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Do not disturb will send callers to voice mail.
If you were talking to someone and someone else called it will go to voice mail if you do not have call waiting feature option or turned on.
to stop the fax automatically switching to fax mode you have to set it to manual to recieve calls and dissable the fax,there should be an auto/fax and call mode, therefore when someone calls it will go to your voicemail, but that means that you will not be able to recieve a fax.
Normally auto mode, will first try the fax, if no fax is recognised it will switch to normal line ringer, then if no answer it should go to your voicemail if unanswered.
She may have a standard phone, not all phones come with an answering machine. Maybe she has voicemail with the phone company and calls are getting answered back there after three rings instead of her new machine that answers after five rings. If that's the case she needs to get the phone company to shut off their voicemail so her machine can answer those calls.
This happens when the number of rings to answer of the provider voicemail is less than the number of rings to answer that the answer machine is set for. For example: if your provider voicemail rings to answer is set for 3 rings and the answer machine is set for 4 rings then the voicemail answers before the 4th ring, therefore the answer machine will never get a message. I would call the service provider's customer service number and request they increase the rings to answer above the number of rings to answer that the answer machine is set for. If you don't want voicemail to answer any calls(when your line is busy or when the answer machine is turned off) ask your service provider to disable voicemail.
The phone is probably forwarded to voicemail. Leave the handset down and dial "Feature # 4". This will remove the call forwarding option. There are also automated call forwarding options -- Call Forward-No Answer, and Call Forward-Busy. CF/NA will transfer calls to voicemail after 4-rings (for instance). CF/B sends all calls to voicemail if you are on your phone. System programming, by a certified technician, is required to make changes to these options. Hope this helps.
The phone you have can go on several different Norstar phone systems and you can have several different types of voice mail. Your voice mail (and possibly the phone system) needs to have programming changes, not the telephone. Your first step is to determine which Nortel phone system you have and also what model voice mail. You will need manuals for the phone system and voice mail. Hopefully you already have a programming or administration manual for the voice mail. Someone should have gotten this information when the system was first installed but that could have been many years ago.
What happens when you are waiting for that time? Do you hear absolutely nothing? Instead of being sent directly to your voice mail box, it may be sending callers to a voice mail branch where you would normally have a recording "press 1 for this, 2 for that" If there is no recording the system will wait for a response that the caller has no idea of and usually replay the message 3 times before defaulting to your mailbox (in this case a blank message). That is my best guess with the information I have from you so far.