§ 422.837. Contracting with private collection contractors and with entities that locate and recover unclaimed assets.

(a) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section, we may contract with private collection contractors to recover delinquent debts, if:

(1) We retain the authority to resolve disputes, compromise debts, suspend or terminate collection action, and, as appropriate, to refer debts to the Department of Justice for review and litigation;

(2) The private collection contractor is not allowed to offer the debtor, as an incentive for payment, the opportunity to pay the debt less the private collection contractor's fee, unless we have granted such authority prior to the offer;

(3) The contract provides that the private collection contractor is subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 to the extent specified in 5 U.S.C. 552a(m) and to applicable Federal and State laws and regulations pertaining to debt collection practices, including, but not limited, to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692; and

(4) The private collection contractor is required to account for all amounts collected.

(b) We will use government-wide debt collection contracts to obtain debt collection services provided by private collection contractors. However, we may refer debts to private collection contractors pursuant to a contract between the agency and the private collection contractor only if such debts are not subject to the requirement to transfer debts to the Treasury for debt collection under 31 U.S.C. 3711(g) and 31 CFR 285.12(e).

(c) Debts arising under the Social Security Act (which can be collected by private collection contractors only by Department of the Treasury (Treasury) after the debt has been referred to Treasury for collection) are excluded from this section.

(d) We may fund private collection contractor contracts in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3718(d) or as otherwise permitted by law. A contract under paragraph (a) of this section may provide that the fee a private collection contractor charges the agency for collecting the debt is payable from the amounts collected.

(e) We may enter into contracts for locating and recovering assets of the United States, including unclaimed assets. However, before entering into a contract to recover assets of the United States that may be held by a State Government or financial institution, we must establish procedures that are acceptable to the Secretary of the Treasury.

(f) We enter into contracts for debtor asset and income search reports. In accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3718(d), such contracts may provide that the fee a contractor charges the agency for such services may be payable from the amounts recovered unless otherwise prohibited by statute.