National Retail Federation Retail Industry Leaders Association Retail Council Loss Prevention Research Council FMI TechAmerica

Return Authorization Process

How the Process Works

The Retail Equation’s Verify Return Authorization can be configured in several ways, depending on the retailer’s requirements. In most cases, when a consumer wants to make a return, a retailer will scan the original purchase receipt and will also swipe or scan the individual’s driver’s license or government-issued ID card. (This is actually a common process; in fact, according to the National Retail Federation's 2011 return survey, 62% of retailers require an ID to perform a merchandise return without a receipt.)

ID collection is performed in order to make an accurate identification of the person and his/her unique return behavior.  As you return merchandise, the system compares variables such as your return frequency, dollar amounts, and/or time against a set of prescribed rules that form that particular retailer’s return policy.

Verify Return Authorization enables retailers to rely on objective, verifiable data to determine whether a return is valid rather than relying on subjective observations and guesswork by sales clerks.  This objectivity ensures that only those with highly suspect return-and-exchange behavior are affected.  The vast majority — approximately 99% — of returns are accepted.

FAQ: Why is the Verify Return Authorization System Important for Consumers?

Rather than forcing retailers to impose stricter return policies such as “no receipt, no return” or 14-day limits on returns, the system actually allows retailers to offer the other 99 percent of consumers more lenient and flexible return policies.

View All Consumer FAQs