The Big Amazon Barcode Question

(Everything you need to know FINALLY explained!)

By Erik Quisling 

Over the past couple of years, a lot has been talked about Amazon’s new and evolved barcode requirements. The purpose of this article is to explain what has changed, what barcode documentation Amazon now requires to list a new product, and how these changes affect products that are currently listed on Amazon.

Let’s tackle that last part first.

How the new changes affect products that are currently listed on Amazon?

Many people are freaking out that the products they are currently selling on Amazon will get removed because of their UPC or EAN barcodes. This is absolutely NOT the case. If your products are already being sold on Amazon, you will not have any issues with your barcodes, and they will NOT be removed. It is not in Amazon’s self-interest to start kicking current products off of their shelves.

The whole point of Amazon’s new policy changes is to tighten the ship on their once chaotic barcode system. They simply want to make sure that people are not just making their UPC or EAN barcode numbers up out of thin air or pirating the barcode numbers off of other people’s products. To ensure this, they want to see a legitimate paper trail for how you acquired your barcodes.

Before I explain that paper trail, I must provide some essential background information.

UPC and EAN Barcode

UPC and EAN Barcodes are used primarily for inventory tracking. Since 1971, all barcodes being used in the retail world have originated from the same source - a place called GS1 barcode. In theory, this is how we have the best idea of what barcodes have been used in past and which ones are still available. This is important because the barcoding system is the easiest way to bring order to the chaos of inventory management.

Unfortunately, GS1’s monopoly has caused them to become incredibly expensive greedy, and they now charge enormous fees to buy barcodes and services. Predictably, this has prompted young business owners to get “creative” about how they purchase barcodes for their products. Most commonly, they will simply make barcode numbers up out of thin air. The other way is to pirate barcode numbers off of other people’s products. Before the internet age, people that resorted to these nefarious methods could get away with it most of the time because the likelihood of two different products with the same barcode being sold in the same store was small. But with the growth of Amazon and other online retailers, this all changed. As you can imagine, more and more problems are arising because 2 different companies might be trying to use the same barcode on their products.

Amazon New Barcode Policy Requirements

To identify and track inventory Amazon has set some standard product barcode requirements. But with increasing frauds and mess-ups, Amazon, to prevent new vendors from using creative methods to buy barcodes, now wants to verify that you have a connection to the name of the company that originally purchase GS1 barcodes. So, it’s necessary that you purchase barcodes from certified sellers.

The first way Amazon verifies your connection is by cross-checking the vendor name you are using to list your product with the name listed in the GS1 database. If these 2 names are not identical, then you will receive the following error message: 

ERROR: You are using UPC, EAN, ISBN, ASIN, or GTIN codes that do not match the products you are trying to list.  If you believe you have reached this message in error, please contact Seller Support.

 If you receive this error, then you will need to open a case with Amazon by calling their customer service number at (866) 216-1072.

An Amazon rep will then verify your connection to your barcodes by requiring the following 2 documents:

A copy of the original GS1 Certificate A signed Letter of Affiliation on the Letterhead of the company listed on the GS1 Certificate Once you email those documents to the Amazon rep, your barcodes will be whitelisted, and you will be able to proceed with the process of listing your products.

However, what happens if you can’t provide those 2 documents to the Amazon rep?

If you can’t produce these two documents, then you are simply told to put new barcodes on your products. They then give you the option to buy barcodes directly from GS1 or going to one of the two Amazon certified resellers to purchase barcodes – http://www.buyabarcode.com or https://www.TheBarcodeRegistry.com.

Buyabarcode.com and their partner TheBarcodeRegistry.com are the ONLY sellers whose barcodes will work for all aspects of Amazon, other than GS1. This is because they have purchased all of their barcodes in bulk directly from GS1. This means they can legally provide you with the original GS1 certificate for the barcodes they sell, along with a signed Letter of Affiliation. None of the other super cheap sellers of barcodes can provide those documents. Hence, their barcodes WILL NOT WORK on Amazon.

We recommend going to one of the certified resellers simply because they are dramatically cheaper than GS1, you can purchase barcodes of the exact quantity that you need, and you receive the barcodes back within a few seconds of making your purchase.

So, there you go. In a nutshell, that is the situation with Amazon about their new barcode policy. If you have more questions, we recommend calling Buyabarcode.com at (888) 446- 2633 or TheBarcodeRegistry.com at (858) 519-7771.

If you determine to purchase barcodes, you can use the following coupon code at Buyabarcode.com to save 25% off your order: Visitor25.

I hope you found this article helpful, and it finally answered The Big Amazon Barcode Question!

– Erik Quisling

Erik Quisling is the Founder and CEO of Buyabarcode.com. Started in 1999, Buyabarcode.com has been featured in both The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and has helped more than 100,000 businesses bring their products to market with barcodes.
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