Dmitry Argarkov, 42, scanned the agreement into his computer, changed the terms of the contract and returned it to the lender… and they failed to notice by Rob Williams (The Independent)
Always read the small print.
It’s a rule most of know and most of us ignore – and one often thrown back at borrowers by banks facing complaints over terms and conditions.
Dmitry Argarkov, a Russian man who was sent an unsolicited letter offering him a credit card, has turned the tables, however, arguably striking a blow for customers everywhere.
Instead of simply ignoring the offer of credit Mr Argarkov, 42, scanned the agreement into his computer, changed the terms of the contract and returned it to the lender, Tinkoff Credit Systems.
According to Russia Today his version of the agreement was rather more favourable than that from the bank. It had an unlimited line of credit, no fees and a zero per cent interest rate.
He also added a provision stating that the customer “is not obliged to pay any fees and charges imposed by bank tariffs”, and an extra clause to the contract should the bank seek to break or change the agreement.
Crucially when the document was returned to the Russian credit card provider they failed to follow their own instructions and didn’t check the small print – sending him out his credit card, which unbeknown to them had sufficient credit for Mr Argarkov to purchase a small island.
After two years of use the bank attempted to terminate Mr Agarkov’s credit card in 2010 because he was late paying the minimum required amounts. They tried to sue Mr Argakov for 45,000 rubles for fees and charges that were not in his altered version of the contract.
Earlier this week a Russian court backed Argarkov and ordered him to only pay the outstanding balance of 19,000 rubles (£371).
“They signed the documents without looking. They said what usually their borrowers say in court: ‘We have not read it’,” said the judge.
Not content, however, with winning his day in court Mr Argarkov is now taking matters even further and attempting to sue the bank for 24m rubles for not honouring the contract he created. For their part the bank is also taking action, accusing Mr Argakov of fraud.
Oleg Tinkov, founder of the bank, tweeted: “Our lawyers think he is going to get not 24m, but really 4 years in prison for fraud. Now it’s a matter of principle for @tcsbanktwitter.”