If you sell products – this post is important to you.
Most physical stores and many online stores, and specifically Amazon, require UPC codes for products listed for sale.
This post is about how to buy UPC Codes without overspending or creating issues by buying from the wrong source. You must avoid fakes!
If you are introducing new products to the market, you are eventually going to need to buy a UPC code for each item if you want to sell at Amazon, on Shopping Comparison sites or in stores.
UPC Barcodes for Amazon
This means any seller registered with Amazon’s Brand Program, without a barcode Prefix directly rented from GS1 will not be able to list their products.
So, essentially, Amazon is forcing you as a seller to pay for expensive UPC codes from GS1 and pay annual fees for the lifetime of your company and product.
Fortunately, if you have not registered for Amazon’s Brand Program (which is the most common case for Amazon Sellers), you will be able to use Barcodes from resellers without issue and save money at the same time.
Buying UPC Codes from GS1
This system is only required by specific retailers and under specific circumstances.
You should ask whoever you plan on adding your product to if this is something required.
For the majority, this may not be needed and you could save money buying from a reseller.
Here’s a list that we know so far:
|GS1 Rental Required:||May require|
The Official GS1US site makes this claim:
“There’s only one U.P.C. barcode that’s accepted by retailers everywhere. And it’s only available from GS1 US.” ~ That is not entirely true ~
All sites besides GS1US.org are resellers and the numbers they sell you are registered to the original prefix owners prior to 2002.
Resellers exist due to GS1/UCC’s class action lawsuit & their settlement in 2002. More on this here: (GS1/UCC Settlement). Their UPC numbers originate from GS1-US (Previously UCC “Uniform Code Council”) before 2002, this is how they can legally sell them.
Buying UPC Codes from a Reseller
When sourcing a UPC Reseller to buy from, there are certain things to be on the lookout for to make sure you are getting a legitimate product.
We recommend Bar Codes Talk as they seem the most legitimate and offer both a 115% Lowest Price Guarantee and Works for Amazon Guarantee. They also provide immediate digital delivery of barcodes
Here are some tips when buying from a reseller. A reseller:
- Must be selling barcodes that come from a prefix obtained from the UCC (Now known as GS1-US) prior to the 2002 UCC Class Action Lawsuit.
- Selling UPC/EANs at “Too good to be true” prices, much less than most other resellers, is selling fakes!
- Should not have been in trouble with state or federal licensing, regulatory, and or law enforcement for any reason, most especially not selling illegitimate barcode numbers, or price-fixing. Example: Federal Trade Commission – Two Barcode Resellers Settle FTC Charges
- Is a government registered verifiable business (No fly by night companies).
- Must have a phone number, address, and email contact information.
- Has a website and is not selling only on eBay or any other “auction” website.
Once you purchase from a reseller, you should receive a list of the UPC Numbers that have been assigned to you.
Registering the numbers to your products is easy (see video below):
And then you will just need to provide these barcodes to whichever store you are working with or enter them in the UPC text box on Amazon when adding a new product.
If you sell handmade goods or collectibles that do not have UPCs and are unique (one of a kind) follow this UPC advice from SingleFeed:
“Do your best to include these unique identifiers in your product feed, but do not make these numbers up. If you’re selling handmade goods, you will not have MPNs or UPCs. That’s actually ok. If you’re buying your inventory from a distributor/supplier and that product has a real manufacturer, though, you can get MPNs and UPCs. It’s going to take work as not all distributors/suppliers are used to giving out this information, but you have to keep on them to do so.”
This UPC issue is going to affect resellers and merchants on a growing number of channels including Amazon and Google.
- Understanding Barcodes & Where To Buy Them In 2020
- The Ultimate Guide to Barcodes [includes What is a Barcode and different types]
- How to register your barcodes
- Where to buy legitimate bar codes: Bar Codes Talk
NOTE: Content originally written by Gail Gardner and published 5/13/10. Updated 6/11/20 with current information and to add video. This post may contain affiliate links and if you purchase through one of them I may receive a small commission which does not affect the price you pay.
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