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It means that your fax machine is "answering" the incoming call before you pick up the handset. Usually, the factory setting on the fax machine picks up after two incoming rings. There are three ways you can address this issue: 1.) You can either change the number of rings to, say, five incoming rings to give you enough time to answer the phone before the fax machine picks up, or 2,) you can find out if your fax machine has a feature that allows for the voice hook "click over" that will allow you to override the fax when you pick up your handset, or 3.) turn your fax machine off until you need to send a fax.
If you want to investigate number 2.), then you'll need your operator's manual.
Problem lies in your Receive Mode setting. If you don't have a dedicated phone line for the fax machine, you need to set it up for either Manual where you answer every call or Fax/Tel whereby the Fax machine determines if the incoming call is a fax or phone call. Instructions per Intellifax 4100 Manual.
Select a Receive Mode
Choose the mode that best suits your needs by pressing the Mode button
repeatedly until the FAX and FAX/TEL lights show the setting you want to use.
You must answer every call yourself.
The Brother machine must be started manually
to receive faxes.
For use with a dedicated fax line.
Every call is answered as a fax.
For receiving fax and voice calls on one line.
The FAX answers every call and receives a fax or
double rings for you to pick up a voice call.
For use with an answering device.
The TAD answers every call and stores voice messages.
Fax messages are printed.
I have the same problem. I can send a fax, but if I try to receive a fax, the distinctive ring goes off, and it says RECEIVE on the display, but it doesn't receive anything, and there is nothing in the memory. Any ideas? PLEASE HELP!!!!!