Receipt and Return of Goods


Policy Statement

All goods received by a department must be inspected and verified immediately against the purchase order, packing slip, or receiving document by the requestor of the goods. Evidence of satisfactory receipt is required for all goods provided to the university. Defective goods must not be accepted. 

Reason for Policy 

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on the satisfactory receipt of goods and the return of defective goods.

Who is Governed by this Policy

  • Staff
  • Faculty


Receiving and Documenting Receipt of Goods 

All goods received by a department must be inspected and verified immediately against the purchase order or against another receiving document such as a bill of lading, packing slip or by noting the receipt on the invoice submitted for payment. The responsibility for receiving and documenting receipt of goods rests with the requestor of the goods. If not physically received by the requestor,the requestor must receive notification from the receiving party summarizing what was received so that an accurate record of receipt can be noted. 

  1. Over/Under Shipments 

If you receive more or less than originally ordered and a purchase order (PO) was issued, notify Procurement and Travel Services immediately by e-mail at [email protected] (include the purchase order number) to amend the purchase order. In the case of an overage, the department should work with the vendor to obtain a Return Merchandise Agreement (RMA). 

  1. Changes or Cancellations 

If a requisitioner decides to change or cancel the quantity on a purchase order, notify Procurement and Travel Services immediately by e-mail at [email protected] (include the Purchase Order number). Procurement and Travel Services will verify the change or cancellation with the supplier. 

If a supplier elects to change the quantity or substitute an item, the supplier should notify Procurement and Travel Services. However, if the supplier notifies the requisitioner, the requisitioner should amend the purchase order to match the substituted item by submitting a requisition to revise the purchase order information. 

  1. Procurement Card (P-Card) Requirements 

If goods are purchased with a P-Card, the P-Card holder is responsible for: 1) inspecting the goods immediately upon delivery; 2) contacting the merchant when the goods purchased are not acceptable (incorrect, defective, etc.); 3) arranging a return for credit or an exchange. Credit must be returned to the P-Card. 

Defective Goods 

It is the policy of the university not to accept defective goods. When defective goods are detected while the carrier is present due to damage to the shipping box or carton, the bill of lading or other receiving document must not be signed and the defective goods should be rejected and returned to the supplier by the carrier.  

When defective goods are not discovered until the package is opened, and after the carrier is gone, the damaged or missing items should be documented and the deficiency or damage reported to the supplier.  The goods must be kept as is until the supplier claim inspection has been made or the supplier concurs. Most often an RMA is required to return goods to a supplier after the university has signed for its delivery. 


It is the requisitioning department’s responsibility to record warranties with the supplier, as applicable. In the event service is required during the warranty period, the requisitioning department is responsible for contacting the supplier. If the warranty service is not provided or is inadequate, notify Procurement and Travel Services for support. If the warranty expires and the department intends to extend the service, a requisition must be created via EAS to extend the warranty. 

Related Information

Procurement Card (P-Card) Policy 

Procurement Card Cardholders Responsibilities 


Contact Phone Number Email Address
Procurement Department 202-994-2500  [email protected]


Responsible University Official: Executive Director, Procurement and Travel Services
Responsible Office: Procurement and Travel Services

Last Reviewed: December 31, 2017


Non-compliance with this policy can be reported through this website.