What is GS1?
GS1 is the largest barcode supplier in the world. They are a membership organisation. This means you apply to join them. Then once that process has been completed, you can use their system to generate barcodes for your product. As a membership organisation, GS1 charges an annual rental fee for barcodes. While different GS1 branches have different barcode distribution models, typically members are entitled to generate thousands or even tens of thousands of barcodes. This tends to suit only very large companies.
Barcodes Australia sells barcodes for a one off cost. Many Australian companies and entrepreneurs choose to source their barcodes from us, rather than GS1 Australia. Whether you need 1 barcode or 1,000, we can supply them to your email inbox within 5 minutes of purchase. If you are interested in buying barcodes, you can Buy Here.
If you are unsure about the process of getting and using barcodes, Contact us and tell us your situation. We will do our best to advise you on the how best to get your products barcoded and into shops worldwide as quickly and efficiently as possible.
A common question about barcodes –
We recently received this question from Paul – “We need max 15 barcodes per annum and currently have a GS1 licence. However, I want to explore sourcing them from 3rd parties. Essentially, my main concern is the legal aspect. To go this route, it must be 100% legal, not a grey area or a legal technicality. Can you confirm what the status is on this?”
Our answer was
“Hi, Paul. Thanks for your email. We can supply alternative retail barcode numbers for you. These are definitely legal and not a grey area or technicality. When we first started this business, I met with a CEO from GS1. He readily admitted that what we were doing was completely legal. He also wasn’t happy with it, as GS1 doesn’t want the competition. If what we are doing is illegal, then GS1 would have a monopoly, which is illegal in modern countries.
In the 1990s, GS1 was established in most parts of the world, licensing their 13-digit barcode numbers to their members. However, a separate organisation in the USA – the United Code Council (UCC), sold 12-digit barcode numbers outright to their members (there were no ongoing license fees). The UCC was effectively competing with GS1. Their 12 digits numbers are effectively a subset of the 13-digit system. In the late 1990s, the UCC merged with GS1, becoming GS1-US.
As part of this change, they decided to start charging annual license fees for all of their members, including those who had paid a one-off fee for barcode numbers in the 1990s. Of course, many of these members weren’t happy with the new annual license fees, and so a group of them ended up in court action with GS1. The members won in the courts in the early 2000s, resulting in a multi-million dollar settlement by GS1. A further consequence of this court case is the proof that the original numbers issued by the UCC in the 1990s are outside of GS1s control now, and hence no license fees are required. These are the numbers we buy in bulk and onsell. They are ‘new’ numbers in that they have never been used on a retail product.
“Thanks so much for your prompt service. I have been in business 30+ years and I have been a member of EAN Australia (GS1 Australia) however over the last 10 years my customer base evolved where it was no longer compulsory to provide Barcodes on the products we sold, so I did not renew my (expensive) annual membership with EAN. It was with considerable dread that I contemplated that for this particular product I had to re-join EAN to get one Barcode (for now). Your business concept is brilliant, your service highly professional and all very convenient saving me heaps of time and money. ” Ross
“Hi David, GS1 are not going to give us back a refund and it works out that they gave us GTINS that we cannot use here. We should have done more research. All our products now have bar codes that were invalid from day 1. Anyway we would like to go ahead with your offer as per the email below and chalk our experience with GS1 up to a very expensive lesson. ” Phoebe
“I have purchased from GS1 (GS1 Australia) and just can’t believe how expensive they are, along with their annual fee. I can’t thank you enough for your company, you have made my day:) I’m so impressed, you have made it so easy and affordable! ” Joanna W