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Give the loan company a call, explain the situation, and ask for mercy. The worst they can do is say no, right? Unfortunately, I wouldn't give you very good odds, though - she was, indeed, late.

Ongoing, why not suggest sending a payment every month, at the same time of month, for the same dollar amount, regardless of whether a bill comes or not (and look into whether it is possible to do this all electronically at your bank). After all, she knows the loan amount, the repayment schedule, and all the details - the "bill" is really nothing more than a reminder. This is, in my opinion, quite different from an electricity bill. The payments have been defined by contract well in advance.

Just some off-the-cuff thoughts - I am sure other Fool will provide very good input.

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