Koha Upgrades

Koha 22.11 Fines/Fees Developments

New options for handling lost item refunds

Two long-awaited features make their debut in 22.11, pertaining to how lost item refunds are handled. These enhancements provide more options for Circulation Rules in the Default lost item fee on return policy section.

For some libraries, refunds for paid-for lost items go through a business office, not handled at the library desk. Bug 20262 introduces the ability to refund lost item fees without generating credits. If a library's policy is to refund the lost item charge once it is returned, they can choose between refunding all lost item fees or only refunding unpaid-for lost item fees, allowing staff to process refunds through a finance department instead of generating credits in Koha that have to be dealt with.

In the case of partial payments if the refund policy is set to refund only unpaid fees, only the unpaid portion is refunded, as in this example. The original lost fee was $16.99, of which $10 was paid in cash, leaving $6.99 unpaid. Only the $6.99 is refunded, leaving an outstanding balance of $0 for the item.

For libraries that charge a processing fee when an item is lost, bug 23012 eases a common source of friction, allowing libraries to set rules for how the processing fee should be handled when a lost item is returned, independently of how the fee for the lost item replacement fee is handled. Prior to this, Koha did not have automated handling of these processing fees, often requiring staff monitoring and intervention to waive.

Options for handling the processing fee roughly mirror the lost item replacement fee, including refunding it as a default, refunding it only if unpaid, or leaving it on the account.

This feature appears to be set to refund the processing fee as a default, introducing a new behavior. Libraries who do not want to refund processing fees need to ensure this circulation rule matches their expected policy.

More options for handling manual credits and debits

Some libraries prefer to disable the ability to generate manual invoices and/or credits on patron accounts. Bug 30335 makes it easier to hide those options via IntranetUserCSS to hide them altogether if libraries don't want to use them. If libraries only want certain staff to be able to generate manual invoices or credits, that can be set at the permissions level. The permissions reside under the updatecharges parent permission; the two new sub-permissions are manual_invoice and manual_credit, giving libraries the granularity to set permissions that match library policy. (Staff with updatecharges/remaining_permissions privileges will continue to be able to issue manual invoices or credits.)

This functionality to disable manual invoices or credits has been a popular request among our partners, so some partner sites may already have custom code hiding them. If libraries enable either new staff permission and staff are still not seeing the ability to create the manual fee or credit, the options may have been hidden by pre-existing code. Please put in a ticket, and we can help clear that!