Fax Etiquette 101

If you receive a fax in your office intended for another company, are you obligated to forward it or contact the sender to report a mishap?

The answer is no, according to Deborah Sauer, a vice president of marketing at Stamford, Conn.-based Pitney Bowes Inc.

There are over 110 million fax machines in use worldwide, and mix-ups will occur. As a good corporate citizen, you can contact the sender and inform them that their fax was misdirected. But you are under no legal requirement to forward the fax to it's proper destination.

Dana May Casperson, author of "Power Etiquette: What You Don't Know Can Kill Your Career," offers these tips to ensure that the faxes you are sending out are done correctly:

  • Always send a cover page that includes contact names and telephone numbers and the number of pages being transmitted;
  • Never send more than five pages without first confirming that it won't be inconvenient for the recipient;
  • Call to check to make sure important faxes were received by the appropriate person;
  • Never send unsolicited faxes to try to sell products or services.

Follow these simple rules and you can improve the effectiveness of the faxes you send.


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