Why It Is Nearly Impossible To Correctly List Items on Amazon — An Example

ASIN B00000JFC9:

ATB “9PM” 12″ Vinyl

There are at least 18 DIFFERENT versions of this vinyl record issued on various labels across several continents.  This ASIN specifically has UPC code 689289900418 associated with it. 

With the exception of 3 of those 18 releases EVERY DIFFERENT release was issued with a DIFFERENT photograph The photograph shown in ASIN B00000JFC9 is from a  release of the product with UPC code 5026535801269 [Here is a link to a photo of the UPC code on the BACK of the cover shown in listing: http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=4713

The product with UPC code 689289900418 which is listed in ASIN B00000JFC9 DOES NOT have this same cover. [Here is a link to a PHOTO showing UPC code in photos of the ACTUAL picture: http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=69576

The UPC code in ASIN B00000JFC9 is for a Radikal Records double 12″ vinyl record issued in the US.  [http://www.discogs.com/release/69576

ASIN B00000JFC9 has a photo of a single 12″ vinyl record issued in the UK on a label called Ministry of Sound.  http://www.discogs.com/ATB-9PM-Till-I-Come/release/4713

The track listing provided does not match ANY of the 18 known releases however is closest to the one with UPC code 689289900418, corresponding to ASIN B00000JFC9
The track listing provided in ASIN B00000JFC9 is missing the last track which is located on the product containing the associated UPC code 5026535801269. 

When I attempted to list this product for sale I DID NOT SEE one that had the same cover as the version I have.  http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=69576 IN FOLLOWING policies, as mine had a valid UPC code, I attempted to create a NEW listing for MY version of the product.  When attempting to save my new listing, the listing software says there was ALREADY a product with the UPC code matching the one I was trying to use, 689289900418. 

Amazon fails to acknowledge the possibility that there could be 2 different releases with the same UPC code [although in this case a previous seller apparently took the unused UPC code from this release and added a photo of their [different] release of the product.  Based on the negative experience I have had with Amazon’s seller support when it comes to multiple releases with the same UPC code I chose not to bother opening a seller support request about my having a product which LOOKED different from the one in the photo.  The typical response when identifying varying releases with the same UPC code from seller support is to go to GS1.org and BUY a NEW UPC code — which is not even possible as GS1.org only sells prefixes, not individual codes AND they sell these to manufacturers of products, not people who need a different UPC code because a PREVIOUS seller uploaded the WRONG photo of an item in order to sell theirs. The recommendation from seller support to purchase a UPC code from GS1.og is not even a legitimate recommendation as this can NOT be done.

As I was unable to create a NEW listing for MY product with this UPC code & Amazon is under the impression that the UPC code is a unique distinguishing attribute, I was forced to list my item using the existing listing instead of creating the new listing.  [There were NO OTHER SELLERS of the record at that time]. 

My experience has been that when there is ALREADY an existing photo in a listing, I am UNABLE to add ADDITIONAL photos to that listing automatically.  Adding photos when one already exists or attempting to replace an existing photo is a lengthy ordeal which must be addressed via a seller support ticket and the issue is only addressed some of the time.  In most cases I receive a canned response about a buyer bid box and my inability to modify [an INCORRECT] listing created by ANOTHER SELLER despite the fact I am the ONLY ONE selling the product at the time.  An explanation which to be perfectly honest takes longer to write then it would have to upload the correct photo to the listing.  In some cases I am told my ticket is transferred to another team, my request is marked ‘answered’ and I completely lose the ability to track the ongoing progress of the request which most often is NEVER ADDRESSED. 

For the reasons stated above, I DID NOT bother wasting my time uploading a photograph. 

The track listing was missing the last track of the record, however there IS NO RELEASE which has the track listing shown therefore I assumed this to be a MISTAKE.  In the past 100% of the requests I have opened to correct a track listing have been DENIED as I am informed that seller support does not have the ability to modify this information and I am referred to another department that is not applicable to me as a seller. 

In an effort to FOLLOW Amazon POLICIES & ensure that I was doing everything I POSSIBLY could to see that I clearly identified the product for sale, I used the ONLY editable section of the listing [the condition notes] to accurately explain the ERRORS in Amazon’s listing of ASIN 689289900418.  As there are 18 DIFFERENT releases of this vinyl record listed in the title, I provided potential buyers with the UPC code CORRESPONDING to the ASIN under which the product is listed.  Factual information which Amazon INTENTIONALLY HIDES from buyers [from best I can tell in an outright effort to confuse buyers and not allow them to clearly differentiate between various listings] I provided the UPC code located on my product which MATCHED the ASIN I was using [the one that came up when I attempted to create a new listing with that ASIN].  I also wanted to ensure potential buyers did not have a false expectation that they would receive the UK single record version on Ministry of Sound Records shown in the photograph [which DOES NOT have the same UPC code as the product in this ASIN] so I explained another seller had INCORRECTLY uploaded a DIFFERENT PHOTO of a DIFFERENT release and I was unable to load the correct photo automatically on my own. 

I ensured that I was selling the CORRECT UPC code for this ASIN.  I validated that the photo shown was NOT a variation under the same UPC but an outright INTENTIONAL ERROR from another seller who previously MISUSED the listing.  I provided a detailed description of the CORRECT product corresponding to the UPC code  went out of my way to ensure that potential buyers understood EXACTLY what they would receive when purchasing this record to ensure they would not want to leave negative feedback or find it necessary to return the item.

As far as I am concerned, it is Amazon establishes policies directed  at misleading or confusing potential buyers when it comes to CD & Vinyl products. 

I have seen multiple product reviews by which sellers ARE UNABLE to DIFFERENTIATE between various releases of a single title because of the following policies in place regarding Amazon’s listing.  I have brought these issues up to seller support & Amazon’s done nothing to address them.

[1] They INTENTIONALLY HIDE the UPC code from potential buyers, the UPC code being one of several potentially differentiating pieces of information buyers could potentially use to distinguish between various releases of the same song title.  This also leads to significant confusion for inexperienced sellers who DO NOT see a UPC code on the initial listing page so they use the wrong listings.

[2] They REFUSE to allow potentially distinguishing information from being properly entered in fields & displayed alongside other important information.  This information includes the label catalog number [which often varies even when the UPC code may be the same], the matrix / runout information [different for each release], the release year & number of tracks.  While some of this information CAN be entered in the product listing.  NONE OF IT IS DISPLAYED for users to see!!!  This leads to significant confusion FOR SELLERS of products where there are various DIFFERENT releases of the SAME title that have the SAME UPC codes.  If SELLERS are confused, it can be assumed BUYERS are confused.  This is vital information that should be REQUIRED for all listings and clearly displayed along with the title artist & label information.

[3]  The track listing information CAN NOT BE ENTERED or CORRECTED by a seller thus regardless of the UPC code, label catalog number or any other distinguishing information, buyers looking for a specific version or remix of a song can not be sure WHICH of the multiple ASINS for the same title/song name the version if the song they are looking for is on.  SOME of their listings have track information.  OTHERS do not.  Those which DO NOT have track information DO NOT allow this information to be entered by sellers such that it appears in the same manner that the listings including this information display it.  Those listings which DO have track listings DO NOT contain the running time of such tracks.  For example, believe it or not, there is actually ANOTHER release of the ATB 9PM song title with the SAME EXACT UPC code as described above [it also DOES NOT CONTAIN the cover photo shown in their listing].  Both listings are double 12″ US releases from Radikal Records with the same label catalog number but different color labels.  The ONLY distinguishing information outside of the label color is the LENGTH of the first track listing [all of the remixes/tracks are titled exactly the same on both releases].  Therefore the ONLY MEANS of distinguishing information between these two releases [which look very different] is information they DON’T ALLOW to be entered and DON’T Display for users.  Vinyl collectors are VERY SPECIFIC with what they want and DO NOT want to be ‘surprised’.  As there are 18 DIFFERENT releases of the single song. ATB “9PM” including 2 with the SAME UPC code, Amazon doesn’t provide potential buyers enough information to clearly distinguish between multiple similar song titles to determine if a listing is indeed the one they are looking for.

Click on ‘more images and there are photos to verify the labels DO indeed show ALL of the EXACT same information except for the length of the first track.

[4] The country of origin is not clearly displayed for those items designated as imports.  While there are various fields available to designate the import status of a CD, there is no consistent place that sellers are REQUIRED to enter the country which is displayed IMMEDIATELY alongside the import designation.  I have NEVER in my significant experience in the record/cd industry seen a CD or vinyl record designated as an import without providing a specific COUNTRY listing.  Import should not even be a valid selection unless the COUNTRY name is REQUIRED and displayed clearly for buyers alongside the import designation.

[5] Amazon allows ANYONE the ability to upload photos of ANYTHING they want to ANY listing in their catalog as a buyer and don’t CLEARLY separate those ‘customer’ uploaded photos from validated seller photos.  When a customer photo is IDENTIFIED TO Amazon as being incorrect for a specific UPC code listing they’ll REFUSE to remove the photograph citing that it is NOT in violation of their photo policies.  How is this NOT confusing for buyers?  I spend time taking and uploading photos of the ACTUAL item being sold.  Someone else uploads photo of a DIFFERENT [possibly more expensive and rare] release, the photos are displayed NEXT TO EACH other from the buyers perspective and suddenly buyers have the false expectation they will be receiving the more expensive, rare product SHOWN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH thus causing them to be UNHAPPY with their purchase!  How am I supposed to ensure listings clearly and accurately describe the product when they allow anyone under the sun to upload whatever they want & show those customer photos NEXT TO MINE?  Without any CLEAR and CONCISE separation or identification that the first photos are from the seller and represent the item being sold and the others are [unverified] random photos of whatever someone felt like uploading that day?  Amazon is causing false expectations from buyers because they do not [a] validate uploaded photos ARE of the same UPC as the product being sold [b] display the random invalidated photos alongside seller provided photos [c] do not clearly indicate to potential buyers that those photos [not clearly marked] which are ‘customer uploaded’ MAY NOT REPRRESNT the actual product being sold [d] DO NOT OFFER a means for sellers to ‘report’ those uploaded photos which are from different products [photo reports can only be opened against those photos which were uploaded by a seller] and [e] OUTRIGHT REFUSE to remove photographs which a seller has CLEARLY IDENTIFIED as INCORERECT and MISLEADING to potential buyers. 

Meanwhile as a seller when I attempt to report an incorrect photo [from another seller] and request the correct photo be uploaded, I am hassled, argued with, required to spend significant amounts of time uploading photos of UPC codes [which the first seller — uploading the WRONG picture in the first place — was never asked to do].  Once I’ve proven that I DO INDEED have the correct photograph for a UPC code, NOTHING IS DONE ANYWAY. I’m told that there is already a product under that UPC code and despite it having the wrong photo [making it a completely invalid listing using that UPC code] I am [incorrectly] told to go out and purchase a UPC code for my product [WHICH ALREADY HAS A VALID UPC CODE] and given the URL for the organization which DOES NOT ISSUE individual UPC codes, all because some savvy previous seller took a listing with a valid UPC code and used it to sell their a product that likely DIDN’T CONTAIN a UPC Code uploading a photo of the product THEY have despite it not matching the UPC code.  As the end result is that the photo usually isn’t corrected, it isn’t worth my time PROVING that the item I have IS the one which correctly has the UPC code. 



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