1215 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Correspondence with Vendors



The policy ensures that State guidelines are met relative to ethics, conflict of interest, and dispute resolution. State guidelines require that communications between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ("UNC-Chapel Hill" or "University") and vendors be clear and documented in the purchase order file.

Scope of Applicability

Applies to all UNC-Chapel Hill personnel engaging vendors.


Policy Statement

The University utilizes vendors differently based on State guidelines for the procurement. Purchase of items under the Small Purchase Benchmark, as defined in Finance Policy 1251, can be initiated by the University customer in communicating their requirements to the vendor. It is the University 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 the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of 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 with vendors and is the official document to establish a contractual relationship with a vendor. Purchasing Services staff must be included in problem resolution arrangements between the requesting University department and the vendor.



Additional Information

Special Situations


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 must 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 must 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 University employee may call the vendor 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 Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contact
Subject Contact Telephone Fax E-Mail
Correspondence with Vendors Purchasing Services - Goods 919-962-3774 919-962-0636 purchasing_team@unc.edu



  • May 10, 2022
  • February 28, 2020
  • February 28, 2018
  • May 1, 2017: Updated policy statement to clarify customer and Purchasing Services roles related to legitimacy of vendors.
  • July 14, 2010
  • November 14, 2003


Article ID: 131413
Thu 4/8/21 9:08 PM
Sun 8/28/22 12:28 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
07/01/2022 8:55 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Director of Purchasing Services
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
05/10/2022 8:55 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
05/10/2022 8:55 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
07/01/2025 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
07/01/1995 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Finance and Budget