On Amazon’s seller central help section, there is an article titled “Valid UPCs” which states:

“We verify the authenticity of product UPCs by checking the GS1 database. UPCs that do not match the information provided by GS1 will be considered invalid. We recommend obtaining your UPCs directly from GS1 (and not from other third parties selling UPC licenses) to ensure the appropriate information is reflected in the GS1 database.

Important: All invalid product UPC listings will be removed and may result in your ASIN creation or selling privileges being temporarily or permanently removed. For more information on licensing UPCs from GS1, see the GSI standard website.”

Let’s analyze this a little further and break it down!

Amazon DOES verify the authenticity of any submitted product UPCs by referencing the GS1 database. This policy is only about 5-6 years old. Before this policy came into effect, you could essentially create your own UPC’s without purchase by randomizing the check-digit and repeat the process until Amazon accepted the submission. With this being a potentially catastrophic situation, it is actually a great thing that Amazon instituted this policy.

Amazon DOES NOT consider your UPC invalid if the information does not match that which is in the GS1 database. The GS1 database is the only source of this information which names the owner of the UPC Prefix and their address. Amazon does not require UPC’s to have a matching owner/manufacturer/business name to be used.

Amazon DOES recommend obtaining UPCs directly from GS1. As stated, this is simply a recommendation. Since Amazon does not require the UPC information to match the seller’s product information in the GS1 GEPIR database, this is not a requirement. However, this could foreshadow an upcoming change to this policy. If that’s the case, Nationwide Barcode WILL keep our consumers informed of this.

The most provocative and concerning statement within the “Valid UPCs” article, states that Amazon will remove any invalid product UPC listings potentially resulting in the permanent or temporary revocation of selling privileges or ASIN creation. The way Amazon is structured, you are not able to submit an invalid UPC in the first place, therefore the product simply never goes up for sale. This is essentially a scare-tactic to push the seller to follow Amazon’s “Valid UPCs” suggestion/recommendations/guidelines to the T. If you are unable to put the product for sale because the system won’t accept the UPC, at what point are you going to be banned temporarily or permanently from selling your products? If that were the case, every seller that “accidentally” input a UPC number incorrectly, would be at immediate risk of such an outcome.

The bottom line here is that Amazon’s focus is to clean up and streamline the way they do business, albeit at the expense of the seller. Amazon doesn’t want ANY duplicate products for sale. The most direct and effective way to go about this is to collaborate with the GS1 and influence sellers to purchase UPCs from them, exclusively, by intimidating them with misleading language. Quite possibly, in the future, Amazon WILL find a way to ensure that ONLY GS1 UPCs are used by sellers. But, for now, you can purchase your UPCs from Nationwide Barcode, own your UPCs, and have confidence that they will work when selling your products on Amazon.