Fax Machine won’t Receive

Fax machine A can not receive a fax from fax machine B. All fax A does is ring. I can however send to fax B from fax A. Fax machine A can receive and send faxes from everywhere else. There are no blocked numbers on fax A. When we brought the unit to another location, it worked just fine.

What could be stopping fax reception from just one fax number?

The fact that you were able to successfully receive the fax when you changed locations makes it likely that the problem was caused by the phone line in the first location. But with an intermittent problem, you can’t be sure. There are five key areas to check (and even if some of them seem basic, it can’t hurt to check anyway.)

  • Is there paper in the tray (or on the thermal paper roll?). If there is no paper, your fax machine may not answer the call. If it has a paper tray, is it inserted completely or is the cover closed tightly?
  • Is there a document already in the feeder?
  • When you moved fax machine A to another location, did you use the same phone cord? Is the phone cable connection from the wall jack to your fax machine secure? Is the cable and both jacks in good condition? Is the cable coiled? These can affect signal strength and can cause “cross talk” or an echo on the line affecting your machine’s ability to detect an incoming call.
  • Is the receive mode set to auto answer? Depending on the specific model of your fax machine, there are likely different answer settings. In some cases following a power failure (e.g. moving the machine), the answer setting can revert to “manual” answer mode — that means the machine will not automatically answer incoming fax calls. If the receive mode was reset to “manual”, it could take up to 10 rings for the fax machine to answer an incoming call.
  • If you have a call waiting service on the phone line that is connected to the fax machine, the sound caused by an incoming call could have caused the fax to fail. Now that you’ve confirmed that the fax machine is working properly in another location, you’ll want to re-connect it in the original location, making sure that call waiting is not enabled on the line.

If you continue to encounter problems, contact the manufacturer or fax machine service provider.

Do you have a question about faxing? Send us your fax question.