Manufacturers once included user manuals with nearly every product that they sold to consumers. Buyers could then keep the manual to learn about maintenance and repairs that would keep their belongings in top condition. Those who lost their manuals often had to order additional copies from the manufacturer.
Now that nearly half of the world’s population has access to the Internet, manufacturers do not have to invest as much in distributing user manuals. Instead of sending paper copies with every product, companies can simply put their manuals online for customers to access.
Tracking down manuals, however, isn’t always easy. Companies don’t always keep older manuals on their websites. Some may also have outdated versions.
Manuals Online attempts to solve these problems by giving its members access to a huge collection of user manuals. The company does not focus on any specific industry. Instead, it keeps a growing database of manuals about everything from computers to automobiles.
About Manuals Online
Manuals Online is a website based in Boston, Massachusetts that offers access to thousands of product manuals. Members can search for and view manuals for practically any kind of product, including video games, TVs, musical equipment, and household appliances.
Manuals Online also has a support community that can help members find rare manuals. The online support community can also help users better understand problems that they encounter while using products. While many of the problems are answered in user manuals, some are answered by expert members who have experience working with specific types of products.
Manuals Online is one of the biggest resources for people who need to find user manuals no longer offered by product manufacturers. The company claims to have more than 700,000 manuals online. The website also gives its members a virtual file cabinet where they can store and access their manuals.
Top Features of Manuals Online
Manuals Online has a variety of features that can make it easy for people to find the manuals they need. Some of the top features of Manuals Online include:
- Access to over 700,000 user manuals
- A virtual filing cabinet that lets users store their manuals for easy access in the future
- The ability to organize manuals
- Access to a community of knowledgeable consumers who share information with each other
- Newsletters that inform members of product developments that might interest them
- The option to search for user manuals by the product’s name or manufacturer
- The option to search for manuals by product model number
- A large collection of DIY articles so owners can repair products without spending money on professional services
The free virtual filing cabinet is one of Manuals Online’s best features. Members can use it to organize more than just their user manuals. They can also save discussion topics so they will not forget information that they learn from members of the community. Members can also store product details in the virtual filing cabinet. This option helps consumers keep track of when they bought products, when their warranties expire, and when they should service products to keep them in top condition.
Manuals Online Prices
Manuals Online does not charge for its services. Anyone can get a free membership by signing up online. Facebook users can login through their Facebook accounts.
Criticism of Manuals Online
Manuals Online is one of the most popular places for consumers to find user manuals. Over time, though, more members have complained that they cannot find the manuals that they need. This frustration may occur while searching for new and older products.
In some ways, this is a fair criticism. As Manuals Online became more popular, it did not devote more time to collecting rare manuals that some of its members wanted to access. Some members believe the company made a mistake by trying to attract more people instead of working harder to grow its library of manuals.
In other ways, this criticism comes from high expectations that Manuals Online cannot accommodate. As the site became more popular, more people turned to it to find rare user manuals that they couldn’t get elsewhere. Unfortunately, there is only so much that Manuals Online can do to increase its library. It is possible that the company simply cannot find user manuals that were printed decades ago. Expecting them to have manuals from the 80s and 70s is a bit unrealistic.
Manuals Online has also been criticized for its customer services, which are practically non-existent. Customer support is discussed in the next section.
Manuals Online Customer Support
Manuals Online offers minimal customer support services. Realistically, though, few members will ever need to contact the company for customer support. Those who do need help can send an email to the company’s webmaster. It does not publish a customer support phone number, which makes it difficult for many people to get the answers they need.
While Manuals Online does not offer much in the way of customer support, it does have some features that can help users. The company has accounts on Twitter and Facebook. Users can send private or public messages to Manuals Online through those social media platforms.
Users can also ask questions on the Manuals Online community forum. It is unlikely that someone from Manuals Online will respond quickly, but other users may have answers.
If you are the type of person who expects prompt answers to your questions, Manuals Online may not be the right service for you. Then again, the site does have more online user manuals than anyone else. This makes it a useful resource even though it does offer rather poor customer services.
While Manuals Online does not have a great reputation for customer service, it does have a large community of users who help each other. Members who cannot find manuals on the site can reach out to other people in the community. If someone has the needed manual, they can share it.
In this way, Manuals Online has created an environment where many customer service questions get addressed by members instead of company representatives. It isn’t an ideal solution, but it works fairly well.
It is easy to criticize Manuals Online when it does not have the manual that you need. Remember, though, that the website has a database that includes over 700,000 manuals. That is an incredible resource that can help thousands of people who would otherwise not have access to the manuals they need.
In reality, Manuals Online is meeting the needs of a market that didn’t even exist a few decades ago. Members do not have to pay to access these manuals. The company makes money by displaying advertisements on its site. Those who criticize the site may have forgotten how difficult it was to get copies of old manuals before Manuals Online created its database.
The virtual filing cabinet is a great feature that gives consumers more control over how they keep their belongings in good condition. It’s an indispensible feature that everyone should consider using.
Overall, Manuals Online is the best resource for people who need to find new and old user manuals. It is not a perfect site, but it works extremely well and it does not cost any money. When you need to find a user manual, Manuals Online is the best place to start your search. If you cannot find the manual in its catalog, ask the community to help. You may not always find the manual you need, but you have a better chance at Manuals Online than anywhere else.