§ 7.45 - When are pre-payments required for records requested under subpart C of this part, and how are they handled?
(a) When DOT estimates that the search charges, review charges, duplication fees, or any combination of fees that could be charged to the requester will likely exceed US $25, DOT notifies the requester of the estimated amount of the fees, unless the requester has previously indicated a willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. In cases where DOT notifies the requester that actual or estimated fees may amount to more than US $25, the time limit for responding to the request is tolled until the requester has agreed to pay the anticipated total fee (see § 7.35). The notice also informs the requester how to consult with the appropriate DOT officials with the object of reformulating the request to meet his or her needs at a lower cost.
(b) DOT may require payment of fees prior to actual duplication or delivery of any releasable records to a requester. However, advance payment, i.e., before work is commenced or continued on a request, is not required unless:
(1) Allowable charges that a requester may be required to pay are likely to exceed US $250; or
(2) The requester has failed to pay within 30 days of the billing date fees charged for a previous request to any part of the U.S. Government.
(c) When paragraph (b)(1) of this section applies, DOT notifies the requester of the estimated cost. If the requester has a history of prompt payment of FOIA fees, the requester must furnish satisfactory assurance of full payment of the estimated charges. Otherwise, the requester may be required to make advance payment of any amount up to the full estimated charges.
(d) When paragraph (b)(2) of this section applies, DOT requires the requester to either demonstrate that the fee has been paid or pay the full amount owed, including any applicable interest, late handling charges, and penalty charges as discussed in § 7.46. DOT also requires such a requester to make an advance payment of the full amount of the estimated fee before DOT begins processing a new request or continues processing a pending request.
(e) In the event that a DOT component is required to refund a prepayment, the processing of the refund may necessitate collection of the requester's Taxpayer Identification Number or Social Security Number and direct deposit information (bank routing number and bank account number) under 31 U.S.C. 3325, 31 U.S.C. 3332, and 31 CFR Part 208.