"Our mail filter stripped off the PDF.. can you fax it to me?"
"Our firewall is preventing me from downloading the document.. can you fax it to me?"
"What's a PDF? I can't open it. Can you fax it to me?"
"Sorry, our policies require you send the document by fax"
A fax? That's so
passÚ! So 90's! Overrated, antiquated pieces of sh....
Old school faxing is an incredible waste of time and resources (think trees/paper), however with so many recalcitrant organizations around, having fax facilities is still a necessary evil for many doing online business.
Up until recently, I dug my heels in regarding faxing unless it was super-duper, uber-important. But I became a little tired of scenarios such as above and crossed over to the dark side, not by buying a fax machine, but signing up for an online faxing service.
How online faxing works
An internet fax service is pretty simple to use - depending on the service, you may have a web interface where you upload documents for sending and receiving fax documents. The company providing the services issues you a unique fax number. Faxes come into that number, are usually automatically converted into PDF and then transmitted to your online inbox.
Other services combine an online interface with full email support; so everything can be done via your email client.
For example, if you want to send a fax, you create your document (Word or PDF), then attach it to the email. The destination number you place in the subject line, or in some cases it takes the form of firstname.lastname@example.org - where 1234567890 is the fax number of the receiving party. The faxing service receives the email, parses the number and automatically forwards it on to the intended party.
All good online faxing services will provide you with a send/receive receipt; which is pretty important when it comes to record keeping, especially when dealing with legal documents. Some will even send you SMS alerts when faxes come in.
Online faxing has several advantages over having a physical fax:
Internet fax technology has come a long way. Quite a few online faxing services have popped up over the years, and as with any online service, your mileage will vary - so it's best to find a service offering a free trial before signing the dotted line.
Free online fax trial
RingCentral is currently offering a 30 days free online fax trial - and their base package starts at $7.99 a month, which is quite reasonable. The RingCentral service offers these features:
Try the RingCentral free
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