For most of us the real excitement comes when you open the packaging for your long awaited product, the famous unboxing. Getting it out, fondling the bits, doing assembly, they’re all important parts of the ritual. But the things that usually get lost in the excitement is the user manual, the warranty slip and the receipt.
Who’s worrying about little bits of paper when you’ve got flashing lights and sounds? But a few months later when the handle comes off, you’re going to be scrabbling around hoping you can find those papers when you want to make the claim. Now a service called, strangely, Unioncy is offering an online tracking service which promises to keep track of your purchases automatically, and what’s more they’ll try and identify product manuals and receipts too.
At the moment the service is limited to US Amazon purchases, which means that they log your products by investigating your email receipts from Gmail. Whether you’re happy letting a third party access to your Gmail account is your decision, but if you are, the service will scan the messages and automatically build a database of your purchases quickly and with one click.
Once you get your list, you can drill down to each product and Unioncy will try and deliver a list of useful things associated with it, like the original email receipt and a list of documents, including manuals which go with the product. In our test the service found the receipt fine, but it was definitely not so good on the documentation.
It found some docs, but they were all the wrong product, which was a big disappointing, although the original product was a set of ink cartridges. And when we tried again with a Samsung microSD card, all we got were some Samsung TV manuals. Not very encouraging. There was also no data shown for how long a warranty each product had left, despite there being a column there for it to show. We suspect that’s because the service is mainly geared to the US at the moment.
All in all the idea is not too bad, although it has to be said that Amazon’s own product order feature does almost all of this stuff automatically. It may not show you the receipts as such, but you can search back years for your past orders, and see what they cost and when you bought the item. It’s one of the coolest things Amazon offers.
So we’re not really sure what added value Unioncy gives to the user, apart from the promise to dig up old user manuals, which unfortunately currently doesn’t really work as advertised. It’s clearly early days, and it will be interesting to see how the service develops, but right now we’re not sure we can recommend it as a worthwhile investment in your time.