NOTICE: The Finance Policies and Procedures Manual, along with the previous manual, is undergoing changes. These sites are continually updated to reflect changes in business processes. If you cannot find the information you are seeking in these policies, email for more information.
Policies and Procedures

Policy 1215 – Correspondence with Vendors

July 1, 1995
Last Updated
May 1, 2017
Responsible University Officer
Director of Purchasing Services
Responsible Unit
Procurement Services

Policy Statement

The University utilizes vendors differently based on State guidelines for the procurement. Purchase of items under $5,000 can be initiated by the campus customer in communicating their requirements to the vendor. It is the campus customer's responsibility to ensure that the vendor is a legitimate vendor in the marketplace when making these purchases. All other purchases, as well as any necessary correspondence, are handled by Purchasing Services.  Purchasing Services ensures that the vendor is a legitimate vendor in the marketplace and is the official representative for all vendor contacts for the purchase of goods and services. The purchase order is one of many methods to communicate to the vendors. It is the official document to establish a contractual relationship with the vendor. Purchasing Services staff must be included in problem resolution arrangements between the requesting department and the vendor.

Reason for Policy

The policy ensures that State guidelines are met relative to ethics, conflict of interest, and dispute resolution. State guidelines require that overall University and vendor communications be clear and documented in the purchase order file.



Special Situations



  • None

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: A vendor has called with questions about a bid, what should we do?
A: During the bid process, there should not be any communication between a vendor and the department. All inquiries should be directed to Purchasing Services. The responsible purchasing agent will answer any questions and forward the questions and answers to all bidders.

Q: A vendor that is fulfilling a purchase order for the department called and wants us to sign an agreement changing the terms of the purchase order. Can we sign this agreement?
A: No. All vendor-initiated correspondence should be forwarded to Purchasing Services for resolution.

Q: Should a University employee call a vendor to tell them that an incorrect item was received?
A: The answer is dependent on the method of procurement. If the item was ordered under the University's small order procedure, then the vendor can be called about the incorrect item. If the item was ordered through a University purchase order, the best course of action is to call the purchasing agent responsible for the procurement and inform them of the situation. The agent will ensure that a return merchandise authorization (RMA) is granted so that the item can be picked up and tracked back to the vendor for credit or replacement.

Q: If my department has a problem with a vendor, what should we do?
A: The purchasing agent responsible for the procurement will assist in resolving any issues or concerns with the vendor. Forward all issues/concerns to Purchasing Services along with vendor correspondence and a fully documented timeline of events relative to the procurement.

Related Data

1216 - Compliants about Vendors
- Avoiding Vendor Conflicts of Interest
North Carolina General Statute. 143-53; 143B-10(f)
North Carolina Administrative Codes .1901 through .1909


Correspondence with Vendors Purchasing Services - Goods 919-962-3774 919-962-0636


May 1, 2017: Updated policy statement to clarify customer and Purchasing Services roles related to legitimacy of vendors.
July 14, 2010
November 14, 2003