How to Find Purchase Information From the Proof of Purchase Number

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Purchase information can be obtained from reviewing the proof of purchase number, which can be found as part of the UPC code. A UPC is a Universal Product Code made up of twelve numbers that identify a company's unique product through a combination of company numbers and product numbers. Company numbers are assigned by GS1 US (formerly the Uniform Code Council), a nonprofit agency. There are also European Article Numbers. The difference between the two is the EAN uses a country code, manufacturer code and product code. The UPC is going to typically be found in the United States.

UPCs originated in the United States; EANs originated in Europe.
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Count the numbers, and decide if you are working with a UPC or an EAN number. While UPCs have 12 numbers, EANs are made up of 13 numbers.

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Determine the company to which the product belongs. The beginning six to 10 numbers of a UPC are called the "Company Prefix." These numbers represent a particular company and are located on all of the company's products. There are websites that support barcode databases that can be used to match the numbers with the company they represent.

Many companies are more than happy to provide a list of their UPCs upon request
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Identify the product numbers. Product numbers signify individual items. These can be two to five digits depending on the length of the company number. You must be able to identify the company before determining the product number. To identify the product, contact the company or go online and search UPC databases.

Tips

  • Calling or e-mailing a particular company may be the easiest way to obtain the most adequate and up to date product information.

Warnings

  • Companies often make the mistake of attempting to create their own UPCs. This must be done through GS1.

References

About the Author

Georgia native Nicole Tibbs began her writing career in 2004 as the parenting/education columnist for "The Calhoun Times." Her column features everything from family travel adventures and experiences to covering significant health issues. Tibbs is a full-time special educator and obtained her Master of Education in educational leadership from Kennesaw State University.

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