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I am sorry you are dealing with this situation and certainly understand your frustration with the lender. Typically in the loan documents there is a waiver of notice regarding default for late payments. The documents also contain the late fee provisions. You will want to read over your loan documents to see if there is waiver of notice and what the late penalty for payment is as stated per the agreement/promissory note.
In the meantime, you were correct in reserving your payment to them regarding wanting an accounting. If in deed you have paid on time then you are entitled to return of the fees.
Another thing you can do is file a consumer complaint against the lender with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and your State's Attorney General regarding the lack of notice and the length in time they allowed this to go (questioning the reasonableness). Even if technically legal because of the loan documents, the CFPB and AG look out for consumers and may very well put a stop to such action in the future and/or fine the lender based on a this trade practice. Here is a link tot he CFPB: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/
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