’s fault, they reimburse you. Provided that it’s a buyer’s or shipper’s fault, they don’t reimburse you and mark the product unsellable. If the buyer does not return the product, as a rule, Amazon reimburses sellers after 45 days and charges that buyer.

FBM return policy

In a general case, FBM sellers are required to accept returns within 30 days. On top of that, they should refund the shopper within 2 days after receiving the return shipment. Shoppers forward returns to the address stated in the Seller Central account, not to Amazon (as in the case of FBA). When an FBM seller receives a return shipment at their facility, the shipment will include a packing slip and an RMA number to help identify the return.

FBM return procedure

Provided that you have a professional seller account, Amazon automatically enrolls you in the Prepaid Returns Label program. If a return happens within 30 days, Amazon automatically sends the buyer a prepaid return shipping label. On condition that you have an Individual seller account, it’s up to you whether to join this program or not.

If it happens that a return request is out-of-policy on Amazon or category-exempt, sellers need to manually authorize the request. In such a case, Amazon sends the seller an email. In some instances, sellers can charge shoppers a restocking fee (% of the unit’s price).

Amazon Free Returns page

Amazon Free Returns page

Manual Return Authorization Process Step by Step

Step 1. Shopper sends a return request to Amazon.
Step 2. Amazon passes a return request to the seller (notification includes the info if that request meets Amazon’s requirements or not).
Step 3. Amazon auto-generates an RMA number to identify the return (it appears in the same notification).
Step 4. The seller accepts or declines the return. In case of acceptance, they opt to use Amazon’s RMA or generate their own number.
Step 5. The buyer receives notification whether the seller accepts the return. A notification contains the RMA number.

How to Manually Process Return Requests?

Whenever Amazon sends a seller a return request for manual review, they can choose from several options. Thus, in the Manage Returns tool in your Seller Central, you can select to authorize the request, close the request, issue the refund, or contact the buyer.

How to Manually Process Return Requests?

Whenever Amazon sends a seller a return request for manual review, they can choose from several options. Thus, in the Manage Returns tool in your Seller Central, you can select to authorize the request, close the request, issue the refund, or contact the buyer.

Authorize Request

#1. With this option, sellers can review the request and authorize the buyer to return the unit to you.
#2. There is a possibility to review returns in bulk. To do that, select the requests you want to review and click “Authorise all selected returns” in the drop-down menu at the top of the Manage Returns page.
#3. At this point, you’ll get several prompts.

Select from:

    • using Amazon’s auto-generated RMA or issuing your own number;
    • changing or keeping a return address;
    • applying Amazon-generated return label or uploading your own one.

Close request

#1. Select this option if you:

  • choose to refund a shopper without asking for the unit’s return; or
  • decline a return.

#2. Once done, specify:

  • the reason why you closed the request;
  • your comments to the shopper.

#3. Close the request.

#4. Amazon will send the shopper a notification with the reason for the closure.

#5. If a shopper closes a request themselves, as the case may be, you’ll get an email message.

Issue refund

#1. Select this option if you want to refund the shopper.

#2. You should refund a shopper within two business days of receiving a return.

#3. Amazon recommends waiting until the returned unit arrives and then issuing a refund. You need to make sure that the unit is in sellable condition.

Contact buyer

If you opt to try and settle the problem with the shopper, this option allows you to send them an email.

How to Configure Your Return Settings?

In your Seller Central, you can change a number of parameters.

Changeable return settings:

  • country where shoppers should send returns;
  • conditions of returnless refunds;
  • whether you want to receive return request emails;
  • how requests are authorized;
  • the way RMA numbers are generated.
The Return Settings page

The Return Settings page

How to change your return and RMA settings?

Step 1. In your Seller Central, navigate to Settings>Return Settings.

Step 2. Check the settings on all tabs of the Returns Settings.

Step 3. Check the General Settings tab.

    • email format: you can select to receive return emails from shoppers with links to ‘Authorize’, ‘Close’, or ‘Reply’ to the request.
    • default automated return rules: choose from authorizing requests manually, letting Amazon automatically authorize requests complying with their policy, or automatically authorizing all requests.
    • RMA number settings: select if you want Amazon to generate RMA or enter it yourself.
    • returnless refund: to configure the conditions for returnless refund, click the ‘Add New Rule’ button. In a form, add: rule name; price range; product categories that fall under the rule; return reasons; return window (number of days from the estimated order delivery date). Save the rule.
    • return address settings: select the address to return items in the ‘Set the Address’ button.

While handling your inventory management, returns and refunds is important, this is insufficient for your success on Amazon. To maximize your profits, it’s necessary to constantly keep track of all your product’s metrics. In such a case, you will control your sales indicators and overall store profitability.

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