ABC Nightline did a recent report about the  Bankruptcy Boot Camp of O.Max Gardner, III.   You can read the ABC report on Max's blog HERE.bootcamp.jpg

Mr. Gardner's main beef is with the mortgage servicer.  The Servicer is the company that contracts with your lender (really a trust or group of trusts that hold collateralized debt/mortgage obligations, including yours) to act on it's behalf.

Servicers are always trying to find new ways to produce income.  They will tack on fees in order to do so.  Perhaps you have seen some, like drive by appraisal fees, attorney fees, monthly broker price opinions, and multiple late fees.

In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, the servicer will often charge these fees in secret i.e. not disclose them to the borrower nor to the court.  

These accumulated and non disclosed fees then re-appear after the bankruptcy is over with, usually when the borrower attempts to sell or refinance the home.  

The problem is that the borrower has filed the bankruptcy in order to catch up, so that when the bankruptcy is complete, there will be no arrears and any threat of foreclosure will be over as long as the regular payments are made. 

These hidden fees are a violation of the bankruptcy discharge.

An attorney can file an "adversary proceeding" or in other words sue the servicer in bankruptcy court for this discharge violation.  Doing so allows the bankruptcy filer to  get the mortgage current as was originally intended by filing the chapter 13.  If successful, the servicer may have to pay your attorney fees.

I attended the bootcamp in December 2006 but wherever you live, if you are a chapter 13 filer and have been having problems with your mortgage servicer, you should contact a Max Gardner Boot Camper and discuss your options.