eFax today announced that they are raising their already gouging rates from $12.95 a month to $16.95 a month, unless you want to “lock in” the $12.95 a month rate by paying it annually (i.e. pay the $12.95 x 12 up front to the tune of more than $150.00 a year).
I call it “gouging” because eFax originally started out with this model: you could either pay to get a fax number that was local to you, or get a free fax number which could have an area code in any part of the U.S. except local to you.
At that time it cost a mere $4.95 to have the local number, which was part of a service called “eFaxPlus”. So eFax Plus was only $4.95 a month, and that was as recently as the year 2000.
However, once they got you hooked (and having distributed your fax number far and wide) they boosted their fees to $12.95 a month – more than double what you’d signed up for – and you were stuck, unless you were willing to lose the fax number you’d given out to everyone. Still, it was month-to-month so you could make a decision each month as to whether it was worth it.
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But now they are doing it again, saying either pay that $12.95 a month up front for a full year (a total of $155.40 a year), or pay the exhorbitant rate of $16.95 a month. And, if this prompts you to decide to cancel the service, let me tell you up front that there is no easy way to cancel your account (but I’m going to tell you how).
Here is the relevant portion of the email that I myself received today:
“The monthly subscription fee for all eFax Plus numbers on your account will be changing.
Starting on your next billing date, the monthly fee for each of your eFax number(s) will be $16.95.
You will also receive an enhanced level of eFax service.
Receive up to 130 fax pages and send up to 30 fax pages free each month.
Store faxes up to one year with your eFax Message Center.
Get 24/7 live phone support.
To lock in the old $12.95 rate for the next year, switch to annual billing by clicking here.
Please respond by October 01, 2006.”
Oh, and did you catch that they have given their customers exactly 10 days notice? How generous.
Now, I understand that businesses have to make money – a profit, even. But getting your customers hooked and then raising the rates so dramatically is something which is usually reserved for the likes of crack dealers and heroin pushers. And I think that eFax is way out of line here demanding an up front payment for a full year, and charging you an extra 30% if you are unwilling to be pushed into the annual fee.
Especially when you consider this: you can still get the exact same service from other providers for half the cost – in fact, from some you can even still get it for free.
Examples of places you can get Internet fax services for less or free include send2fax.com (send and receive for $7.95 a month, and as little as $1.95 a month if you prepay), and FaxZero.com (send for free), and K7.net where you can receive faxes and voicemail for free, if you don’t mind a 206 (Washington state) fax number.
In fact, an organization with which I am involved has used K7.net for the past year, and we have been very pleased with the service. K7 we would gladly pay. They do it right, and they are honest about it.
In closing, eFax’s email of today said:
“We’re glad to have you as a customer, and look forward to continuing to serve your business needs.”
Ironic, really, as the first thing I did after receiving this was cancel my eFax account.
Then I opened a K7.net account.
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