What is the scam that you are referring to? The buyer presents an offer to the seller and the seller can choose to use a short sale negotiator. In order to protect their commission the negotiator can charge a fee for service from the buyerr because if the fee is collected from the seller it is more likely to be negotiated away by the lender. However, if you present an offer for $100,000 and the seller counters with $98,000 and $2000 to the negotiator, exactly what has it cost the buyer. The negotiator protects the sellers interests and the likelihood of the deal getting done dramatically increases. Most short sales fail because they are not handled propertly. There is no reason for a bank to hold on to a property that is costing them money. Obviously the purchase price has to be reasonable whether it be a HAFA or traditional short sale. At the end of the day it is the bank who is the one paying for the negotiator as all of the costs of the purchase are paid before the bank gets iot's money. I guess if the fee is charged up front and the deal is never consummated then you have been scammed but most negotiators are only paid at settlement.