Outgoing faxes get flagged as spam by Gmail, and can you send faxes as well as receive?

Using an install of the FreePBX Distro running FreePBX 12 and Asterisk 11, I set up a DID to receive and email faxes today. For anyone else that hasn’t figured out how to do this, here is what I did:

I first created a new virtual extension 900. Saved it and reopened it, then I could see the fax fields. I checked “enabled”, put a valid Gmaill address in the Fax Email field, and left the attachment format set to pdf, then saved those changes.

Then I went to inbound routes and created an inbound route for my FAX DID, and routed it to Fax Recipient: 900. Saved that, then under Settings, FAX Configuration I entered an email address for faxes sent by the system, and applied all my changes. This all appeared to be working and when I sent a test fax, FreePBX answered the call, returned the fax tones, and accepted the fax. By watching the CLI I could then see that it had successfully received and emailed the fax, yet the fax never showed up in my email. I don’t know what made me think to check my spam folder, since I’ve received other email sent by the system, but there they were!

Just out of curiosity I viewed the raw message format (basically the text actually received before the e-mail software tries to fix it up) and noticed a couple of odditied. First, the from address was in angle brackets, in other words it look like this:

From: <[email protected]>

Second, the subject line had some weird characters in it, and looked like this (phone number changed):

Subject: =?utf-8?Q?New_fax_from:_"9999999999"_<9999999999>?=

I didn’t see anything else that might cause the message to be flagged as spam - would one of those two things do it? And why the extra stuff in the subject line?

Also, getting back to that Settings, FAX Configuration window: Most of the other options look like they are concerned with sending faxes, not receiving. But if FreePBX supports sending faxes (rather than just receiving them) I can’t seem to figure out how you’d actually go about sending a fax. I only have the need to send a fax once every several months, but it would be nice to be able to do it without having to go someplace where there is a fax machine available, so are there any good instructions for sending a fax from FreePBX, or is that even possible?

I realize that if I were business, there is a lovely commercial fax module available, but this system is only used by myself and a few close friends, mostly as a bridge between older Linksys/Sipura devices and softphones, that don’t have native Google Voice capabilities, and Google Voice using the unsupported module. And I am sure that between all of us we’d probably never send more than a dozen faxes a year, so obviously I’m not prepared to buy the commercial module for this type of system and low level of usage.

The from is normal. The email address should be in angle brackets. Not having a name there shouldn’t be an issue

The subject looks a little off and that’s because it has UTF-8 characters in it. If you’d like to file a bug report we can take a look at that and do some UTF-8 removal and trimming.

Sending Faxes are done with FaxPro. We don’t have any user guides on how to manually send faxes for obvious reasons (if we did what would be the point of selling fax pro?). I understand that you say it’s only you and a couple of friends but I hope you can understand how that affects the bottom line of FaxPro. It would effectively just destroy the point in selling it. That said there are ways to send using all sorts of various technologies, such as HylaFax and AvantFax, one simply has to know what they are looking for and I’ve now provided you with that so happy searching!

Thanks. Done.


Also thank you for pointing me to HylaFax and AvantFax, I have a lot more time than money so setting those up would be an ideal project for an otherwise wasted day, if I can figure them out. I really, truly cannot afford to pay $150 for FaxPro, especially since it would be used so seldom (mainly for faxing the occasional medical form to Blue Cross, which apparently is under the delusion that faxes are more secure than email attachments). Sorry.

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