How to Get Through a Busy Fax Line

By Jeffrey Brian Airman

Updated September 26, 2017

Fax machines with built-in handsets are easy to leave off the hook.
i fax image by Attila Toro from

You can get through a busy fax line so important information and documents reach the people to whom you are trying to send them. A fax machine that is regularly receiving and sending faxes or has been left off the hook may send callers a busy signal. The sound of the busy signal becomes frustrating after you've made several attempts to get the fax machine to answer. A few minutes of investigating can get you through a busy fax line and save hours of frustration.

Make at least three attempts at five-minute intervals before retrieving the voice phone number of the location where you are trying to send the fax. Search online or in the phone book for the company or location if you have only the fax number.

Call the phone number for the company or location using a phone that is separate from your fax machine. Explain your difficulty to the staff member and ask that he check on the fax machine while you hold on the line. Prepare the documents in your fax machine while you wait on the line.

Ask the staff member if you should make another attempt to send the fax once he has returned to the line. If he says yes, ask that he stay on the line while you make the attempt. Find out if the company has a second fax line if he explains that the first machine is having a problem.

Try to send the fax to the original or new fax number while you have the staff member on the phone. See if he has any other suggestions on how to get through the busy fax line if this attempt fails.

Wait or program your fax machine so the fax is sent late at night or in the early morning when the facility will be closed or business will be slow. Some fax machines can make multiple automatic attempts to get through a busy line until the documents are sent. This is sometimes the only way to get through a bombarded fax line.


Many fax machines store received faxes in their memory once they run out of paper. When the limited fax memory is filled, the machine can't receive new information. Loading the machine with paper will allow it to print the faxes from the memory and receive new faxes.