UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
August 12, 1993
Mr. Larry L. Evans
Dear Mr. Evans:
This is in reply to your letter of June 23, 1993 concerning whether the collection of filing fees for cases filed by the state for non-payment of child support is covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq.
The answer to your question turns on whether filing fees can be considered "debts" under Section 803(5) of the Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(5), which defines a "debt" as:
The purpose of a filing fee in this circumstance is presumably to reimburse the county for costs associated with filing a case. Such a purpose does not appear to be consistent with the requirement that there be a "transaction" and that the subject of the transaction (filing fees) be related to personal, family or household concerns. Here, there was no "transaction" as such and filing fees, standing alone, are not related to personal, family or household concerns. This is so even though the underlying reason for the filing fees (child support) could be so related. It is our understanding that you are not proposing to collect child support directly but only the filing fees associated with child support cases.
Thus, we do not believe that the collection of filing fees falls within the parameters of the Act.
I hope this has been helpful.
John F. LeFevre