Why Do Fax Machines Still Exist?

I want to clarify – from my recent post on how I didn’t like the “technological advancements” of Monopoly Live – I’m not a technology fearing Luddite.  I love technology, but I think that people need to maintain the skills that the technology is “easing” or “replacing.”   That said, why the frak do fax machines still exist?

I was trying to get a form from American Express Bank last night, and they said “Sure, we can fax it to you.”

“Umm, can you please just email it to me?” I pleaded, not having a fax machine.  Seriously – what is this – 1990? Who uses fax machines?  The same people who carry around the Gordon Gecko cell phone?

Gecko!

“Sorry sir, we have to fax it,” the woman told me – and American Express Bank has tremendous customer service by the way – I mean that seriously, not sarcastically.

What to do, what to do?  I immediately checked Efax – where I used to have an account back in the good old days of 1998.  Efax provided a free service where you could get a fax number which would automatically forward an image of the document to your email.  It was a cool idea – they were basically trying to eliminate the fax machine already back in 1998. This was also the first and only bubble stock that I really nailed – I remember because the stock ripped so quickly that I had to get approval to sell it inside of my firm’s 30 day holding period – I think it rallied from $8 to $28 in a month.  Anyway, Efax seems to have done away with their free service, I didn’t want to sign up for a trial offer of something, and I didn’t want to use one of the free online faxing services that puts advertisements on your cover pages.

Ginger Ted came to the rescue, emailing me, “Just have them fax it to me – my fax automatically forwards to my email.”

AIYAHH!  So what is the friggin point of requiring the form to be faxed?  One of my legal eagle readers must have an idea about this. The only thing I can think of is that an .pdf attachment in email can somehow be edited/hacked easier than a fax page can?

In this day and age of information over the internet, I don’t understand why fax machines exist.  I make my “landline” calls through Vonage – VOIP.  I make my cell phone calls (Sprint) through Sprint’s Airave – a little device that basically creates a localized cell tower and sends my calls over my network – again, VOIP.   And as I found out, many people even receive their fax’s over the internet.  Why require fax’s then?  Why not just email?

-KD

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