This story, if it is what you say, is appalling. If your credit union charged you a late charge on a car loan every month for 2 1/2 yrs and never sent notices, or made phone calls, it is inconceivable that they wont waive them. Although they may actually have a contractual right to charge these fees, they are provided for in the contract, I have always taken the stance that I have to earn those fees. I earn those fees by sending late notices and making collection calls.
This credit union, and every other financial institution in the US tracks and works their delinquent accounts in some fashion. Some are more aggressive and proactive than others but if they did nothing then the fault is theirs in anyones sense of fair play and customer service.
This story is very uncommon though. Are you sure that your mom didnt get notices every month and ignored them or something? Do you get a monthly statement for the auto loan or did you have a payment book? Does the credit union have a comprehensive monthly statement where all accounts are listed; checking, savings, credit card, loans?
Consumer Finance Professional
& Some Guy on the Internet