My New Fax System – Likes and Dislikes

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In January 2008 I discontinued use of my Toll-Free Fax to Email service, with Telus Canada. I really liked the service and the idea of getting faxes sent directly to my email. There are many times that I scribble notes on incoming faxes received, and it’s nice when you get to a point that when you start scribbling phone messages, grocery lists and other doodle art .. that you can just go back into your email and reprint a clean fax!

Background why I used a Toll-Free Service

When I signed up with Telus back in 2002 .. there were no local fax lines available in Winnipeg and I had to get a “local” number in Ottawa, Ontario. This was THE motivating factor for me to get a toll-free fax line number – and, I honestly like that idea. People anywhere in Canada and the U.S. could fax me stuff – “toll-free”. I actually had two clients who loved this service, and as monthly clients – one of them I have never met in person. It was one of the good types of income and jobs that I was looking to increase in my business .. mixing the offline business with online world. It was also cheaper than installing a permanent second phone/fax line into my house and I didn’t want another phone bill to pay.

But – there was an expense to having this toll-free service. I was being charged $23.40 per month with taxes, and between $0.07 and $0.13 per fax page received, depending where it originated – although, it usually originated in the $0.13 per fax page zones! I didn’t really monitor this too much, at first .. as what I would receive was $50.00 charges onto my credit card everytime my account was low funded. It was always frustrating that I almost always had a credit balance of about $40.00 which covers at least one month of service, and another $50 was being charged to my credit card.

Well .. I’ve got an All-In-One printer/scanner/copier/fax machine and decided to put it to use. As I said, I discontinued my Toll-Free fax service .. and started to use this machine as my main fax line. I recently bought one of those VTech Dect6.0 cordless phones and have plugged it into the extension slot of the All-In-One machine.

Why I Like This New System

There are a few good reasons:

* It’s cheap. No extra monthly costs – just the existing telephone service that I am already paying.

* My new fax number – is the same as my business number – so clients should easily remember the new number. ALthough clients must now CALL FIRST to inform me that they are sending me a fax, it’s only common courtesy anyway, right? 🙂 At this point, I have to turn on the ‘auto-answer’ feature and walk away. At least, that’s what I am supposed to do. After receiving a fax, I should turn the ‘auto-answer’ feature off.

Why I Hate This New System

Here are just some of my reasons:

* I turn on the Auto-Answer and receive a fax, but forget to turn it off. In this case, all subsequent phone messages are rejected, because my fax machine answers with that screeeching sound before my call-answer kicks in. This has offended some clients and creditors or strangers calling here.

* A client informs me that a fax is coming, but I forget altogether to turn on the Auto-Answer and despite his repeated attempts, I usually find myself with about 20 messages in my call-answer that are screeching sounds
alternated by screaming clients telling me to turn my fax machine on!

* And that’s not all – everytime there is a reject – the printer/fax machine kicks out a cover page showing an error that no fax went through. I’ve been wasting paper and ink on these no-show faxes!

* All my financial statements, invoices, letterheads, email signatures et al .. have my toll-free fax number on it. I just found out yesterday that if you continue to fax to my toll-free fax number – clients have been receiving confirmation that their fax has been sent. I’m not sure if the line still is in existence, or if someone else has taken it over – but, I do know that it was officially disabled on January 16, 2008 and all my login passwords have expired. I cannot access that toll-free fax line anymore!

* There are no “do-overs”. If I scribble on a fax – that’s the only copy! That’s why I like to have that cover page status report be attached to every fax I send and receive, so I can doodle notes on the page.

PLEASE! Keep that in mind if you are trying to fax me sensitive or confidential information … do NOT use my toll-free fax number anymore .. CALL ME FIRST!

What’s Next?

For now – nothing. I will try this system over the upcoming Tax Season. I know I do not want my computer to be my resident fax machine, in case I turn off my computer, and there are memory issues. I could always go back to Telus, under the same arrangement .. or there are other companies out there -like which costs $18.00 (CAD) plus eFax charges $0.28 (CAD) per page.

In Manitoba, we have been able to transfer our home phone numbers anywhere else in the city, if we moved – but recently they have allowed you to transfer home lan line phone numbers to a cell phone number. I was thinking of something like….

* cancel my own cell phone (one of a buddy system)
* transfer my home phone number to my cell phone (people call me mostly anyway, or can call my wife directly on her cell phone)
* convert my existing lan line/DSL account to a new fax line
* buy a cheap fax machine and plug in my cordless 6.0 phone as an extension.


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