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Amazon & UPC Codes: All the Answers for Amazon Sellers

By Leah McHugh

Leah McHugh covers all the bases for Amazon sellers and UPC codes: where to buy, brands, private labels, bundles and enforcement practices.

Amazon & UPC Codes: All the Answers for Amazon Sellers

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Great post Leah. Am I correct in assuming that one UPC must have only one listing on Amazon? If yes, is there any suggestion for listing products with fitment data such as printer ink, laptop batteries etc.?

The issue here is that the better customer experience is to put the fitment data into the title and list one UPC multiple times with different titles e.g “HP Pavillion dv7-1000 battery”, “HP Pavillion dv7-2000 battery” etc.

With the new UPC policy could we create multiple listings with different titles but the same UPC?

When there


Replying to Question

Unfortunately, some manufacturers do use the same UPC for multiple products, despite the fact that UPC is supposed to stand for UNIQUE Product Code.
You will need to put in a request to the catalog team to split the listing, and they will ask you to provide the product information. The process is outlined here

Sam Whiten

Replying to Leah

Sorry, quick pop in, UPC actually stands for “Universal Product Code”, not “Unique Product Code”. See Wiki:


We have thousands of UPC’s purchased from a third party. We use them to create our own bundles of mixed branded products. When we check the UPC’s for ownership information, the GS1 system responds that there is no record found for owner information (GS1 Japan). Since the results do not find any conflicting ownership information, I’m wondering if those bundles will be safe? We are also updating all of those bundles with our company name for the manufacturer and brand fields, and have removed brand names from the titles and created more generic titles.


Replying to Scott

Without seeing the actual codes, I can only make an educated guess.

If the company prefix does not come up in GEPIR ( GS1’s Company Database), then my guess is that they are not legitimate GTINs or they have expired. Either way, this would make them invalid.

I would suggest contacting GS1 for further information.

Robert Simms

Replying to Leah

Hi Leah, You are correct. That is the key to using legitimate and valid UPC’s or EAN’s. A valid barcode number will have a record in GS1’s database. As I have stated in a previous post here, I am a barcode reseller, having been in business now for 11 years. My customers have not had any problems listing on Amazon using barcodes purchased from me, because I provide them with GS1 compliant, valid UPC barcode numbers. As I stated before what my customers have found is that Amazon is checking for the validity of the barcode number, not a “name… Read more »


Replying to Robert Simms

Would they need to register a UPC they bought from you with GS1? Thanks


Replying to Mark


GS1 will not register the UPCs you buy from Robert. Companies, like Roberts, operate in an area which GS1 does not approve. I disagree with Robert’s comments since Amazon is now using GS1 US’s Data Hub to match the Company Prefix to the brand. Resellers use words like compliant and valid but they really are not the best source for information.


Replying to Scott

Where did you purchase your UPC codes?


Replying to Aaron

Regardless of what some of the reseller have said, you really need to get your own Company Prefix directly from GS1 US. If tomorrow Amazon makes another change , you would be silly to risk getting delisted.


The big problem in the catagory of toys and toy manufactures is that the manufacturers use the same UPC code on many related items. An example would be in diecast cars where a manufactures list the same code for every color or for the same car that is stock and one that is custom. They also sometimes offer the same item with different UPC codes depending on the packaging or special promotion they have offered. The variations can differ greatly and using the manufactures UPC code on Amazon makes it difficult for a buyer to find what they are seaching… Read more »

Jack Phillips

I have seen nothing of this policy in the US. I cannot imagine it will fly very well with manufacturers or sellers in the US. Many manufacturers use recycled numbers – their own or others they have bought. The UPCs are unique to them but no longer match the GTIN database. It also would not be beneficial for consumers as it eliminates lots of bundled buying choices and eliminates a huge part of Amazon’s catalog. It will be interesting to see what happens.


Replying to Jack Phillips

Hi Jack,
The relevant policy page for the US is Amazon’s Product UPCs and GTINs page (Seller Central login required):


Can you explain this in more detail? “The least safe option is to bundle items of different brands, listing the bundle under your own private label, and your own GS1 issued UPC. This is the current loophole which some sellers are taking advantage of to create their own unique listings. I can see this practice coming under scrutiny as more and more sellers attempt to exploit it.” Why do you think that using different brands in a bundle is an issue or an exploit? For example, a S’More’s bundle. Marshmallows, Chocolate, and Graham Crackers. All 3 from different manufacturers. Amazon… Read more »


Replying to Gary

I agree that a bundle like the one your described provides value to the consumer.
The reason I think it will become an issue is because we are already seeing sellers exploit the bundle policy to create duplicate listings and to get around the UPC requirements for Designated Brands Requiring UPCs. For example, a branded item that has been put in a “special” box and then is listed under the sellers PL.


Replying to Leah

Ah, I see what you mean I think. So a PL seller has a registered brand, but begins using their UPC codes for bundles, thus making them their own branded product even though it’s really just a pack of smores.

One thing that seems monopolistic to me is that unused UPC’s can’t be sold to a third party and then registered with GS1. I suppose it would be an administrative nightmare. Still, they’re the only ones that can sell new UPC’s, thus artificially inflating the price beyond their real value.


Hi Leah I started out with private label products last year on Amazon. I bought UPC codes from as that was what was recommended to me at the time. I registered my brand name with Amazon and have UPC as the key attribute. I have built up a lot of reviews on some of the products and it would be a shame to lose them all and start again, especially when newer competitors in the same categories are catching up with me review wise. But I know it would be worse to have my account shut down. You mentioned… Read more »


Replying to Norm

Thanks Norm, As you are already enrolled in Brand Registry, you could you the GCID which is a 16 character ID Amazon assigned to your listings. You can find it in your inventory report. You would need to contact the catalog and ask them to change your key attribute. The GCID can be used across countries. If you have no intention of selling in stores, then I wouldn’t bother using a UPC if you are able to use the exemption. But, if you choose to purchase from GS1, they have offices in most European countries, so you are able to… Read more »


Hi Leah,

Is it not possible to purchase new UPC codes from GS1 and then just change the barcodes round on your existing listings rather than deleting the whole listing.

Or will a change in barcode mean you loose all your data for that listing?



Replying to Abz

Hi Abz,
Unfortunately, it is not possible to change the UPC on an existing listing on Amazon. To change the UPC you need to create a new listing with the correct information and delete the incorrect listing.
Alternatively, if it is your Private Label you can apply for Brand Registry and use something other than UPC as your key attribute. That would remove the incorrect UPC’s from your existing listings.


Hi Leah,

GS1 have UPC and EAN. If I sell only on Amazon usa, which one should I buy?



Replying to Rebecca

Hi Rebecca,
GS1 sell the prefix, which can be used to create both UPCs and EANs.

However, UPCs are used in the USA.


UPDATE: Speedy Barcode has added the following verbiage to their site, addressing Amazon’s policy change: “Amazon has recently updated their company policy and put a barcode ownership verification process in place. At this time, Amazon is using GS1’s GEPIR database as the sole means of verification. We have contacted Amazon to let them know that the database they are using is not current and does not reflect correct ownership information for all of the barcode numbers GS1 has listed, but as per an email from them, they have no plans to change their process. At this time, you have no… Read more »

William Madision

Replying to Leah

We dealt with Speedy Barcode in the past and they have no clue what they are talking about. Go straight to GS1 US.

Robert Simms

Replying to Leah

Absolutely not correct!
As I have stated here before
Amazon is not, I repeat not doing name checks in GS1’s database
What they are checking for is the validity of the code itself
If it is a valid code, the barcode number will have a record in the database, if it is fake, there will be no record
Validity, not name match!

Erik Quivers

Replying to Robert Simms


Do you work for Amazon? There isn’t an official barcode database. GS1 maintains a searchable database of Company Prefixes which can be used to validate If a prefix is uniquely assigned to a brand. I do not work for Amazon nor GS1 but our other retail trading partners follow this process.

Billy Tarter

Hi Leah,

When I’m setting up my company prefix on the GS1 website, do I put my importing LLC as the company name? Or do I put my brand name (very different from my LLC)? I read through their FAQ but couldn’t find the answer. Would prefer LLC, but trying to select the option that won’t get me flagged/suspended by Amazon later.

Thanks for a great article by the way.


Replying to Billy Tarter

Thank you, Billy.

You must register with GS1 using your legal company name. And your should register a DBA for your brand name.

If it came to your listings being blocked because your DBA didn’t match your company name in GS1, you could very easily provide your DBA paperwork and GS1 certificate, proving your codes are legit.

Ronald Shandorf

Replying to Leah

Our entity has a GS1 certificate that we use to assign UPCs to a variety f Brands that we sell… per note above, can I ‘Register MULTIPLE DBAs’ to cover this Amazon requirement? Thks, Ron

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