First of all my friend...I totally agree with 100%. I won't go into lengthy details about my experiences with CPS (I could pretty much copy and paste pieces of everyones story..and viola...there's mine). Before I give some useful tips, let me boil it down...CPS believes that just because people have poor credit, must mean that they aren't that bright (which we all know is wrong). Now don't necessarly blame the person you're talking to (they're playing a role....blame the higher ups). The job of the representative you're talking to is to get you rattled enough to find some way/some how to get them the money you owe. The methods they use are illegal...but because they know they most likely dealing with people who would have difficulty aquiring proof and to mount a proper legal defense, they feel they have carte' blanche.
Here is some simple yet effective tips to deal with these vultures:
1. Do not do post dated checks ever!!!! It is illegal, and not only that, they have been known to wait an extra day or two to cash it so they can garner late fees.
2. Do not pay by credit card, direct deposit from your checking account, or check (gives them information to your account). Pay only by Money Order or Wire Transfer (Money Gram is the best one because they charge less than Western Union to process, receive code for CPS is 3155). By doing this you not only have a written record for yourself, but one that if necessary can be accessed from a neutral third party. Also the money is automtically sent to your account, no processing time.
3. If they do call you at work, hang up. They skirt very close to the edge of breaking the law by doing this. There is no law saying you have to accept there calls or talk to them. Politely inform them that you do not accept calls at work, and that should they wish to discuss this matter, to call you at your home anytime after you get out of work (make sure you do mention what time that would be, but also add in the time it takes to get home).
4. Make a record of every phone call they make to you (and if possible, to your references). In your record, list the date, time, length of call, name of representative, and what was said during the conversation. You could also record the phone call (now that would put the fear of God into them...lol), however if you do, make sure you inform them at the beginning of the call that you will be recording this call for your personal reference (you have to, otherwise the recording is useless according to Federal as well as State laws, depending on your state).
5. If you want to file a complaint, the best places are the Federal Trade Commission, Your state attorney generals office, and the California Attorney Generals Office (CPS is based in Irvine, CA). You could also try the Better Business Bureau...but in my experience, as well as what I have read of others...it's just a waste of time.
6. If you or they offer to make any arrangement, then make sure you talk to their supervisor before agreeing (the representative does not the final authority in any deal, if anything else remember that). Also state that before you make any payment, you want the deal sent to you in writing on their letter head, signed by the department head (whom I believe is Chris Terry..and also the one you need to talk to in regards to finalizing any deal made).