Russian Man Writes Own Credit Card Terms, Sues Bank $727,000 For Not Reading Fine Print. Will Dmitry Agarkov Win The Case Or End Up In Prison?

By Cammy Harbison August 8, 2013 4:12 PM EDT
A man who wrote his own credit card terms is suing the bank for violating them. The bank may have to pay due to not reading the terms of agreement (Photo: Wikipedia)
A Russian man who wrote his own credit card terms is suing the bank for violating them. The bank may have to pay due to not reading the terms of agreement (Photo: Wikipedia)

Meet Dmitry Agarkov. A 42-year-old Russian man who managed to outsmart one of the leading online banks in Russia by creating his own credit-card terms and suing the bank for not following them!

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Yes, it seems Dimitry Agarkov, a citizen of Voronezh, Russia rewrote the small print in the credit card contract  — you know, all that jazz none of us take the time to read but should — signed it, and sent it back to the bank where it was approved (apparently bankers don't read the fine print either!)

Now, as the Tinkoff Credit Systems has violated the "terms" of Agarkov's agreement, the man is suing the online bank for 24 million rubles — the equivalent of $727,000. What's even crazier is: The court is upholding it!

At this point you're probably wondering how this whole crazy rewriting credit-card terms idea get started. It seems Agarkiv, frustrated by the terms in an unsolicited credit card offer he received from Tinkoff Credit Systems, decided it was time for the online bank to get a taste of their own fee-imposing medicine. Indeed, Agarkiv believed it was time they see just how crazy these agreements can sometimes be. So, in 2008, Russian citizen Dmitry Agarkov decided he would pen in his own credit card terms and see what might happen. Well, as you now know, the trick went off without a hitch and now Tinkoff Credit Systems may be owing Agarkiv over $700,000 in fines.

Tinkoff Credit Systems is the online bank being sued by a Russian man who wrote his own credit card terms including a 0% interest rate (Photo: Tinkoff Credit Systems)
Tinkoff Credit Systems is the online bank being sued by a Russian man who wrote his own credit card terms including a 0% interest rate (Photo: Tinkoff Credit Systems)

So how did this guy manage to create his own credit card terms without the alterations being noticed? Apparently the man scanned the bank's document into his computer and then made the "amendments" to the fine print. The new document read that he was receiving the card on the terms of a 0 percent interest, no fees and no charges or bank tarrifs and that the bank would allow the customer unlimited credit. In addition, the new credit card terms stated that in each instance that the bank didn't follow the terms, they would be fined 3 million rubles ($91,000). Breaking the contract would result in Agarkov gaining 6 million rubles ($182,000) from the bank.

Of course no one has ever seen terms such as these on any known credit card application, but because the bank failed to read the "amendments" and signed them, the document was legal and binding and now Tinkoff Credit Systems will have to answer for it.

"The opened credit line was unlimited" said Agarkov's lawyer Dmitry Mikhalevich,  "He could afford to buy an island somewhere in Malaysia, and the bank would have to pay for it by law."

Once the credit-card agreement was signed and in place, Agarkov proceeded to use his card as he wished. The man made no payments and waited for the bank to make its move. It took two years, but the bank finally decided to terminate Agarkov's credit card due to overdue payments.

At this point Agarkov moved forward with his plan to punish the bank for violating the "terms of agreement" he had written. Upon being heard at court, it was decided Agarkov's hand-written credit-card terms were in fact valid.

Now the bank is furious, as it finds itself mouthing the words many a borrowers have uttered when being taken to court for violating terms of an agreement.

"They signed the documents without looking. They said what usually their borrowers say in court: 'We have not read it,'" says Mikhalevich.

Oleg Tinkov, Head of Tinkoff Credit Systems tweeted angry messages regarding the Russian man who created his own credit card terms. The Tinkoff online banking company signed the terms and is now being held accountable for them (Photo: Twitter)
Oleg Tinkov, Head of Tinkoff Credit Systems tweeted angry messages regarding the Russian man who created his own credit card terms. The Tinkoff online banking company signed the terms and is now being held accountable for them (Photo: Twitter)

Meanwhile, Oleg Tinkov, the head of Tinkoff Credit Systems bank and a significant stock holder, became irrate on Twitter and shared that the case was far from over:

 "With regards to the man from Voronezh, our lawyers say that he'll be awarded not 24 million but a whole 4-year sentence for fraud. now it's the matter of principle for @tcsbank."

Tinkov continued his Twitter rant saying this:

"It's time to stop this 'diamond dream' and daydreams about 24 million. Nobody will win anything from us, that's just a dream to get rich."

Clearly frustrated by the recent court ruling and perhaps a little frightened of what might happen if things continue as is, Tinkov ranted on at those who are privately giving the Russian a thumbs up.

"Oh my god, what a country! You treat fraudsters as heroes!"

 "We don't have small print, everything is clear and transparent. Try to open a card - then we'll talk. Stealing is a sin - in my opinion, of course. Not all in Russia think so," Tinkov tweeted.

Though the tweets were clearly fueled with emotion, it seems the frustrated banker might nowt have been to far off, as social media has been flooded with comments concerning this controversial case.

Here are a few comments that have surfaced on Facebook and Twitter regarding the Russian who wrote his own credit card terms.

"The bank received the document, had an opportunity to review it, and sent him his card which consummated the relationship. In accordance with the cards terms he owes no bill, and oh by the way also in the terms of the contract which the bank foolishly endorsed they owe him a ton of money. Should have read the fine print clowns. To the creative author of this wonderfully inspiring document I would have to say..."Well played sir." -- abaltosser

"I hope this guy takes that bank to the cleaners.... I wish him the best of luck and god bless this man!" -- shaddydog2001

"Hey, the bank didn't read the fine print! Isn't that the excuse they always use with everyone else?" -- Shannon McKee

"This means that banks will have to pay attention to what they are doing. Something that people walking down sidewalks have to do. Who knew?" -- William C Moore Jr

"Guy will end up dead by one of the bank's hit men within 2 weeks." -- Mick Karlik

The next hearing in the Argakov case is scheduled for September.

 

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