Just fax off

Love it or hate it, email is one of the best communications vehicles we have.

This is the sort of post that is just too long for Twitter and no where near thought out enough for the blog. But here goes.

I have no idea why people (in this case the VW dealership) insist on being “faxed” documents and documentation. It takes me a good five mins to work out how to use our fax machine (do I dial “9”, did it go through, was it the right way up etc) and another 15 mins of worrying whether the person at the other end actually got it, or whether my fax rolled underneath the fax machine.

Case in point: I sent three faxes today, one of which was a duplication of the first and all of which contained some pretty important information such as passport number, DOB, work permit details and my annual salary. I have no idea whether the intended recipients got the fax or if my personal details are currently being sold to shady people in far-flung countries.

At least, I won’t know until I get my next credit card statement. <<insert tired joke about wife’s spending being higher than the ID thieves’ here>>

In the half hour or so I spent photocopying my documents, figuring out how to use the fax machine and then worrying about my data, I could’ve quickly and easily scanned said documents into a PDF and emailed them many times over. Sure, I would still be subject to the same data integrity woes (remember that email is like a postcard – anyone can read it, if they are so inclined) but if I got the wrong email address, I would be instantly alerted by one of those annoying, yet useful, bounce-backs.

Secondly, does anyone ever fall for that stupid fax spam? You know, the one sent by “Human Resources” to “All employees” alerting you to a great deal on holidays, cars, whatever. Or the one that has an offer on it that’s been marked up by “Doug from Finance” but sent to you by “accident”.

Clearly enough people do fall for it to make it worth their while, and the response rates must need to be much higher than email spam as, after all, spammers actually have to pay for fax spam in the form of telephone charges. Judging by the huge pile of paper piling up on our own fax machine, fax spam is a profitable business.

But what sort of person trusts a random fax sent to someone else? Maybe I should send a memo to them. Now…what’s their fax number?

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3 Responses to Just fax off

  1. Parker says:

    Faxes are useless.
    We’ve got a fax machine in our department and the only things that have ever come through on it are junk faxes and confidential information sent to a law firm that has a fax number very similar to ours.

    But is sending junk faxes really so expensive? Surely there must be someway to automate, what with the fancy computers and internet connections everyone has these days.

  2. Joe Boughner says:

    Yea, I think Parker hit on the irony of it all. The worst faxspammers are undoubtedly using computers to send their offers of sunny vacations and computer training manuals. I’m sure you can sign up somewhere and have all the secrets emailed to you.

  3. Maricel says:

    I hate faxes. It’s a waste of time and a waste of paper.
    Fax cover, documents and then you get the report…all very wasteful.

    Believe it or not, there are still journalists, reporters, producers, etc. that would rather receive information via fax as opposed to e-mail – I learned this when updating a media list at the office.

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