800 Number with Fax Service

Thank you for the informative Internet fax services comparisons web site. I signed up for one then came to the realization that they — and also the rest I’ve checked so far — keep ownership of your 800 number! So if you ever decide to go elsewhere, or the company folds, you must start over with a different fax number. I find this unacceptable for any sort of business use. Do you know of any of the services which let you keep your toll-free number? This portability is standard when getting voice service and I believe required by law. Any info or comments?

You’re right — although many Internet fax services include toll-free phone numbers for incoming faxes, none of those let you own that phone number. Once you distribute your fax number widely (on business cards, for example) you may feel locked into that company. Although there are number portability laws for mobile phones, they don’t apply to landline phones and services like Internet faxing.

There is a way around this problem: you can get your own toll-free number, then have that number forwarded to any Internet fax service. Later, if you want to switch to a different fax service, all you have to do is have the toll-free number forwarded to that new incoming fax line.

Getting your own toll-free number used to be rather difficult, but isn’t anymore. Start with Toll Free Numbers.com, a service that will get you a toll-free number for $50. You can pick the number from a huge list (even getting a vanity number that spells out something meaningful), and you will own the number. You’ll have to transfer the number to your own phone company, and the Toll Free Numbers site tells you how to do this.

This will end up costing a bit more than just using the toll-free number provided by an Internet fax service, but ultimately gives your business more flexibility in choosing, and changing, fax providers.

A side note: Although people often use the terms “800 number” and “toll-free” number interchangeably, there are actually several other toll-free area codes now, because the 800 area code space was filling up. The other toll-free area codes are 866, 877, and 888. 855 numbers will be added to the mix soon. 844, 833 and 822 aren’t used now but are reserved for future use.

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