Barcode Unseen Information

Last Update: 18th October 2021


Have you had 'BARCODE NOT SEEN' on your Royal Mail Invoice ? What does it Mean ?

Not getting the Discount expected ? Read below to try and find the reasons why !


'Barcode Not Seen', means exactly that - The Scanner Cannot 'See' The Barcode.
It is a 'generic term' used by RM, which they use to show 'something is wrong'.

They will not tell you problem, because they do not actually know. They do not and will not stop the machines to investigate further, as it is not financially viable for them.

They have a lot of mail to sort, and they can't keep stopping the machines. Time is money, the more they sort without stopping, the quicker the post gets delivered. They provide a fabulous service to us all.
'Barcode Not Seen', does NOT necessarily mean the Barcode cannot be read\scanned.
There's a huge difference between 'Not Seen' and not being readable or scannable.
RM like to blame the Barcode Image, without even testing it. And then you contact us to investigate further. We already know what the  likely problem is, and it's NOT the Image.

Here's a list of things to check, and the likely reasons for getting 'Barcode Not Seen' on your RM Invoice, and for not getting the Discount :

1) Check previous invoices to see if you've had Barcode Not Seen before:

    If you haven't, then it's very unlikely to be a Barcode Image issue.

    RM will show you how many items are 'Not Seen'. Whatever the numbers are, continue reading ....


2) What type of packaging are you using to send out your mail ?

    The ONLY types of Packaging Allowed, are the following :

    a) PAPER Envelopes, DL, C5, & C4 - not board backed, not padded

    b) POLYTHENE, TIGHTLY WRAPPING your items. Not Loose, nor Flapping


    If you are putting your Barcoded PPI Label onto any of the following, then

    this will be a reason for 'Barcode Not Seen': Padded Envelopes, Jiffy Bags,

    Parcels, Loose Fitting Polybags, Boxes (even if Large Letter Format).


3) Positioning: The Barcode MUST be affixed Top Right Corner of the ENVELOPE,

    as close as possible to the Edges. It must NOT be skewed, it must not have dirty

    finger marks on it. Get the position wrong and you'll get 'Barcode Not Seen'.


4) Your Recipient\Buyers Address Label: Must be typed\printed. It must NOT be

    written by hand. It must be positioned Centre Left of the Envelope. It must NOT

    be anywhere near the Barcode PPI Image. There is a 'Clear Zone' that MUST be

    adhered to around the Barcode Image - you must NOT place or print anything

    near the Barcode. If you do, you'll get 'Barcode Not Seen'.


5) Return Address: This CANNOT be printed onto the same Label as the Barcode.

    Your Return Address MUST be on a separate label, positioned EITHER Top Left

    Corner of your Envelope, or, on the BACK of the Envelope, Centred at the Top.

6) Return Address Size, the type size MUST be smaller than your Recipient Address.

7) If RM send you a blown up picture of the Barcode Image with jagged edges ......

    ALL barcodes printed on Barcode Printers have an element of jagged edges.

    ALL printed images are made up of dots that you can see when super enlarged.

    AND it doesn't matter who has printed the Barcode, it's the same for everyone.


8) Do you use the Barcode Labels for Ebay\Amazon\Etsy\Shopify\ Your Own Website?
    Apparently it is no longer allowed. They've updated their terms, and haven't told you.

    The Service is for use for Direct Mail, Marketing, Invoices, Statements etc., whereby the EXACT SAME TYPE OF item is mailed out in BULK.

    It is not meant for use with a variety of fulfilment items, mailing out 12 today, 52 tomorrow, 4 on another day etc. 

    You wasn't told this either was you.

   You, like us, were initially advised by RM that these new Barcode PPIs are to be used for ALL Letter & Large Letter Post. Therefore we
   all followed the advice and rules from RM, and now it's deemed as incorrect ......


AND FINALLY, yes it IS POSSIBLE  that the Barcode Image is at fault, but for each case we've investigated, it's not been the reason at all. It has always been one or more of the points outlined above - hence the reason for these guidance notes.

We're here to help you, please do get in touch if you need more information.

Thank you.