Since QuickBooks doesn't have any type of "returns module" to handle customer returns or RMAs (returned material authorizations), here is a way your business could track those pesky returns...
CONSIDER THE PENDING CREDIT MEMO
Let's say you get a call today from a customer that needs to return a defective product, but you don't want to issue the credit to them until the product is received and cleared for refund.
You'd click on Customers > Create Credit Memos/Refunds to open up the Credit Memo form. Complete the form as needed to reflect the customer, item(s) being returned, etc.
BEFORE you save this credit memo, click Edit > Mark Credit Memo as Pending, and you'll see something like this (note the Pending stamp that has been added):
Once this credit memo has been saved, it becomes a tracking document that sits open while you await the arrival of the returned products.
Since it has been tagged with the "Pending" status, this transaction does NOT post to the customer account or the ledger in QuickBooks (so that is why it also says "non-posting" in the example above.
Bonus - you could even send this document to your customer as their "authorization" to return the products!
VIEWING A PENDING CREDIT MEMO REPORT FOR TRACKING RETURNS
Now that you have the pending credit out there, you may want to see a report of all open/pending credits that have been issued.
Here's how to get one - click Reports > Sales > Pending Sales. You will see something like this:
Now you can quickly and easily see all open/pending credits. Remember, you can hover over any listing in this report, and you can easily double-click directly on that listing to take you directly into the actual credit memo.
ONCE THE PRODUCTS ARE RECEIVED
After you have received the product from the customer and cleared it for credit, simply return to that particular pending credit memo, click Edit > Mark Credit Memo as Final.
This step will remove the pending stamp as shown above, and once you save it, there will be a live credit memo that has posted to the customers account and QuickBooks ledger!
HOW ARE YOU TRACKING RETURNS TODAY?
I'd love to know how your business is handling customer returns. Please drop me a line and let me know!