19 U.S. Code § 1631 - Use of private collection agencies

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(a) In general
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary, under such terms and conditions as the Secretary considers appropriate, shall enter into contracts and incur obligations with one or more persons for collection services to recover indebtedness arising under the customs laws and owed the United States Government, but only after the Customs Service has exhausted all administrative efforts, including all claims against applicable surety bonds, to collect the indebtedness.
(b) Contract requirements
Any contract entered into under subsection (a) of this section shall provide that—
(1) the Secretary retains the authority to resolve a dispute, compromise a claim, end collection action, and refer a matter to the Attorney General to bring a civil action; and
(2) the person is subject to—
(A) section 552a of title 5 to the extent provided in subsection (m) of such section; and
(B) laws and regulations of the United States Government and State governments related to debt collection practices.
(c) Payment of costs
The debtor shall be assessed and pay any and all costs associated with collection efforts pursuant to this section. Notwithstanding section 3302 (b) of title 31, any sum so collected shall be used to pay the costs of debt collection services.


(June 17, 1930, ch. 497, title IV, § 631, as added Pub. L. 103–182, title VI, § 671,Dec. 8, 1993, 107 Stat. 2217; amended Pub. L. 104–295, § 3(a)(9),Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3516; Pub. L. 106–36, title I, § 1001(b)(5)(A),June 25, 1999, 113 Stat. 132.)

1999—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 106–36amended directory language of Pub. L. 104–295. See 1996 Amendment note below.
1996—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104–295, as amended by Pub. L. 106–36, added subsec. (c).
Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 104–295applicable as of Dec. 8, 1993, see section 3(b) ofPub. L. 104–295, set out as a note under section 1321 of this title.
Transfer of Functions

For transfer of functions, personnel, assets, and liabilities of the United States Customs Service of the Department of the Treasury, including functions of the Secretary of the Treasury relating thereto, to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 203 (1), 551 (d), 552 (d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.


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