A GAO decision was requested on the claim of a U.S. Geological Survey employee for reimbursement of a loan service fee that he incurred as part of his relocation expenses. The agency disallowed the claim because the fee was a finance charge. The employee reclaimed the fee, stating that it was not a finance charge because it was assessed to defray the lender's administrative expenses. In addition, he alleged that agency officials had advised him that he would be reimbursed for the fee. GAO found that the Federal Travel Regulations that were in effect at the time prohibited reimbursement of any finance charge, including charges imposed to defray a lender's administrative costs. Furthermore, the government cannot be bound by erroneous advice provided by agency officials. Accordingly, the employee's claim for the fee may not be allowed.
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