If you’ve ever operated a fax machine, you know that it can be a real pain.
You have to wait in line, suffer through paper jams and busy fax numbers, and deal with too many faxes built up in the print queue. If your fax machine decides to have a bad day, you could end up stuck without a way to send or receive important or private information. For some, this could be life-changing.
It turns out that a few pretty big news stories have featured a fax machine flop. Check out these five epic fax fails.
1. National Fax Machine Day
In 2015, beloved Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea was set to move to Real Madrid as part of a £29.3 million transfer. Manchester United had to send over the necessary paperwork via fax, but their fax machine malfunctioned and the paperwork was sent over too late. As a result, the deal fell through and de Gea signed a new four-year contract with the Red Devils.
One year later, fans took to Twitter to celebrate the one year anniversary of the fax machine blunder that kept de Gea on their team. Some hailed it as “National Fax Machine Day,” and one wrote, “I’m so grateful to that fax machine, it saved our club. It needs to be put in a museum one day.”
2. Fax is the New Black
The Anna M. Kross Center is the largest housing compound on Rikers Island, a jail complex in New York City. In April 2018, a broken fax machine prevented several detainees from being released on bail.
The process for posting bail usually involves sending payment details to the Kross Center via fax. Nicole Follman, a senior bail associate, attempted to post bail for an elderly inmate the evening of August 25th, but the detainee still remained behind bars the following afternoon because of the broken fax machine. Two other inmates were also unable to leave the premises due to problems processing their bail.
You’d think getting out of jail would be hard enough, without a fax machine getting in the way.
3. Second-Hand Slip-Up
In 2017, Angel Belladonna tried to send a fax, but her fax machine didn’t print out the usual confirmation page. Puzzled, she enlisted her husband to access the fax machine’s memory to print out a copy of the fax pages that had been sent. Instead of a confirmation page, they received something else entirely.
They had purchased their fax machine from a resale shop a few years prior. It turns out that the fax machine had previously belonged to Spectrum Health, a healthcare organization based in Michigan.
When Belladonna’s husband accessed the fax machine’s memory, it spat out almost 40 pages with detailed information about 20 patients, including lab results, diagnoses, insurance information, and more.
When confronted with the security breach, Spectrum Health was perplexed because they had followed the standard procedure for getting rid of an old fax machine. Patients were notified, the machine was obtained, and the patient records were destroyed.
Definitely a case of too much information...
4. A Football Fax Fiasco
Back in 2013, Elvis Dumervil, top pass rusher for the Denver Broncos, was in the midst of negotiations about a pay-cut. His agent, Marty Magid, made a verbal agreement with the Denver Broncos to reduce Dumervil’s salary from $12 million to $8 million, and thirty-five minutes before the deadline, Dumervil agreed to the cut.
But, Dumervil was in Miami and needed to fax his signed contract to the Broncos HQ in Denver before 2 pm. He ran to the nearest Kinkos and sent the fax at 1:53 pm, but due to transmission delays, his fax was delivered six minutes after the deadline. The Broncos announced at 1:59 pm that they would be cutting him.
Dumervil didn’t look back. Despite the Broncos’ attempt to reconcile, Dumervil instead signed a 5-year $35 million deal with the Ravens. He fired Magid, who was ultimately fined and suspended by the Player’s Association for his role in the debacle. Ouch.
5. Freedom to Fax?
The Pentagon has always been heavily reliant on paper. Administrative assistants have even been known to print out emails and drop them into officials’ in-baskets. But a few years ago, this reliance on paper caused some serious problems.
In 2013, the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s sole fax machine went down. At the time, fax was the only way to effectively send electronic Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Pentagon. The broken fax machine was set to extend a backlog of over 1,000 requests still awaiting processing at the OSD. Many feared that with an impending government shutdown, it would take weeks to get the fax machine up and running again.
The OSD was ultimately able to install a new fax machine within a couple of days, but the broken fax machine caused a significant frenzy.
You’d think the Department of Defense would know how to defend itself against a fax machine fail.
Ditch Your Fax Machine
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