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I am a U.S. citizen residing in Texas. I recently received a Driving While License Invalid surcharge notice from the Texas Department of Public Safety. This surcharge is a part of Texas' driver responsibility program. The DPS does not collect this money directly, they use a private debt collection corporation as a middleman, the company is called The Municipal Services Bureau.
The MSB is asking $260 from me, or my license will be suspended by the TXDPS. But The Texas Transportation Code chapter 708, the statutory authority, states that I must pay a fine of $250. Not $260. When I asked the DPS if I could pay them directly, they said no. The MSB said the additional $10 was a "processing fee" or some BS. The TXDPS is using this middleman billing agency as a way to steal from we the people. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is: The Transportation Code says that I need only pay $250 and the department has not given me a proper way to do so. How can I fight this? I'm willing to go thru courts if I know how, because people like me are responsible for maintaining checks and balances.
Response: Unfortunately, The Municipal Services Bureau (“MSB”) is authorized by Texas Department of Public Safety to charge 4% processing fee. For your case, that amounts to $10.00. (4% of $250.00 is $10.00). So, there is nothing you can gain by going to Court except accruing more Court fees. You need to ahead and make your payment of $260.00 to MSB, which is the vendor Texas Department of Public Safety (“TDPS”) has contracted to collect this fee. See Texas Transportation Code Title 7 Chapter 708 Section 708.155.
Sec. 708.155. CONTRACTS FOR COLLECTION OF SURCHARGES. (a) The department may enter into a contract with a private attorney or a public or private vendor for the provision of services for the collection of surcharges receivable and related costs under this chapter.
(b) To provide for alternative or additional collection methods for surcharges receivable, the department may amend a contract entered into under Subsection (a) and enter into additional contracts under Subsection (a).
(c) The total amount of compensation under a contract entered into under this section may not exceed 30 percent of the amount of the surcharges and related costs collected.
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