(pronounced as separate letters) Short for returned materials (or merchandise) authorization, an alphanumeric identifier used by hardware manufacturers that indicates a user has been authorized by a company representative to return a product to the manufacturer for repair or refund. An RMA is similar to a tracking number in that it identifies a transaction, and both parties can get information on the progress of the transaction by using the RMA. It is not uncommon for a company to refuse a returned item if it is not accompanied by an RMA identifier. A practical reason for using an RMA system is that manufacturers want the customer to contact them before simply returning a product for repair or refund because the problem may be remedied during the live interaction with the company��s representative. The issuance of an RMA often is the last resort when the problem with the product cannot be rectified.