A-80378, SEPTEMBER 12, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 235

A-80378: Sep 12, 1936

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BECAUSE OF WHICH REFUND IS CLAIMED. WAS DUE TO THE FAILURE TO INFORM THE CONSUL AS TO THE SERVICES DESIRED AND THE PURPOSE SOUGHT TO BE ACCOMPLISHED. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS ENCLOSED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION A COPY OF DESPATCH NO. 43 DATED AUGUST 7. IT BEING CLAIMED THAT THE AUTHENTICATIONS WERE NOT WORDED IN SUCH A WAY AS TO CONFORM TO THE RELEVANT NEW YORK LAW ON THE SUBJECT. INASMUCH AS A MEASURE OF RESPONSIBILITY WOULD APPEAR TO REST WITH THE CONSULATE FOR THE MANNER IN WHICH THE AUTHENTICATIONS WERE PREPARED. YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE CONSUL MAY PROPERLY REFUND THE FEES IN THIS INSTANCE. IS AS FOLLOWS: I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST THAT I BE ADVISED WHETHER REFUNDMENT OF FEES.

A-80378, SEPTEMBER 12, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 235

FEES - FOREIGN SERVICE - REFUNDS FEES COLLECTED BY AN AMERICAN CONSUL MAY NOT BE REFUNDED WHERE THE DEFECT IN THE SERVICES RENDERED, AND BECAUSE OF WHICH REFUND IS CLAIMED, WAS DUE TO THE FAILURE TO INFORM THE CONSUL AS TO THE SERVICES DESIRED AND THE PURPOSE SOUGHT TO BE ACCOMPLISHED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, SEPTEMBER 12, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 31, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS ENCLOSED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION A COPY OF DESPATCH NO. 43 DATED AUGUST 7, 1936, RECEIVED FROM THE AMERICAN CONSULAR OFFICER IN CHARGE AT BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, REPORTING THE REQUEST OF THE SOLICITOR EMPLOYED BY MISS FLORENCE ELLEN RIPPINGILLE FOR REFUND OF NOTARIAL FEES FOR THE AUTHENTICATION OF THE SIGNATURE AND SEAL OF THE BRITISH NOTARY ON CERTAIN DOCUMENTS, IT BEING CLAIMED THAT THE AUTHENTICATIONS WERE NOT WORDED IN SUCH A WAY AS TO CONFORM TO THE RELEVANT NEW YORK LAW ON THE SUBJECT.

INASMUCH AS A MEASURE OF RESPONSIBILITY WOULD APPEAR TO REST WITH THE CONSULATE FOR THE MANNER IN WHICH THE AUTHENTICATIONS WERE PREPARED, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE CONSUL MAY PROPERLY REFUND THE FEES IN THIS INSTANCE.

THE COPY OF DESPATCH, REFERRED TO IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, IS AS FOLLOWS:

I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST THAT I BE ADVISED WHETHER REFUNDMENT OF FEES, ON A BASIS OF THE FOLLOWING, WHICH I HAVE ASCERTAINED TO BE THE RELEVANT FACTS IN THE CASE, WOULD BE PROPER.

ON FEBRUARY 28, 1936, FLORENCE ELLEN RIPPINGILLE CALLED AT THE CONSULATE AND HANDED IN FOR ATTENTION CERTAIN DOCUMENTS TO WHICH SHE HAD SWORN BEFORE A BRITISH NOTARY PUBLIC. MISS RIPPINGILLE KNEW THAT SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE AT THE CONSULATE IN CONNECTION WITH THE DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO BUT WHAT, SHE DID NOT SAY AND DID NOT KNOW. THE CONSULATE AUTHENTICATED THE SIGNATURES AND SEAL OF THE BRITISH NOTARY ON THE DOCUMENTS, COLLECTED THE PRESCRIBED FEES FOR ITS SERVICES AND RETURNED THE DOCUMENTS TO MISS RIPPINGILLE. LATER, THE DOCUMENTS WERE BROUGHT BACK TO THE CONSULATE BY MISS RIPPINGILE'S SOLICITOR WHO STATED THAT THE CONSULATE'S SERVICES IN CONNECTION WITH THEM HAD PROVEN OF NO AVAIL.

AN EXAMINATION OF THE AUTHENTICATIONS IN QUESTION REVEALS THE FACT THAT THEY WERE NOT WORDED IN SUCH A WAY AS TO CONFORM WITH THE RELEVANT NEW YORK LAW ON THE SUBJECT.

IN THE FOREGOING CIRCUMSTANCES, THE CONSULATE RESPECTFULLY REQUESTS TO BE ADVISED WHETHER IT MAY BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN "ENTIRELY AT FAULT" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS EMPLOYED IN NOTE 3 TO SECTION 531 OF THE CONSULAR REGULATIONS, IN ORDER THAT THE CONSULATE MAY KNOW WHETHER IT MAY PROPERLY REFUND THE FEES CHARGED MISS RIPPINGILLE IN CONNECTION WITH THE SERVICES IN QUESTION.

THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE ARE TO THE EFFECT THAT CONSULAR FEES COLLECTED FOR SERVICES RENDERED ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE REFUNDED ONLY WHERE THERE HAS BEEN A DEFECT IN THE SERVICE PERFORMED BY THE CONSULAR OFFICER OR WHERE, FOR ANY REASON, THE SERVICES HAVE BEEN IMPROPERLY RENDERED. SEE 1 COMP. GEN. 276; AND 10 ID. 220.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM YOUR SUBMISSION THAT ANY DEFECT IN THE SERVICES RENDERED BY THE AMERICAN CONSUL AT BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, IN THIS INSTANCE WAS DUE TO THE FAILURE OF MISS RIPPINGILLE PROPERLY TO INFORM THE CONSUL AS TO THE SERVICES DESIRED AND THE PURPOSE SOUGHT TO BE ACCOMPLISHED THEREBY. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE REFUND OF THE FEES COLLECTED FOR THE SERVICES IS NOT AUTHORIZED.