RingCentral Fax Review

RingCentral Fax offers some of the most compelling and powerful faxing features we've seen from an electronic fax service. It also offers some of the best online support guidance, too. However, RingCentral's fax-only component is part of the company's bigger voice services juggernaut, and its apps and Web-based interface on mobile, Web and desktop reflect this in a way that's distracting to fax-only usage.

Pricing

RingCentral has four pricing tiers, with the starter giving you 500 pages-per-month package at $7.99 per month, billed annually (or $9.99 per month). Extra pages cost 5.9 cents per page. The Fax1000 plan costs $12.99 annually, or $17.99 monthly; extra pages are 4.9 cents apiece.

Free Trial: RingCentral offers a 30-day trial for its plans.

Setup

You can choose a toll-free number, vanity number, or local phone number. RingCentral is the only service I tried that supports a toll-free number or a "vanity" toll-free number made up of letters, numbers or symbols (at a one-time $30 setup fee). RingCentral was also the only service I tested that walks you through the transfer of an existing fax number to the service online; other services require you to contact the company to initiate a transfer.

When choosing a local number, you can drill down to specific towns and cities within an area code, with greater detail than we’ve typically seen. After you choose your phone number, you’ll enter your contact information, followed by payment and billing info, and which payment plan you choose (monthly or annual). The service now verifies you are who you say you are with a separate authentication via your mobile phone. Only then will you get to the last step in setting up the 7-day free trial — activating the account via an emailed link. When you follow the link, you’ll create a password, a PIN, and a security question. The PIN’s purpose is unclear for the fax service user; the interface says it’s for accessing your voicemails, but...this is a fax service only, not RingCentral’s full unified messaging product.

For your account, you'll always log in using your fax number. During initial account creation, RingCentral prompts you to set up a password and PIN, and the company has stronger requirements for these than other services I tried, for example requiring both a capitalized letter and a number.

When you first log in, you'll walk through an express setup for your account, adding some company information as well as your information for the account, including how your name, email and time zone should appear. The service now has a smooth walkthrough that explains how to send and receive faxes. It also prompts you to download mobile apps for iOS and Android, and apps for Mac and PC. While the mobile apps are for receiving faxes, the desktop apps let you both send and receive faxes, as well as add a custom cover page or schedule a fax delivery.

This is the first place I started to see the annoying elements of RingCentral's cross-use interface. For example, for our fax-only account, the account info tab prompts you to confirm your extension info, a question that only makes sense if you're a unified communications subscriber, not a fax-only subscriber — meaning you use the voice service, too. The service's interface via the Web, and via its mobile and desktop apps, are littered with references like that to the voice service; ditto for the ample help files.

Interface

The Web interface is designed to be universal, covering fax as well as the voice and unified communications components of RingCentral's services.  I found the frequent voice and unified communications references distracting, and the lack of clearly fax service-specific elements annoying. The sole fax-specific element sits in the far right side of the display, a subtle icon that’s meant to indicate a page being sent via fax.

This becomes especially clear with the multipurpose mobile app, which exists for the unified communications side of RingCentral, not the Fax service. For example, when I logged into the mobile app, the first thing I saw was a welcome screen telling me that RingCentral lets you put your business phone number on display for calls, texts and faxes even when you're not at your desk; and five of the six initial welcome screens have nothing to do with the fax service. For some users, the shameless self-promotion could cause moments of pause and confusion before realizing that these other services are just not relevant to them.

I found RingCentral's frequent voice and unified communications references distracting, and the lack of clearly fax service-specific elements annoying.

When I logged into the mobile app, the first thing I saw was a welcome screen telling me that RingCentral lets you put your business phone number on display for calls, texts and faxes even when you're not at your desk.

On the plus side, the settings section includes some features not found elsewhere. RingCentral is the only service of those I tested that can notify you of inbound and outbound faxes by both email and SMS. You can also set your cover page information and opt to block numbers.

Once you log in to the Web interface, you're faced with a design with a top navigation bar, for accessing your account overview of recent messages and recent calls, messages (which includes folders for inbox, outbox, sent box, and deleted items), call log, contacts, settings, billing and tools (which leads to app downloads). As noted earlier, the option for sending an outbound fax is obscured with a meaningless icon, to the far right of this top nav bar. Blink, and you might miss the reference, especially frustrating given that we were subscribed to the fax-only service.

File Format and Cloud Support

RingCentral supports more than 40 file formats, double what we saw the last time we reviewed the service. There was no support for OpenDocument files. The service is one of two I tested that can handily access files from Web storage: Dropbox, Box or Google Drive. In fact, RingCentral is now integrated with Google for Work. HelloFax has broader support, though: It supports grabbing files from those services, as well as Evernote and OneDrive, and it lets you store inbound faxes in the cloud, too. Because of this, I preferred how HelloFax's cloud storage integration worked.

Android and Windows Apps

To complete the initial walk-through, the service next prompts you to download the appropriate free app(s) for iOS and Android for mobile, and Mac and Windows for desktop. I tried the Android app and the Windows app; both have a consistent interface and approach that more favors the components of the voice service than the fax-only service.

The Android app offers good functionality, and makes it easy to download an incoming fax from the cloud, view it and then choose to email it or forward it as a fax. But there's no tagging or management of inbound faxes, and the app is designed to cover all RingCentral communications, including voice, which means there are a lot of irrelevant menu options if you're a RingCentral Fax subscriber.

The Windows app has similar issues. It is compact, requiring just a narrow band of screen real estate, like a typical chat messaging app would. The app shows incoming faxes, and will pop up an on-screen notification that a new fax has been received. However, I noticed a delay between the notification and when the fax was received in the RingCentral Web inbox and in my email. Tap on a fax to view it in your chosen desktop PDF reader.

Sending and Receiving Faxes

The first-time setup of RingCentral does a great job of introducing users to how to send or receive a fax. As with other services, you can send a fax via email using the fax number (no "1") @rcfax.com, or you can send via the Web, mobile or desktop apps.

Inbound faxes arrive as an email PDF (you can choose not to have the PDF included), and show up in the Web and mobile interfaces in your Messages tab. That same Messages tab would be how you'd access voicemails if you were a unified communications RingCentral Office subscriber. It's also where RingCentral delivers voice messages related to your account, such as if you've changed a password or performed other such account activity.

The actual template for sending a fax is, at least, a friendly and useful presentation. RingCentral starts by prompting you for the recipient's fax number, which you can add manually or by selecting from contacts stored in RingCentral (you can import contacts from a CSV file). Click the checkbox beneath to include a cover page, from your choice of 13 templates, but not one of your own design. Next, you select the file(s) to attach and fax. You can choose a file from your computer, or hook into Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive cloud storage to retrieve the file(s) you need to fax.

The next step in sending is to schedule your fax for sending now, or sending at a scheduled time. Hit schedule, and your fax enters the outbound queue for processing and sending. This is the only service we tested that lets you schedule a fax. This is a powerful feature, especially for businesses.

For as much as I liked the easy scheduling feature, and the Web-storage support, I also found RingCentral missing fax-specific functionality. Specifically, it lacks inbound and outbound fax management, so you can tag and search faxes, or at the least sort by inbound and outbound faxes. While the scheduling makes it easy to do high-volume faxes, the lack of fax management makes the service less conducive for a highly active fax line.

RingCentral says it uses SSL security. However, the service is not HIPPA-compliant, so if that’s important to you consider a service like Sfax.  You can send international faxes, but you must first buy credits to do so.

Bottom Line

There is a lot to like about RingCentral Fax's offerings for faxing, with a flexible set of features and strong mobile and cloud support. The service makes it particularly simple to send scheduled faxes, and it is the only service we tested that allows for scheduled faxes. However, MetroFax and Nextiva vFax both cost less. And RingCentral's heavily combined voice and fax interface and the lack of fax-tracking management limits the service's appeal. We prefer MetroFax for its easy fax searching and tagging, and its clean, fax-centric interface.

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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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  • Tom4palms
    We have used RapidFax since 2008 and the charges are getting too much and the terms are not clear. We need to keep our number. HOW??
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  • Francis Jacob
    I HATE a monthly fee to fax! Allow me to buy in bulk or pay as I go! I don't fax enough to warrant monthly faxing yet very few provide a la carte faxing. That's why FaxZero wins in my book. Your rating is way too low...
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  • Light_CC
    Nextiva service works well. Cannot cancel through online login. Cannot reach customer service to cancel. Need to go direct to my credit card company. Similar to description of inability to cancel service on Metrofax above - are they the same service, or several of these owned by the same place? Either unethical or incompetent or both.
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