I currently use eFax. Can I join another company and keep my same number?

I currently use eFax. Can I join another company and keep my same number?

The local phone company is required to allow you to take your number with you if you switch providers. eFax, it appears, does not have that same limitation. They, in effect, are the customer of the local telephone company, so the rights to the numbers belong to eFax, not to you, the third-party recipient.

There is a lot of detail in the eFax customer agreement, but toward the end there is a section devoted to the “customer of record of the telephone numbers.” It’s apparently an important section, as it is the only one written entirely in capital letters. The whole thing basically states the telephone numbers eFax provides are owned by eFax, and not by the customer using them. The crucial part of this section with regard to your question reads (copied as is, minus the caps), “the company has certain rights with respect the number(s), including without limitation certain rights relating to porting of the number(s)…”

Ah, but there is still a chance. The agreement goes on to say, “you understand and agree that the company is not, itself, a telephone company and therefore the company is not under any legal obligation to permit you to port any telephone number(s) provided as part of the service unless you satisfy the provisions in section a below for porting out the number.”

So what are these provisions? Well, they start with providing “written notice,” and go from there, and eFax makes no bones about the fact that this can be a “lengthy” process. And if you don’t follow all of these provisions (including one that requires you to pay eFax $40 for the porting), eFax reserves the right to charge your credit card “$500 in liquidated damages.”

And if you don’t succeed in porting out your number, eFax may “immediately” reassign it to another customer. For all the hassle, it seems as though, if you want to switch services, the best bet is to do it, tell all your contacts the new fax number, and just cancel your eFax service entirely.