GS1 and barcode purchasing


#41

LukeA is right, in our professional experience almost all eBay sellers selling “amazon UPCs” are almost guaranteed to be illegal. They may work, but betting your business on dodging a lawsuit from the real owner is not a long term goal one should have.

Let us count the ways:

  1. No phone number.
  2. No address.
  3. No BBB information (or any verifying info)
  4. No skin in the game (cost is so low even if they don’t work the buyer doesn’t care)

How is this possible? It’s easy, there’s 13 digits in an EAN #, 12 of those are the unique number portion, that leaves about 1 Trillion GTINs that GS1 then apportions to the entire globe, not all of those are used for retail products, so these “ebay sellers” make up codes and the odds of two of their clients using the same made up code in the same store (since stores do not share POS systems) is greater then winning the lottery twice in a row. So the buyers on ebay have rave reviews due to them not understanding statistics.

How is that legal? It isn’t. These ebay sellers are such small fish that GS1 doesn’t care. Plus the types of entrepreneurs that fall for this (assuming it’s true ignorance) or believe they’ll succeed with this mentality honestly do not make it.

Save yourself the headache and make sure you’re working with a legal company that has a phone number AND an address AND is BBB verified etc. It’s not worth a lawsuit to save a few bucks on a barcode when owning legally is so cheap already.

For more on this topic you can search for “16000020190-why-should-i-purchase-from-bar-codes-talk-instead-of-directly-from-gs1-” using any search engine.

Moderator Edit (Chris_Mod_Amazon): External URL Removed


#43

Nice Thread, Keeping it alive…


#44

GS1 Barcodes are definitely required because they have been rigorously cracking down on registered GTIN UPC-12 barcodes. GS1 is becoming the monopoly of all regulated barcodes (I’ve dealt with it in the US and in Canada).

They are continuously becoming more and more strict, as to not become like ebay - a free for all.

My clients listings have been rejected if not in the GS1 database. So I would suggest to anyone wondering about their products UPC or “Product ID” - get the GS1.org account and stay safe. You don’t want to be shut down later on just because the barcode isn’t registered to your company brand name.

The only other option is to BRAND REGISTER your products, which requires a trademark number. Then, if you’re brand registered Amazon doesn’t require the “product ID” field when creating listings.

Food for thought. Good luck everyone.


#45

I’m still (as a new Amazon seller) very confused regarding this whole GS1 coding stuff. It appears that an individual seller selling new things (unused) they acquired years ago do NOT need GS1 bar codes.

However, I read on BarCodesTalk the following statement:

"Amazon does enforce their UPC Policy if you registered for their Brand Program. 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. This essentially means 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 our UPC and EAN Barcodes without issue and save a ton of money at the same time."

Is this still true today, in the year 2020?


#46

If it had a barcode originally, then it should be good. If it didn’t have a barcode, you will probably need one. The manufacturer is supposed to be entity to acquire and maintain the barcodes. Sellers (mostly selling knock-offs, and other junk) have found that if they put a UPC code they could circumvent some of Amazon’s safeguards. So Amazon is becoming more strict regarding UPC’s and the underlying GS1 information.


#47

You are not missing anything. Yes the cost may seem high, but it is not, it is the same cost that all real businesses pay so they can sell their products nationally and internationally. When you buy them from GS1 they are registered in your company’s name. When you display your products at trade shows hoping to get picked up by national chain stores, they expect it. Since you are telling Amazon you are a brand owner, Amazon expects it. Now if you buy fake UPC’s on eBay, they certainly will not be registered to your company/brand, and will let everybody who scans the number know your product is a fake. That leaves you the decision to make. Do you want to start off in the right direction or wrong direction? :train2:


#48

Glad to clarify the misconceptions that are so very common in this industry.

Overpaying for a barcode does not make a business legitimate, usually it just makes them have less capital and be stuck in a licensing agreement hoping to make back the thousands paid to GS1 for a few barcode numbers.

Due to GS1-USA’s 2002 class-action settlement, any business can buy and own their GTINs for life. GS1 obviously is not happy with this or the fact that they had to settle that class action suit in the first place, but there is nothing they can do legally to stop or hinder any business from owning their GTINs, outright, for life.

GS1 is not a goverment organization that creates laws, they are a barcode standards organization that for 30 years sold barcodes in bulk to companies from 1973 until 2002. That is when they switched to renting and recycling barcodes. It wasn’t until they tried to back-date their new lucrative rental model onto their 30 years of client/owners that the class-action lawsuit erupted and was settled.

Going forward, any company that wants to legally own a GTIN can and does, simply by buying one from a legal seller or if they are grandfathered in under the terms of that settlement (had a prefix prior to August 28th 2002).

The notion that owning a GTIN vs renting makes it fake needs clarified. If you do not research whom you buy from and get an illegal barcode from a scam site (like ebay sellers) whom have subsequently been litigated against and removed, then yes, that is a fake barcode and common sense should have lead to that transaction never happening in the first place.

The issue here is that Amazon does not educate anyone on how their system truly works, they just trust that you’ll figure it out over time, this extends to barcodes as well. We know that for the vast majority of amazon sellers, about 98%, renting is not needed. It is only Brand-Registry that requires renting from GS1, and even then you can get a GTIN exemption and not have need of barcodes at all. The other 98% of sellers can save thousands, invest that wisely on their growing business and maybe one day, once they have patents and trademarks, join B.R. and consider renting from GS1 if it suits them.

We strive to educate on how things work on a technical level, as Amazon is not a one-size-fits-all platform, the same goes for barcodes.


#49

@Bar_Codes_Talk,

Your sort of correct and also completely disingenuous. Yes, barcodes prior to 2002 are ‘lifetime’ or owned. But no they aren’t truly transferable.

You also fail to advise that pre 2002 GTIN’s granted ‘lifetime’ status if the original member does not maintain his GS1 membership are not maintained in perpetuity in the GS1 master database and can’t be relied upon to work with modern POS systems or be used to verify a products information, etc.

Additionally, there is no way to verify that a GTIN is a genuine pre-2002 ‘lifetime’ GTIN. Nor is there anyway to verify that the seller is the one and only owner of GTIN. Therefore it is NOT advisable to advocate purchasing these or any GTIN.

Furthermore, it is wrong of you to false claim you are renting a GTIN. You are granted license to a specific number of GTINs with a paid GS1 membership, the funds are used to maintain the master GS1 database, and GS1 standards.

The benefits from a GS1 membership are not the GTIN (although may imagine that they just need the GTIN or even a/the UPC), the benefit is the master GTIN database and assorted ANSI standards your membership pays to support and maintain. Which make POS, Amazon’s catalogue, and worldwide logistics possible.


#50

Unfortunately we’ll have to agree to disagree on multiple points.

Yes, barcodes prior to 2002 are ‘lifetime’ or owned. But no they aren’t truly transferable.

Any Prefix that was part of the UCC Settlement is a legal asset of the original purchaser. If this is an asset and not under any licensing agreement then yes they would be transferable just like any other asset.

You also fail to advise that pre 2002 GTIN’s granted ‘lifetime’ status if the original member does not maintain his GS1 membership are not maintained in perpetuity in the GS1 master database and can’t be relied upon to work with modern POS systems or be used to verify a products information, etc.

This is completely false. Pre 2002 Prefixes have no obligation to pay into GS1 or be forced to do anything with GS1. Every Pre 2002 GTIN works perfectly fine with any POS System, if your going to make such wild claims please provide proof. The only issue that arises is if a particular store forces their supplier to rent from GS1. In this case, it is the store causing the problem and not the barcode itself. If you have information to the contrary please post any evidence as we’re always looking to update our information.

Additionally, there is no way to verify that a GTIN is a genuine pre-2002 ‘lifetime’ GTIN. Nor is there anyway to verify that the seller is the one and only owner of GTIN. Therefore it is NOT advisable to advocate purchasing these or any GTIN.

This is also completely false. UCC Prefix purchases have certificates that show when they purchased and were assigned the prefix. Only the original purchaser of the prefix was provided this certificate. Aside from that, the UCC used to provide marketing lists separated by month/year of anyone that purchased a prefix from them which they then sold to labeling companies.

Furthermore, it is wrong of you to false claim you are renting a GTIN. You are granted license to a specific number of GTINs with a paid GS1 membership, the funds are used to maintain the master GS1 database, and GS1 standards.

If you pay an annual fee for something and you do not own it, it is renting. Furthermore if you fail to pay this “license fee”, GS1 has the right to take back the numbers. This is all listed in the agreement on the back of your GS1 Prefix certificate and in their Terms of Service. I’m not sure what “Renting” has to do with maintaining the GS1 database or standards in this context.

The benefits from a GS1 membership are not the GTIN (although may imagine that they just need the GTIN or even a/the UPC), the benefit is the master GTIN database and assorted ANSI standards your membership pays to support and maintain. Which make POS, Amazon’s catalogue, and worldwide logistics possible.

I’m sure businesses like Amazon (and other large retailers) love that millions of small and medium sized businesses are paying for something that they decided was mandatory. Forcing these businesses to pay high upfront costs for their barcodes along with annual fees on a system that should be completely paid for and maintained by a consortium of the largest retailers. What GS1 has accomplished is great, however what they charge is not even close to a fair for new businesses.

We’re here for those businesses that are just starting off but are required to get a barcode number that’s genuine. There’s many that see the value in that even if you don’t.


#51

First, there are many legal assets, both tangible and intangible, that are non-transferable.

Finally, Modern POS system require nothing more from the merchant than to enter the GTIN or scan the UPC then enter the price and inventory. The product information (weight, dimensions, description, name, manufacturer) are all dynamically populated from the master database. {as an aside - Many of Amazon.com’s current catalogue issues would not exist if Amazon had forced GTIN lookup and comparison with the GS1 master database from the beginning} Modern inventory control and logistic systems just scan the UPC on the pallet, box, etc. when a product enters/leaves, or is moved around a facility (or even broken down from pallet to case to individual item) and again any needed information is dynamically populated from the GS1 master database and appropriate inventory is created, added, or subtracted automatically in the appropriate database(s). This allows logistic companies and warehouse to automatically calculate freight or shelf weights accurately and automatically and to know where across the globe every item is at any given time. Coupled with data analytics a warehouse on the west coast can ship a pallet of something to a warehouse on the east coast that doesn’t have enough to fulfill a order from a distribution point or store before the it runs out automatically (For example)

Without the Standards and Maintenance that GS1 membership supports, Amazon, Wal-Mart and thousands of other large and small companies couldn’t operate efficiently or on such a large scale or cohesively. Of course you know all this, so why imply that this is arbitrary or useless or expensive. Let’s be honest if the extremely nominal fee (just for comparison it costs more to register a commercial vehicle every year in New York than the lowest GS1 membership) for annual GS1 membership is ‘expensive’ there is no way that a business is equipped or prepared to provide their product or service on the scale that is required of the customer or industry that business intends to service.


#52

First, there are many legal assets, both tangible and intangible, that are non-transferable.

Sure, but those assets are part of a contract or under certain terms of service. When the lawsuit against the UCC/GS1 happened it essentially made those terms null and void thus there was nothing contractually stopping any of the assets (Prefixes) from being sold, which if we’re staying on topic is what this is about.

Modern POS system require nothing more from the merchant than to enter the GTIN or scan the UPC then enter the price and inventory.

A “Modern POS system” is something you made up. The majority (say 99%) of any Point of Sale system does not use what you describe. They either have the supplier manually enter the information or they aggregate that information from a system that services multiple retailers.

The rest of your reference is standard logistics and works if the information was provided by the supplier or if it was pulled from one of the many databases that exist to hold product information.

Without the Standards and Maintenance that GS1 membership supports, Amazon, Wal-Mart and thousands of other large and small companies couldn’t operate efficiently or on such a large scale or cohesively.

No one here is arguing that what GS1 has provided wasn’t needed. It’s strange that you would phase this in such a way considering that the companies you mentioned are on the board of governors for GS1 and originally the UCC’s original committees were formed by companies such as General Foods, Kroger, and Winn-Dixie. My point is that the UCC used to charge a fraction of the cost initially to businesses but since forming GS1 and without an annual fee. To put this in clearer perspective, GS1’s lowest rate is currently $25 per barcode + Annual Fees, whereas it was $0.003/barcode previously with no annual fee.

So my point is that GS1 overcharges regardless of if you believe that businesses can burden these charges or not. The companies that “couldn’t operate as efficiently or on such a large scale” should be the ones paying into GS1 for the majority of what they supply but instead they are on various boards collecting a paycheck as they force you into their system.

Once again, the system that’s been created is great, useful, and very much needed. The way that it’s funded and maintained could be better for new businesses.


#53

It’s how all standard settings bodies are generally setup. I pay AWPA (American Wood Protection Association - Standards for wood preservation) a lot of money to have a seat at the big boy table. I pay the ICC (International Code Council - Standards such as International Building Codes, International Residential Codes, Plumbing, Fire, etc.) a mere $500 a year to get notifications of pending standards changes, and a small discounts on the new code books, etc.).

The bigger your need for a particular Standard, the more you are willing to invest (time and money). Standards are important to every industry, they are also very expensive to maintain and continue to develop as technology, attitudes, and politics shift and change. Take wood preservation, in the late 1800’s everybody treated wood (utility poles, bridges, railroad ties, marine pilings, foundations) with creosote because it worked and Then technology brought new information and a heightened awareness for health, safety, and the environment and people began to have serious concerns about the impact of creosote on their health and the environment. If it wasn’t for the exhaustive scientific research, debate and testing paid for by AWPA and it’s members and the open and public peer review and debate, new preservatives could not have been adopted and creosote phased out of general use. The general public doesn’t really care about the millions of dollars or the years spent, they just want to know that the electric pole isn’t going to fall on their house and know that the wood deck in their home or restaurant won’t collapse under them.

Same thing with GS1, if you want to sell and ship your product/service on a large and/or global scale you need the GS1 Standards, GTINs, and barcodes, etc. And that costs alot of money. Kroger isn’t the juggernaut that it was half a century ago, but Amazon and Wal-mart are so they have assumed the vast majority of the expense of the Standards. Someday, Amazon and Wal-Mart will be surpassed by more nimble and innovative companies and then they will be happy to let those guys bear the bigger portion of the expense.

But just like every building inspector in the United States joins the ICC and buys the code books, every manufacturer that wants to trade in the big global market (because that is how they will reach the most customers) has to join the GS1 and put a valid UPC on their product packaging.


#54

That was very well put. I agree with everything you said except for that Amazon and Wal-Mart have assumed the vast majority of the expense of the Standards. There’s simply no proof of Wal-Mart, Amazon, or any other major company assuming the vast majority of expenses. However there is proof that GS1 increased costs exponentially across the board for everyone else. Also note that we’re just listing two large companies, however as you know every retailer across the globe uses barcodes. It would be a drop in the bucket for the top 100 retailers to budget in the GS1 Standards as they benefit the most from it and allow new companies a minimal entry fee as they did before with the UCC.

Either way this argument is completely moot regardless as GS1 has more than enough money coming in to sustain themselves as you can see with their finance reporting. Again we’re here to save new businesses some money. When they are more stable and ready to have a seat at the “boy boy table” as you put it, they can pay into GS1. While this means they may have to relabel, at that point they’ve taken that expense into consideration and are healthy enough to do so with a proven product.


#55

So if I buy a pre-2002 bar code and someone goes to the GS1 database to look it up are they going to see my company name or the random company that purchased it decades ago?

I recently listed a grocery product that was not on Amazon - though several other products from the manufacturer were. I did find an old listing that had been out of stock for 2-3 years but the previous seller bundled a recipe (probably the one on the back of the package) to ensure that they could kick off anyone else who tried to sell on that listing for not selling the same product - the grocery item and the recipe.

Of course the UPC listed was not the UPC for that product. When I looked it up on GS1 it was registered to “Kansas Showerhead Company” or something similar. The person who created that listing obviously bought a UPC somewhere so that anyone scanning the real UPC on that product with the Amazon Seller App would not see it.


#56

So if I buy a pre-2002 bar code and someone goes to the GS1 database to look it up are they going to see my company name or the random company that purchased it decades ago?

No, they would see the original company that purchases the prefix. However no one does this except the few specific companies that force/require you to rent from GS1. Amazon doesn’t even do this unless you are registered with their Brand Protection program.

Unfortunately I can’t speak to the rest of your post as I’m unsure of the reasons why someone would do that. Usually you would just use the UPC/Barcode that already exists on the product unless they were trying to get around something. Normally you would only want to purchase a barcode for a new/unbarcoded product.


#57

If you are not a member of GS1 using GTINs created specifically for your product using the Data Hub, the only guarantee when someone scans your UPC is that it won’t say your company, and your product.

I am always amazed when I hangout at certain stores (Sears Hometown, Ace Hardware, I don’t see this trend at Sam’s Club or Target) how many customers will scan certain items (faucets, disposals, power tools, generally items near or over $50.00) with their phones to read reviews and compare prices. Not scientific but just a guess it is around 5% of shoppers appear to be doing this. If the price isn’t competitive and positive reviews can’t be found they won’t make buy that product.

Again, not scientific but I think around half are using Amazon’s app but others are using other products. Regardless these apps are most likely using the GS1 database. So @ABQ_Fulfillment’s observation has merit. It should also be noted that if you want to list on Amazon’s EU market’s Amazon does have more stringent catalogue requirements which include comparing the information to the GS1 database.

If you are a new business starting out, you need to make decisions about sales and distribution channels, if you believe in your product and think it has appeal then you should probably join GS1 and do things the right way. In the same way that you should probably pay your taxes, and package your product properly, and register your trademarks and copyrights. These all entail a certain amount of expense, but the small outlay is to protect your business and products.

Consider what happens if you get an inauthentic complaint on Amazon. If Amazon decides to use the GS1 database as a portion of their process to verify the veracity and your trademarked and patented product doesn’t match the GS1 database. Wouldn’t it be logical to assume that the complaint had merit and suspend your listing and selling privileges’? But if the Trademark, patent, GS1 and Amazon Seller Account info all match it might take a slightly different less draconian approach? If I were Amazon I would certainly be looking at every tool that I had available to handle the issue as quickly and as quietly as possible. Amazon doesn’t want to have a catalogue full of knock-off counterfeits, but they also don’t want legitimate sellers to be disrupted or angered by false claims. I would guess if it isn’t already used in some fashion it will be in the near future for these types of situations, and possibly others as well.


#58

Yes, they were trying to get around something by creating a bundle. Other sellers would not be able to sell on that listing because they were not providing the same recipe. The original seller could perform a test buy from anyone else trying to sell that product and claim the item was “not as described” if it didn’t include the exact same recipe. However, Amazon’s policy is not to allow you to use the UPC for one product for a bundled product that was not created by the manufacturer; either a multi-pack or one with multiple products (say a shampoo and conditioner set). So if I want to sell a bundled product that I just created I go buy a UPC off eBay and slap that on my new product and spend $5 instead of hundreds or thousands to go through GS1. As you pointed out, most of the time no one will ever check and call you out.


#59

Interesting, but be careful with eBay and other listing websites. We’ve helped remove over 200 sellers and 1500+ listings that were selling illegitimate “made-up” barcode numbers, probably even some that you previously purchased from if you used eBay.


#60

I missed a word in my previous post ‘I “could” go buy a UPC off eBay’. I have not in the past and I do not plan to in the future as I know that is a scam. I saw that with this other example where someone else had tried to be clever and keep away competitors by creating a bundle with a UPC that did not match up with the brand they were selling. I’ll continue to sell on listings created using the correct UPC - even if I face competition from other sellers.


#61

Can you buy a prefix for 10 items and make your own UPC for the additional items?