Free fax to email google

I’m working with a company that’s overseas and they want to send me some contracts via fax. Problem is, I don’t have a facsimile machine and going to somewhere like Kinko’s and paying to receive their fax seems a bit daft. Are there free fax services on the Web, or at least cheap fax services online?
Dave’s Answer:

There are a ton of services that can act as a virtual fax machine for you, though most of them are commercial services. One of the most popular of these services is eFax.com, though on first glance, it’s a pay-only service.

In fact, even if you live chat with their support people, you’ll find that they talk about what a bargain a $160/yr service plan is and state that they don’t have a free fax service, but read on, and I’ll share the secret of just how you can get a free receive-only fax account from eFax.

First, I have to share this as it’s so interesting, it’s the transcript of a chat I had with the sales rep at eFax:
Laura C: Welcome to the eFax Sales Team! I am Laura, your Online Sales Representative. How may I assist you today?

Dave: Hello. I am wondering if there’s a lower-price eFax option than eFaxPlus: I only receive faxes, and only 5-10 pages/mo (if that!)

Laura C: The basic cost for eFax Plus service is $16.95 per month. A one-time activation fee of $10.00 is also applied during the first month of your service. This plan includes 130 free incoming pages every month. Outbound faxing carries a fee of $0.10 per page (60-second transmission time or less) to destinations in USA.
Laura C: I will also provide an additional $3 Gift Credit every month. With this, you can send faxes at the rate of 10 cents a page within the United States. This is equivalent to sending upto 30 pages of faxes free per month (International page rates differ).

Dave: right, but if I wanted to just pay a per-page fee and no monthly recurring?

Laura C: We do not have such plans.

Dave: okay. thanks.

Laura C: We have a promotional plan available.
Laura C: As per this plan, I will be able to waive the one time activation fee of $10.00. Therefore, instead of $26.95, you can set up an eFax Plus Account for only $16.95. You can receive up to 130 pages of faxes free of cost per month. Outbound faxing charges are at $0.10 per page (60-second transmission time or less) to destinations in USA.

Dave: thanks, but I’m looking for something that’s less than $150/year. (I can buy a fax machine for less!)

Laura C: Under the promotional annual plan, you pay only for 10 months of service & get service worth 2 months for Free. Thus, the discounted Annual charges for eFax will be $169.50. The set up fee of $10.00 is waived. It basically averages to $14.00 per month.
Laura C: At eFax we value our customers the most. In accordance with providing the best of services to our customers, we now have a special Annual plan. As per this plan, the first month of service is Free. Thereafter, you are charged a nominal amount of $169.50 for a year. You pay for 10 months of Service ($16.95 X 10), plus you receive 2 additional months free. It basically averages to $14.00 per month
Notice that if you chat with ’em you can lower your price quite a bit from the standard published rates, but what I really like is the comment that $169.50/year is a “nominal fee”. Uh, yeah, I don’t think so!

Fortunately, you can sign up for their free service at eFaxFree. Just be careful, as you sign up you’ll see this:
eFax: do you want a local number = eFax Plus

Choose the second option to retain your free account status. Now you’re set up and should get a verification email from eFax with your new fax number. Mine is in the 253 area code (which is the southern region of Washington state), but what difference where it’s located?

I was also confused because the confirmation email from eFax shows you a phone number and PIN. At first, I thought callers would need to enter the PIN, but in fact that’s an account password for when you want to access the received faxes only and shouldn’t be shared with anyone else.

Upon receipt of a fax, I received a prompt email notification that looked like this:
eFax: Fax Received email from within Google Gmail

If you’re so inclined, you can download the recommended application from eFax, but in fact you can just as easily view your fax in your Web browser. Instead of the app, you want to go to the eFax Storage Center, where you’ll see a nice inbox of all your received faxes:
eFax: eFax free message display center

The messages you see here, if you click on one, look the same as when they were emailed to you:
eFax: message displayed in eFax free message display center

The difference is that on the bottom of the message is a link that lets you either download the fax document in their weird ‘efx’ format, or view it:
eFax: message displayed in eFax free message display center

Click on the actual fax image filename link (here it’s “f524345.efx”) and you’ll actually be able to view the fax itself, within your Web browser:
eFax: free fax displayed in Web browser

Coolness! Now, one more tip: if you want to save the fax to your computer (and you do, because they only save them for 30 days with the free accounts), simply right-click or Option-click (if you’re on a Mac) and you can choose “View As Image” and print that result, or choose “Save Image As…” instead:
eFax: Browser pop-up menu on free fax display

That should help you out!

To learn more about online fax options, also check out my friend Kevin Savetz’s terrific guide to online fax services. Thanks also to my Twitter pals for their comments and suggestions about free fax services, and to K.S. for her demo fax.


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Categorized: Computer and Internet Basics   (Article 8022)
Tagged: fax, free facsimile, free fax, receiving faxes online, sending faxes online
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Comments

Additionally, you could use a product such as Cutewriter,

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Office-tools/PDF/CuteWriter.shtml

you can print the fax to an Adobe Acrobat formatted file.
Posted by: Chrystoph at April 24, 2008 11:28 AM

Hi Dave
Thanks so much for the tips on Free Faxes.
I had a special ring on my phone line for faxes, but when I changed plans I lost it.
Now my fax machine just will not pick up fax calls.
So I will be going and setting this up for my business

Meg McNeal
Posted by: Meg McNeal at April 25, 2008 3:55 PM

Heh, thats help me too, thank you!
Posted by: Mario at April 26, 2008 2:43 AM

ave dear: I am using an HP desktop which is connected to an HP all in one printer, the book of instructions for which is lost. (Ive moved 3 times) I have looked everywhere that my limited knowledge tells me to look and cannot seeem to find what I need. Can you help me> I have talked to two hp tech support ecperts who are expert in everything but english. T h anks in advance. “C”
Posted by: Connie klem at January 16, 2009 11:14 AM

Dear Dave:

Your link http://www.efax.com/en/efax/twa/productOverview to their free service now gets redirected to http://www.efax.com/products/internet-fax. How do I sign up for their free service now? HALP!
Posted by: sosab at February 16, 2009 12:21 AM

The new address to access a free e-fax account is:
http://www.efax.com/efax-free
Posted by: S.W. at February 16, 2009 7:09 PM

If I give a fake zip code and they assign me a good fax number in my area code then what can go wrong? I just don’t want my customers to be charged by the phone company for sending a fax outside of their zip code area, which happens to be in my zip code area too.
[email protected]
Posted by: Ralph at March 13, 2009 9:22 PM

Thank you SO much! Your information was so helpful. I was in the same boat as you were. I only need to receive faxes not send them and I only fax maybe 3 pages a month. Thank you so much for your very informative post.
Posted by: Tricia at May 28, 2009 7:36 PM

I love this. I have been trying to do get this type of info for a while. I too receive about 5 or so faxes a week and did not want the hassles of a fax machine; plus, I can now access this stuff on the road.

Great!!

Thanks
Posted by: Cletnn at August 3, 2009 11:10 AM

Hi Dave,

I don’t know if this is a new aspect of the eFax web site but they are now asking for a credit card number which is not something I want to give them….free service or not.

Joe
Posted by: Joe Gibson at September 12, 2009 7:36 AM

I no longer see an option for a free service on the link. Did something change or am I blind?
Posted by: Jacob at September 26, 2009 3:07 AM

Man that was easy!
The new “http://www.efax.com/efax-free” was the ticket. thanks dave taylor, you the man.
Posted by: scott at October 13, 2009 9:28 PM

Worked great, thanks.
Posted by: josh at November 2, 2009 11:58 AM

The FREE efax link definately doesn’t work now!
The last link provided on this page redirects to:
http://home.efax.com/s/r/uk_home?CMP=OTC-uk
There doesn’t seem to be a way around the 30 day free trial they offer which, requires credit card details.
Apparently worked great 20 odd days ago according to las poster.

Another one bytes the dust I guess!
Posted by: Terry at November 25, 2009 5:40 AM

Yes, eFax is apparently no longer offering the free service, but K7 is. Check out the link at http://voicemail.k7.net/signup/

The one stipulation is that you have to receive at least one fax or voice mail every month or your account will be automatically cancelled.

I haven’t tried it, but it looks like a legitimate offer.
Posted by: Dan at November 25, 2009 11:24 AM

K7 works fine! Just checked – Polish hotel sucessfully send me a fax =)
Posted by: Chupaka at January 27, 2010 7:53 AM

I was still able to find the free fax option, it’s confusing b/c there are links to the 30-day trial on the same page, but I’m pretty sure you can still ignore that and get the free service.

It didn’t follow through though, b/c the way I read the user agreement, if you receive too many faxes, they will charge you for what the normal service would have cost. Yikes, what if the fax spammers find your number? Here’s the text from the user agreement:

“If j2 Global ultimately determines, in its sole discretion and whether or not it has conducted an audit, that you have violated the foregoing limitations on the Free Service or any associated software, j2 Global reserves the right to immediately terminate or suspend your Service, except as prohibited by law. You agree to pay j2 Global the amount you would have been required to pay for the Plus Service during the period of your non-compliance with the Free Service’s Fair Use Policy, plus j2 Global’s cost of conducting any audits that, in j2 Global’s sole discretion, reveal non-compliance.”

No thanks.
Posted by: Some guy at February 4, 2010 3:23 PM

Thanks to a suggestion by Dan on 11/25/09, I tried K7. So far it looks good for receiving free faxes. I haven’t tried the voice mail option yet (not sure I need it).

Thanks for the post!
Posted by: Stacey at March 24, 2010 12:09 PM

Dave,

I was able to get the free eFax service set up on March 31, 2010. Your tip about viewing a fax through the web interface seals the deal for me, as I’m going to be using this service with a Linux box.

Thank you!
Steve
Posted by: SteveM10 at April 1, 2010 11:02 AM

Hey SteveM10,
If you were able to get the free eFax service on 3/31/10, why didn’t you post a link so the rest of us could enjoy free faxing?
Thanks!
Posted by: utalice at April 5, 2010 4:30 PM

Thank you! I used this link: http://www.efax.com/efax-free

And it worked.

I’ll also add that I have used K7 before (for voicemail) and it is completely legitimate, but they do delete your account after 30 days of inactivity.
Posted by: Adrian at May 5, 2010 9:37 PM

I too signed up for the free version of efax. One problem though is that the fax will not open in IE nor can I save the fax in any image format. Is everyone now using their efax messenger?
Posted by: sandy at July 3, 2010 5:43 PM

I have a second phone line I’ve used as fax line connected to my computer (no fax machine); however, when my Mac G5 crashed & I upgraded to a Mac Mini I no longer had a modem with a phone connection. How can I replace the modem with a free fax on line service?
Posted by: William at October 19, 2010 10:56 AM

FYI, I was able to sign up for a FREE account today using the http://www.efax.com/efax-free link. Just remember, you have to at least receive 1 fax or voicemail a month to keep the account active!
Posted by: Tim S at November 29, 2010 1:33 PM

I note a lot of confusion in the postings. I have been using free efax for years and have not had any problems when I go several months without activity. I was advised, at one time, that I was receiving too many faxes/pages in a month, but was not charged and that was an anomaly since I do not normally receive many efaxes. They are hoping to convert free accounts to subscribers.

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