Sfax Review

Just by reading the Sfax’s own description, it’s clear the service targets an audience that is a bit more specialized than the average fax service. Scrypt, which provides the Sfax cloud faxing service, has worked in health care for almost two decades. So it makes sense that Sfax would distinguish itself by underscoring its HIPAA compliance.

MORE: How to Open a Private Medical Practice, Step by Step

Since our last look at Sfax, that’s even more true: Scrypt has doubled-down on its health care focus, with new features such as integration with Citrix Sharefile for Healthcare.

Cloud fax services are required to sign a BAA (Business Associate Agreement) to be considered HIPAA compliant. And a HIPAA-compliant cloud service provider must have accountability for its data storage and recovery policies. Medical offices and individuals who actively use fax to retain their own medical data outside of the realm of a personal health record will find this service appealing. Sfax provides audit trails for HIPPA documents as well as annotations and digital signature.

Pricing

Considering the specialized target audience, Sfax’s pricing could be worse. A basic plan starts at $9 for 100 pages per month. For 700, it costs $49, and scales up to $159 for the Pro account with 2,500 pages per month. All plans include a toll-free number. (Annual pricing shaves about 30 percent off those prices.) By comparison, Nextiva vFax costs $12.95 per month for 1,000 pages.

Setup

To try the service, you’ll need to enter a credit card; the first 14-days are considered a risk-free trial. Once you verify the account via the link sent to your email, configuration is easy and friendly. The interface offers clearly differentiated text and colors to guide you — two surprising finds in the graphically challenged, staid world of cloud fax services.

You’ll choose a username and password, get your toll-free number (you can opt to port an existing number, if you prefer), and config your timezone and when you want notifications delivered via email (upon receipt, delivery or if the fax failed). You can then review your info, print it and set up the security options. Those options are copious — another differentiator of this service. Of particular note: You can add additional users (unlimited maximum), and even control the fax permissions for those users. 

File Support

Sfax can handle the usual complement of document and images file formats for sending faxes: .DOC, .DOCX, .XLS, .XLXS, .PPT, .ODT, ODS, .ODP, .RTG, .PDF and .TXT,  as well as .BMP, .TIF, .GIF, .JPG and .PNG.

Interface

The Web interface for Sfax is one of the more visually attractive and intuitive I’ve seen. It has a handy nav sidebar and hierarchy that makes visual sense. The navigational elements are simple graphics fixed beneath the Sfax logo: Fax inbox, contacts, cover pages, library and settings. Beneath these core nav icons, the menus change with the context of the selected option, as does the display at right. For example, the Fax inbox has a nested file-folder structure, and the ability to show faxes by date and to search both incoming and sent faxes. These are powerful options, regardless of your fax business.

Sfax recently added the ability to search subfolders with the inbox and to search both incoming and sent faxes simultaneously; previously, you could do so only by folder. These features are powerful, useful, and distinguish Sfax from the competion.

For businesses, it’s terrific to have multiple cover pages stored for different purposes.

You can import a CSV contacts file, or add contacts manually. For businesses, it’s terrific to have multiple cover pages stored for different purposes, all clearly visible at a glance.

The document library is the final core differentiator here: Upload documents you know will be sent often — say a release form or information about a procedure — and even edit those documents with Sfax as needed. While I focused on the Sfax Web interface, the service has a downloadable Mac and Windows print drivers, so you can print a document to the Sfax service. Sfax also has iOS and Android viewer apps.

A new iOS app lets you send and manage faxes. This app is convenient and well designed, with a clear and friendly interface and the ability to send directly from the camera roll as well. The iOS app is also HIPAA-compliant, which we’d expect given Sfax’s niche specialty.

Sending and Receiving

The Web interface for Sfax is straightforward. Add the recipient phone number, or select a recipient from the contacts; upload your file(s) or choose a document from the library; select the cover page; and hit send.  Unlike other services, you can’t send a fax via email.

The interface here could have been a bit clearer, though: On our first send, I forgot to add a subject for the cover page, just because it wasn’t as visually differentiated. Also, the send button stays fixed at the top of page, a little odd considering your attention is at the bottom of the Web page. I received a prompt confirmation email after a successful fax transmission. Likewise, I received email notifying me of inbound faxes, with a link to the fax in the Sfax cloud inbox.

Bottom Line

Sfax is one of the better, more versatile fax services we’ve tested. While its self-touted HIPAA compliance targets specific industries, its flexible interface and multiple user support makes it a good choice for business who need these features, and are willing to pay the price. And the addition of a dedicated iOS mobile app for sending and receiving faxes is a big bonus.

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17 comments
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  • dalewb
    A very quick Google search for "Metrofax review" reveals this site, http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/id-2109682/online-fax-services-2014.html , where users report abysmal service and impossibility to cancel accounts. Apparently *something* happened mid-2014 and the company suddenly began having serious issues not only with its faxing service but its customer service. I just tried to contact customer service through their online chat and waited for 15 minutes before giving up. I think you guys should revisit this article in light of the serious degradation in Metrofax's performance.
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  • terryddc
    People need to be VERY Leary of MyFax. They are not a BBB registered company because their customer support center is based in Canada. If you have a complaint like I did..Good luck getting it resolved. Here is my personal consumer review of the nonsense I had to deal with using MyFax:

    My family and I started MyFax service when we were in transition from one home to another. We were stuck in a Cable service issue because of something the previous owner of the house we purchased did. Until it was straightened out (90 days) we could not get cable services (TV, Phone, internet). We researched and My fax was not top choice but the affordable one. Their customer service STINKS! Their user policies are horrific. They are nothing but another greedy non-american based company (Canada is their call center). I tried several times to cancel my account over the past few months. Then two months would pass and charges would show up on the credit card statement again. I would call and speak to a rep who assure me the account was cancelled. Then a few months later there were the charges! I most recently tried to cancel this January only get charged AgaIn in the same month! Then I was charged AGAIN in Feb 8, 2015!!! I called to cancel the account AGAIN! The two reps I spoke to essentially blamed me for the issue. They indicated that since I could not provide case numbers and log numbers or the exact representatives names (btw no call center rep ever gives real name) they were not willing to refund any of the charges..but..would cancel the account. They said if I could provide the EVIDENCE of cancellation they might consider refunding one month. SERIOUSLY? As if I were trying to cheat them out of $10?! I said to the reps (again) I had been trying to cancel the account for several months. Once more they tried to blame me and said they had no record of my ever calling. However, during one prolonged debate one of the reps let it slip that they had indeed tried to contact me because 1/08/5 charges were declined..YES! Because I had cancelled the account! They sent me an email to an old email address asking me to give them a new card number. I ignored it because I figured I had closed the account once and for all. HOWEVER, their finance department submitted the charge again..and it went through 1/23/15..despite their asking for a different form of payment (to me proof that I had cancelled the account -when the charge was decline!). Unfortunately, my credit card company informed me that once a merchant has your credit card information it is difficult to block them unless you change your account number..So thanks you jerks at Myfax..TODAY TO AVOID These IDIOTS charging me in the future...I had to close my credit card account (one I had for 10 years!) and open a brand new account..Now I have to wait 5-7 business days for a new CC to be issued. The rep that told me about the charges being declined ..but them pushed through on 1/08 and 1/23 and 2/08..even said "that's odd you would be charged twice in one month" but then had a lame excuse that the 1/08/15 charge was declined and would show as a refund on my feb statement. WELL NOT SO! INSTEAD I WAS CHARGED AGAIN IN FEB FOR A SERVICE I SUPPOSEDLY CANCELLED. I tried to speak to a supervisor. She indicated that unless I had case numbers, contact names, and log numbers she would not submit my request for a refund. I even said "well i would be willing to accept a refund of the february charges..since I cannot provide ALL the exact details you are requesting..that is only$10" To which she stated "our finance department will not permit refunds based upon the consumer simply telling us they were erroneously charged. You need to provide us with proof." I told her they had proof right in front of them with the declined charge in January that demonstrated the account had been closed"..finally I gave up..after being on hold for 10 minutes to get a rep, a debate with one for 15 minutes, on hold again for 10 minutes, and then a argumentative arrogant supervisor for another 5 minutes...I just have had it and will chock this up to a lesson learned. DO NOT USE THIS SERVICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  • laruib
    Be VERY careful with metrofax. They DO NOT notify you when your account is due to renew. They just charge your card for another year even if you don't want to continue the service they won't do anything. I would never use metrofax again! Got many unwanted faxes trying to sell me stuff!
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  • SmiTTTen
    In the interest of full disclosure, I do business with Concord Fax. I will say that their service is what they say it is and their support is superb. Anyway, worth a look if you're interested.
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  • karen64
    I don't see it listed as an option but just in case, DO NOT use OnlineFaxes.com - I had them for a year and went to renew online only to find out that they had given my number "mistakenly" to another customer! I have been waiting for a week for them to contact the "new owner" and ask them if they can give it back to me??? What? I am the original owner. Shouldn't they be giving them a new number and giving me back the one I have on business cards, my website, registration forms, etc? Unbelievable. And the customer service is as bad as their business. No one seems to think this is a big deal. Online fax company. Business plan? 1) Sell fax numbers; 2) Don't sell the same number to more than one organization!
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  • California_1
    Metrofax used to be a good provider until another company, J2 Global, took over. Since then, my experience with them has never been the same, and not in a good way. They told me I had a trial period, which they emailed me for payment before it was up. My account online said I had a $0 balance, so what's up with that? Before I knew it, they decided to tag on a late fee because I failed to pay before my account was even due. Let's put it this way, I paid them to get away from them and to never hear from them again. They seemed like a bunch of thieves. I will NEVER EVER use Metrofax again.
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  • shipdog711
    I use free FaxZero. Very simple to use. S o far has never failed me. I am talking about someone who only faxes once a month.
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  • Comissha
    SRFax.com is an amazing service with AWESOME customer service.
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  • KC____
    I've been using Ringcentral Fax since 2006.Started well but over the years Ringcentral upgrades have continued to remove existing features that made their product useful.

    I have actually been using a version that is several years old since the newer versions remove those features and now I have been forced to upgrade. What have I lost? 1) Local copy of faxes received and sent (I had years of history, very helpful) 2) Easy ability to resubmit faxes locally 3) Ability to locally change the name of the sender (so I could send with the owner's name instead of mine or with our other company's name) 4) The ability to enter the recipient's company name and individual's name on the fax cover sheet.

    Now I can only enter the phone number.I can no longer recommend this product and I'm looking for a new alternative.
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  • mcbakewl
    I rarely send or receive faxes, but wanted to keep a reliable option available for those rare occasions. Did some research and just today signed up with FAXAGE. Chose their LITE package for $3.49/mo + $0.05/minute for in- or outbound faxes.

    Initial setup revealed an odd problem receiving from (but not sending to) eFax. (Dreadful company, eFax.) Within an hour FAXAGE tech support had identified and resolved the problem.

    No mobile app means only that way to send from an iPhone is Email to Fax, but that works fine too.

    Nice surprise was when the FAXAGE signup routine invited me to choose a phone number from a long list of options within my own area code.

    So, so far so good.
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  • mcbakewl
    Apologies for the typo:

    No mobile app means only way to send from an iPhone is Email to Fax, but that works fine too.
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  • Patrick_64
    Customer service with Metrofax is a complete fraud.
    Forget customer service with these guys. I am now at the end of month TWO trying to port a number with these guys. I have called EVERY DAY (Monday thru Friday) for three weeks, and gotten a different excuse as to what the problem is. This is the FOURTH time they have asked me to send the same information.

    I am a computer consultant for 30 years and this is the poorest customer service I have seen in my life. Do yourself a favor and read almost all of the other reviews here (almost all negative) and believe them. I have spent over 30 hours trying to resolve this, and now found out that they did the same mistake from the beginning. This has cost my customer OVER $400 dollars. Think I am exaggerating? Google “metrofax reviews” and see for yourself.
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  • Peter_162
    babyTEL gives you encrypted fax that you can access anywhere. The encryption is so strong that it's approved for health and financial records.
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  • livingandlearning
    Hi. I have used sFax for several years as a low fax volume small business owner. I find sFax to be difficult to use. For years sFax was upgrading to a new format. I had many problems sending a fax because the fax would sit in the outbox for hours while other higher priority faxes from other businesses would take up the fax times. I am now seeking a less expensive fax option. The one truth about sFax is that not one time in those years did I receive any unwanted faxes from marketing companies. The other parts of the review about sFax is true. sFax has come a long way from where it began. I am not discouraging its use, just letting the small low volume business owners know that you must really want to pay extra for the "security" features to choose sFax. I thought I was getting a better product, but I was paying yearly for a service that I rarely used. At most I faxed 5 times in a year. If you are a small business owner who rarely faxes, save the money or donate it to a worthy cause. Choose a different less expensive plan. Thank you for the review. I will try one of the options and see how it works for my small business.
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  • ajm_fencepost
    As of summer, 2016 Maxemail has been purchased by j2, the same company that has earned such a terrible reputation with eFax (and which in recent years has purchased and ruined the reputations of Metrofax and MyFax). Basically, j2/eFax now owns at least 4 online fax companies, 3 of which were well-reviewed here but which comments indicate have gone downhill.

    If you need send-only, at least two of the companies listed here have cheap send-only options that basically let you pre-pay for a pool of pages or minutes for sending. If you need low-volume receiving of faxes as well, you're probably going to be looking at Nextiva's vFax for $5/month (prepaid annually, it's $9/month paid monthly).
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  • Mtnmann
    For very occasional home use to receive faxes (fax to email,) I was paying $14.95 annually to Maxemail. Now with the purchase by J2/eFax, the new rate would be $85 annual when my subscription expires. I will cancel that. If you know of other services for inbound fax to email at or near my former Maxemail annual cost, please post here.
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