The answer is maybe one time, but not more than that. Credit companies continually hear how their customers cannot pay their bills on time. If there ever was any human compassion from the creditors it has long since gone away. It is the credit card companies that invented, with the blessings of Congress, the universal default system that allows the creditors to raise the interest on a debt if the consumer has been late on only one payment to any another creditor. If you ever open a credit card bill and find your interest rate has exploded, you have been bitten by universal default.
Many people will advise the consumer to just call the creditor and explain your situation and then negotiate. Good theory, but I have never known of anyone who has done this successfully. The reality is that credit companies have outsourced their customer service lines to the point that when you finally get through to the creditor you are more than likely speaking with someone in a foreign country who is required to follow a prepared script and has no understanding of how we live in the United States. There is very little room for negotiation when the creditors know they will be able to raise your interest rate if they report that one late payment.
Face it, the creditors are not the consumer’s friend.