SmartFax

4.3

Overall Score

9 User Reviews

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Once again, we found a company that was owned by j2 Global. SmartFax is an easy-to-use Internet fax service that lets you push your faxes either with the online dashboard or with your email. SmartFax is one of those “barebones” Internet faxing services, only letting you use your email application or the online portal to send and receive your faxes. These types of services do not include a mobile setup and encourage users to just use their browser or email app on their smartphone for sending faxes.

j2 Global is one of the leading providers of communications solutions for businesses, putting communications solutions into the cloud. This company was founded in December 1995. The company has gone through several name changes and acquisitions over the years, picking up several websites that are used for cloud storage, digital media, and communications. Essentially, all of j2 Global’s Internet faxing solutions use the same backend framework.
 

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The Good

  • Email to fax
  • High number of file formats supported
  • In-app security

When we checked out SmartFax, we were okay with the prices. We felt that $6.95 per month is a pretty fair price, on par with some of the other providers in the industry. With SmartFax, you get 250 pages per month. You can also select a fax number for your business. This is a somewhat easy process. If you want to purchase additional fax numbers, the service costs $6.95 for each additional fax number and comes with the same 250 pages per month.

We found that overuse fees do apply for SmartFax. After you exhaust your page quota for the month, you will have to pay $.08 per page every time you said an additional fax. While this is one of the cheaper overuse fees in the industry, we find that it can be quite easy to go over your page limit with inbound and outbound faxes.

This platform is cloud-based. With SmartFax, you get up to 30 days to store and access your faxes. When we called in, we found that many users will often use a Dropbox account or other cloud storage service to store their faxes after they've downloaded them.

Email to Fax

It is pretty easy to configure your email account to use SmartFax. With this service, we found that you have to set up your email account within the online login portal. After your email is registered with SmartFax, you don't ever have to log in to send faxes if you want. You can also send faxes from SmartFax by typing the fax recipient number in the form of an email address.

High Number of File Formats Supported

One of the nice things about j2 Global is that they have streamlined all of their fax services to support the same types of files. With SmartFax, you can send:

  • PDF
  • Group 3 TIF Image
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • HTML
  • Plain Text
  • Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • Graphic Interchange Format (GIF)
  • JPEG
  • Portable Network Graphic (PNG)
  • Access Snapshot (SNP)

We think that is very important to be able to send materials directly from Microsoft Office. In fact, you can simply open up a new Outlook message, type in the fax number as an email address, and drop the file that you would like to send.

In-App Security

There is another important feature of this service. We found that, when sending Internet faxes via email, you can activate a password feature. When sending a fax, you will be prompted for a password. This is a powerful way to control the number of outbound faxes, so that you do not exceed your page allottment.

The Bad

  • Reputation
  • Mobile app
  • Cloud storage
  • Registration
  • Limits

Like j2 Global's other Internet faxing services, we are not really impressed with SmartFax. The company simply does not have that good of a reputation. There are numerous instances of overzealous marketing.

Overall, here are some of the things that we don't like about SmartFax:

  • Even though you can log in via an Internet browser or use your mail app, there really isn't any mobile functionality with this service.
  • Your cloud account only stores faxes for 30 day.
  • You can't really automate your service to get faxes sent directly to your cloud storage.
  • There isn't a "standalone download" for SmartFax like there are other companies in the industry.
  • Very limited support section of website.

We really wanted to see a mobile app when we were looking at this faxing service. There are many mobile apps in the industry that let you send and receive faxes, as well as sign your documents on your touchscreen.

Another feature that was missing? Better cloud storage. You can keep your faxes for up to 30 days, but then they are automatically deleted. You can get a Dropbox or Google Drive account, but you cannot automate the process of putting your faxes in the cloud with your preference of cloud storage service.

Another problem that we found with this service was that you have to register your emails for faxing within the SmartFax dashboard. Failure to do this will mean that you won't be able to send your faxes over the Internet.

While we found that SmartFax was affordable, it is very easy to go over your 250 page per month limit. After this you are billed $.08 per page. There are also not any scaling potentials with this service. If you choose one of the other j2 Global faxing products, you will be able to get the page allotment per month that you want.

The Bottom Line

We don't recommend SmartFax at this time. Simply put, we feel that j2 Global has plenty of competitors out there. We noticed that there were other online fax companies that have better API options and integrations with certain apps. We also want to see better storage options. The website will only keep your faxes for 30 days. Ultimately, we would like to see many of the negatives from our review fixed on the SmartFax website.

User Reviews

1

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  • 4

    Colin Martin

    October 24th, 2017 Braselton, GA DETAILS

    Value for your money
    Quality of product or service
    Customer Service
    Company trustworthiness

    The service works, but is not especially intuitive. Persistence and tolerance for ambiguity are required. Be prepared for the runaround when you choose to cancel. No simple process is provided for cancellation, and, when found, is denied by the company. Surely there must be better alternatives to the questionable business practices of this company.

    Helpful?
  • 0

    stan

    October 6th, 2017 Miami, FL

    PAINFUL to cancel, either need to call or chat online.... Ridiculous. Of course, when I played the game and contacted them to cancel they offered tp cut the monthly fee by 80%. Equally as ridiculous. Never again!

    Helpful?
  • 0

    Terry Lipinski

    March 1st, 2017 Cocoa, FL

    Signed up to use the 30 day trial and realized on the first day it wasn't going to work for me. My initial attempt at sending a fax failed. I started to cancel my account with them the next day and 6 months later still getting a hard time from customer service. Their agreement says you must receive a confirmation via email to cancel your account. However, the link online to cancel the service failed and directed me to contact the company, After calling the company, and wasting 30 minutes, I never received an email confirmation. I then took the 3rd route and emailed billing and customer service that they no longer had permission to use the credit card I provided them and that I had trouble canceling the service. Not one person offered to assist me, they repeatedly said the same thing over and over again. I finally submitted one last email reporting to them that I revoked the permission of the credit card, and using it going forward would be illegal, and they continued to charge my card for 6 months. This is NOT a company to even try. It cost me over $100 in canceled work time to deal with this, and customer service is not helpful. Too many others to try.

    Helpful?
  • 1

    Steve Stephens

    August 24th, 2016 Las Vegas, NV

    I have had enough. We receive very few faxes throughout the year and the number of times clients have called us stating problems sending a fax is disgraceful. Customer service is also pretty clueless. Highly recommended that you go elsewhere.

    Helpful?
  • 0

    Nikki Cotton Candy

    August 14th, 2016 Mililani, HI

    I began using SmartFax March of this year, the price is cheap - about $7 a month. However, I will echo what other reviewers have said: they continue to charge you without notice or invoicing me directly out of my bank account or any other reminders about automatic payments. Frankly, I do not receive e-mails from SmartFax at all, likely because they don't want to remind you that you've ever signed up for this service so they can continue charging you. I attempted to contact SmartFax previously to cancel my account, however despite submitting my help request ticket, I have been told it was not received. Upon trying to use the system this evening, I realize it is likely because none of my previous attempts to contact this company have been processed because it does not process your requests. Finally, I have e-mailed them regarding this problem and have received the following response: "As per our record, there are no cancellation request made in your account in the past. Please note that cancellation requests cannot be complete via email. Your cancellation must be processed by contacting our customer support no (877) 762-7815. Please note that your account will remain active until your cancellation request is confirmed by Customer Support.." I am too assume they intend to charge me on the 15th, as they have been, unless I call as soon as their customer service opens or, possibly, not even then since it is an automatic payment. I do not see why I get absolutely no communication from this company, why I cannot cancel online after confirming my account and the e-mail I used to sign up with this service, nor why they claim that cancellation is an easy process. I will be requesting a refund as soon as possible and a chargeback if all else fails.

    Helpful?
  • 0

    Vanessa E.

    July 19th, 2016 San Antonio, TX

    Charged me for faxes that were not there. Claimed I had not deleted the faxes as instructed. When I sent screen shot showing I had deleted the faxes, they claimed I could not prove I had deleted them before the date of the screen shot. Would not correct their error in billing. They charged me roughly $10 more a month than they should have for 2 months in a row.

    Helpful?
  • 0

    Stephen

    July 15th, 2016 Yelm, WA

    I signed up in April with my credit card, sent one fax, and just realized (3 months later) that they've been charging my card $6.95 each month WITHOUT emailing or mailing any sort of receipt or invoice. Nothing to remind me that I'm paying for something I don't need. So, not having noticed the small charge on my credit card statements, I opened a support ticket requesting that my account be closed and charged refunded. I find it very unprofessional and shady to not email receipts during automatic payments. A few days passed, so I just called in to explain myself. I deal with online companies all day long and I've never been automatically billed without seeing an email confirmation of sorts. I was told "I can't guarantee anything but I will request the refund". That's it. At least my account's cancelled, so they say. Shady business. Get what you pay for.

    Helpful?
  • 1

    Gary R.

    July 14th, 2016 Lancaster, PA

    Of 17 faxes sent to me, 14 failed. The three that arrived were all from the company's customer support - after I called to complain three times!. Don't waste your time with this horrible service, product and customer service. Thank goodness it did not cost me anything as I canceled before the free trial expired. I will pay more for a better service.

    Helpful?
  • 1

    itsme

    March 2nd, 2016 Flower Mound, TX

    This company makes its difficult to cancel the service. Even though you send email to cancel, they want you to call the call center which typically has hold of 15 minutes. If you fail to do this, they will keep billing you monthly charge.

    Helpful?