Pros: Usually reliable, could replace a fax machine for some users.
Cons: $12.95 a month if free service expires, may not have local number
I work from home and needed to receive faxes occasionally. I started out with the free service, but quickly exceeded my limit and now must pay a monthly fee.
HOW IT WORKS
You have to decide if you want to start with the free trial or if you want to start paying immediately. Keep in mind that the "free" service charges .10 per page to send faxes. It is only free to receive them. Also, outgoing faxes in the "free" service may have advertisements tucked into the margins of your documents.
On the site (www.efax.com) you can download software that will enable you to read your faxes. They will also assign you a fax number. For the free service, you can not get a local number. However, even with the pay service, they don't guarantee a local number.
When you receive a fax, you get an email notification. You click on a link in the email which opens the efax software and you can view the fax. At that point, you can print it. You can also save it to your hard drive. Efax does not store your faxes, but you can leave them on your email. Long faxes come in large files so they take up a lot of space on your email.
If you want to send a fax, you can email the document to efax. There are other ways to integrate efax into your computer systems as well, although they are beyond my technical ability.
Once you receive a fax, you can email it to anyone else. That person needs to download the free software to be able to read the fax. I love this feature because it makes for an easy way to pass around information. You can also store faxes on your computer instead of keeping them in paper form.
Another nice feature is that you can view faxes before deciding to print them and you don't have to print every page. This can save on paper and ink.
The web site is easy to understand and navigate. It also loads quickly. There are live customer service reps. available to chat. You can view your account on the site as well.
With the "free" service, you can receive up to 20 pages per month. If you exceed that amount, after a warning, your service will be suspended unless you upgrade to a fee service, called efax plus. The cost is $12.95 a month.
Receiving faxes is free under both plans. Sending faxes is .10 per page.
There is an option for a toll-free line. If you choose that option, you have to pay to receive and send faxes.
The software to read faxes is free to anyone on the site and you do not need to establish an account to get the software.
The web site indicates they have special rates for large businesses.
I have been using the service for 3 months and receive about 3-7 faxes per week. In that time, I have not been able to access the site for only part of one day.
I have only called customer service once, when I couldn't open a fax. They had me save the fax file to my hard drive and then download it, which worked. They also processed my payment to upgrade to efax plus and sent me an email to confirm payment. The rep. was friendly and I did not have to wait on hold to talk to them.
Customer Service can be reached at at (800) 958-2983 from 6 AM to 6 PM PST, Monday through Friday, and 8 AM to 5 PM PST Saturday and Sunday. Outside the U.S. & Canada: Call 1 (323) 817-3207.
With the free service, you have to agree to receive some spam. They don't send too much, maybe 1 or 2 a month. Since I have to deal with it anyway, I don't worry too much about it and just delete it when it shows up. With the free service, they can put ads on your outgoing faxes.
Efax is a pretty good service and is usually reliable. The customer service reps. are helpful and available. The free service is a good deal for someone who receives short faxes infrequently. However, business users might find that, long-term, it is cheaper to buy a fax machine than pay $12.95 per month.
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