Tom Gallagher ignited a long thread of discussion on online fax services on the SoloSmall list today. Tom was wondering about pricing as well as whether or not he could port his current fax number to an online fax service. The short answer: (1) cheaper than a land-line based fax, and (2) nope.

Tom’s e-mail after the jump.

Here’s an update. There were two parts to my original question:

1. What are options and pricing for online or internet/email based FAX service? (Meaning a phone number people can send FAXes to, then you get them via email attachment and-or web site download; and, send FAXes via scanner and website, but they look like normal FAXes to recipient. MUCH cheaper than a phone line….)

2. Can I keep my old FAX number and use for this new web FAX service?

I’ll post private responses to me with author stripped, in a day or three, as to #1 above. I’ve received several good responses, and thank all who helped with that info!

As to question #2 above, no one knew. So, I spent some time surfing the web for the answer. Here is what I found, which I think is the answer for now:

“Can I keep my old FAX number and use for this new web FAX service?”

The short answer is “no.” The solution proposed by these vendors is, “keep your old number but switch it to call forwarding to the new email FAX number.” My comment on that: I did this once, after moving my office. I kept my old number for about a year after I moved, since they wouldn’t let move my old phone number. The cost was less than for a normal phone line. My recollection is fuzzy — it was 14 years ago, but it was perhaps 30% of the cost of the normal phone line, to have the number set to only forward, via Qwest. Therefore, this is not the solution for me. It might be if I had a lot of printed material & web published material with my FAX #. But, I’ve always tried to avoid publishing it, in an effort to avoid FAX spam, so that’s not an issue for me. For me, it on my printed letterhead and that’s about it. So if I get a new FAX #, I’ll have to get new letterhead printed — which will cost. In my situation, I’ve determined that there is no way to “port” my old number from my old Telco provider to the email FAX service, so I’ll just get new letterhead printed.

A related issue I learned in my web search on this came up. What if you get a local or toll-free number assigned by the internet FAX provider, print it on your letterhead (etc.), then some time later have a problem and want to change it. Now it’s on your letterhead and another dead number! My solution will be to not print any FAX number on my printed letterhead at all. I currently have my word processor program set up to print a footer on page one of every letter, with my email address and website address. (I did that out of concern about potential for frequently changing email and website addresses, and not wanting to reprint letterhead each time.) When I get my new letterhead printed, it won’t have those or any FAX number. I’ll add the FAX number to my footer on page one of each letter.

Another small issue to warn about. If you get a toll free number assigned, you’ll probably be billed for incoming calls, just like any 800 number. (I’ll be sure to get a local area code for my new internet FAX number.

Thomas C. Gallagher, Lawyer
Gallagher Criminal Defense Services
301 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 270
Minneapolis Minnesota 55415
Office: 612- 677-8300
– Direct: 612-677-8331

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