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Commentary

Man Wins Credit Card Court Case When Bank Didn’t Read What It Had Signed

Dimitry Agarkov hand-edited a credit card contract sent by a bank, and the bank accepted it.  After two years of overdue payments, the bank sued Agarkov, but lost in court when it was found they had accepted his terms on paper:

Disappointed by the terms of the unsolicited offer for a credit card from Tinkoff Credit Systems in 2008, a  42-year-old Dmitry Agarkov from the city of Voronezh decided to hand write his own credits terms.

The trick was that Agarkov simply scanned the bank’s document and ‘amended’ the small print with his own terms.

He opted for a 0 percent interest rate and no fees, adding that the customer "is not obliged to pay any fees and charges imposed by bank tariffs." The bank, however, didn’t read ‘the amendments’, as it signed and certified the document, as well as sent the man a credit card. Under the agreement, the bank OK’d to provide unlimited credit, according to Agarkov’s lawyer Dmitry Mikhalevich talking to Kommersant daily.

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

This is hilarious.

He had even changed the rules to say that the bank would pay 300,000 rubles ($91K) for every unilateral change they made, and a cancellation fee of 600,000 rubles ($182K).

Banks often point you to a signed document when they overcharge you, or tell you about how you should have known better. Well, banks should have known better too.

Also Read: The Good, Bad and Ugly of Credit Cards

Agarkov is suing Timkoff Credit Systems for a further 24 million rubles (some say it’s a smaller 900K rubles), for not paying the cancellation fee and for the other changes. The case comes up in September, but the CEO of Timkoff says they believe they have been defrauded and that Agarkov will get 4 years for it. Consider no banker goes to jail for defrauding their customers, I honestly doubt it.

I wonder if such a thing can be done in India, and I wonder if a court will work the same way.