Just the Fax, Sir
I thought that the facsimile machine — better known as a fax machine, which was once the ubiquitous device for the communications of documents decades ago — was long dead.
Lately, though, I have been finding companies which seem to prefer that method of communication — almost as if they were channeling the catchphrase “Just the facts, ma’am” repeatedly uttered by fictional detective Joe Friday from Dragnet, which was a popular television show in the 1950s and 1960s. In my case, they seem to be saying “send us just the fax, sir.”
For example, if I want to request mileage credit in my AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program account for flying as a passenger on Gulf Air — a partner of American Airlines — I must do it via fax…
…never mind that I should have received it automatically — causing me to wonder if airlines deliberately avoiding mileage credit from partner airlines unless specifically requested.
“Fax? Is 1985 calling using one of those touch-tone telephones?!?” I asked in that article…
…which I find funny, because coincidentally, Alexander Bachuwa of The Points of Life wrote the following statement in this article posted on Saturday, August 8, 2015 pertaining to his experience with Wells Fargo:
“‘Although we see the payment, we cannot free up your credit until August 21st when the funds are cleared. Alternatively, you could fax (that’s right they said fax) proof from the institution that they released the funds.’
Has anyone ever heard of something so stupid? I paid my bill with my checking account and they want proof that the funds are on their way. Why are they acting like the year is 1985 and that I’m presenting an out-of-state check?”
Don’t worry, Alexander — I will not accuse you of plagiarism; but it does seem that we are on a similar wavelength here.
When I decided to rent a car outside of the United States, I paid the total in advance because it was significantly less expensive; but I needed to bring official documentation with me while traveling to prove to the employees of the rental car facility that I already paid for the rental car in full and not to charge me. I was told by a representative of Hertz that pre-paid international reservations can only be faxed to me.
“I do have a fax machine; but I have not used it in years,” I explained to the representative via telephone. “I do not even know if it works; and I do not have any fax paper.”
After discussing this dilemma, we finally agreed that the paperwork would be forwarded to the rental car facility where I would pick up the vehicle which I was renting. That worked.
I have also been dealing with a financial company which wants sensitive paperwork faxed to its employees. I have been able to work out an arrangement where I could either scan or take photographs of them and send them via e-mail message; or copy them and send them via postal mail.
Is communicating via fax making a comeback? I cannot understand why there are entities which insist on using faxes as their primary forms of communication in the year 2015. It is not as though the quality of faxes was ever that good; it requires a special device, telephone line and paper — unless the fax is sent electronically — which cost extra money; and flimsy fax paper was not known to last.
With the advent of digital cameras and e-mail messaging, documents could be sent more quickly — and with better quality — than via fax.
All is not lost, however: if you are dealing with a company which seems to be employed with Luddites and technophobes who insist on using fax machines to communicate its documents, there are several ways to send your documents free of charge via e-mail massage to a fax machine, according to this article written by Ryan Dube at MakeUseOf. I have not used any of those free services yet; so I cannot comment on them.
Why would anyone prefer to communicate documents via fax these days? What has been your experience regarding dealing with companies which prefer communications via fax?