The alternate title for this post could be “Today I lost a good friend…”
So, if your fax number were accidentally disconnected, how long would it take for you to notice? In my case, five freakin’ months. I guess that shows you how much I depend on fax technology. Here’s how it all happened…
MWI has had a block of several 801-495… numbers since 2003. 801-495-4110 is our main number, 801-495-4400 is my direct number, and 801-495-4190 was our fax number. Other numbers were used for other people and extensions over the years. Each number costs us $5/month to maintain. Well, back around January I asked our phone company to cancel several of our numbers because we simply weren’t using them. Unfortunately, our fax number was included on that list of numbers to cancel. Doh!
Now, it’s not that we don’t do any of the things typically associated with faxing. We have paper contracts which are signed and sent back and forth along with other documents. I will admit I tend to do more sending of faxes than receiving. But much of the time faxing is bypassed altogether in favor of simply scanning and emailing documents. In the case of receiving faxes I don’t receive faxes as paper anyway. Our fax number was simply forwarded to an eFax account and the faxes showed up in my email inbox as attachments. When I send faxes I scan to a jpg, and then attach that to a fax in my eFax account and send faxes that way. That is, if I’m not just scanning and emailing to begin with.
Today, someone tried to send me a fax. It didn’t work, and so they called the number and listened for the fax signal, but instead got the familiar “The number you have reached has been disconnected…” message. They told me, I called myself, and sure enough, I got the message as well. Filled with righteous anger I called my phone provider and had them look into it, only to find while on the phone with them the email I had sent them asking them to disconnect a number of our extensions, and sure enough, I had told them to disconnect our fax number. Completely my fault.
I asked if there was any way to get it back. They looked into it, and found out that numbers are held for a 30-day period for situations just like this, but after 30 days the numbers apparently are irretrievable. But if it’s still disconnected doesn’t that mean it’s available? Yes, that’s what I thought, but apparently no, it’s gone forever, like a set of car keys dropped into a molten lava.
So what’s the big deal? Obviously I don’t use the number very much, or it wouldn’t have taken five months for me to find out what happened. And it’s not as though I have tons of printed materials with it on them. Changing the website is easy, of course. And besides, now I don’t have to deal with all that fax spam. But still, after six years of having that number, I’m gonna miss it.