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Policies and Procedures

Policy 1238 – Zero-dollar Purchase Orders

July 1, 1995
Last Updated
October 1, 2014
Last Reviewed
October 1, 2014
Responsible University Officer
Director of Purchasing Services
Responsible Unit
Procurement Services

Policy Statement

All equipment obtained by the University must have a purchase order associated with it. The University may obtain equipment for evaluation or demonstration without the expenditure of funds by creating a Purchase Order for zero dollars documenting the contractual agreement and shipping details with the vendor.

Even though no expenses are anticipated with a zero-dollar purchase, a valid chartfield string must be provided on the requisition and the requisition must be accompanied by a signed equipment evaluation agreement, if applicable, that meets the requirements of Policy 1278 - Departmental Evaluation of Equipment.

Purchasing Services is prohibited from entering into any purchase agreements for employees’ private benefit, including zero-dollar purchase orders. All materials purchased by the University remain the property of the State until consumed or disposed of by public sale through appropriate Surplus Property procedures.

Reason for Policy

The University's electronic purchasing system cannot track an order unless there is a purchase order number assigned to it. Zero-dollar purchase orders allow an item to be tracked, even when it is acquired at no cost to the University.



Special Situations




Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I really need a requisition to evaluate some equipment or software I am not going to purchase at this time?
A: Yes. A zero-dollar requisition is required for all evaluation equipment or software. Purchasing Services will issue a zero-dollar purchase order along with an evaluation agreement. This must be done prior to receiving any equipment or software for evaluation.

Q: If my department has equipment under warranty that needs to be returned for repair or replacement, do we need to create a zero-dollar purchase order since there is no cost associated with the repair?
A: Yes. Having a zero-dollar purchase order allows you the ability to track any potential or unforeseen charge that may occur subsequent to the order being processed. It is important that you work with Purchasing Services to ensure proper documentation of the equipment return.

Q: My department needs to have equipment repaired under warranty and the vendor requires a purchase order. Why is a purchase order necessary if there won’t be any charge?
A: When equipment is being returned for warranty repair or replacement, some vendors may require a zero-dollar purchase order as an authorization from the University. In fact, it is a University-wide requirement.

Related Data

1278 - Departmental Evaluation of Equipment
- Return of Merchandise to Vendors
- Returning Merchandise to Vendors


Zero-dollar Purchase Orders Purchasing Services – Goods 919-962-3774 919-962-6271


October 1, 2014: Revised naming of requisition and chartfield string components.
July 27, 2010
November 20, 2003