In 2008, Dmitry Agarkov received an
unsolicited letter from Tinkoff Credit Systems (TCS)offering the 42-year-old Russian man a credit card with what he found to be unattractive rates.
While most people would have just thrown away the letter, Agarkov decided to do something different. He scanned the contract in the letter into his computer and altered it in his favour, including, for example, a 0% interest rate, no fees, and no credit limit. Moreover, every time the bank didn’t stick to these rules, they’d be fined 3 million rubles — $US91,000 — which of course would go to Agarkov. If they broke the contract, they’d have to pay Agarkov 6 million rubles ($US182,000).
Agarkov’s altered contract was, surprisingly, accepted and he received a credit card. “The Bank confirmed its agreement to the client’s terms and sent him a credit card and a copy of the approved application form,” Agarkov’s lawyer Dmitry Mikhalevich told Kommersant this week.
Two years later TCS sought to close the account due to overdue payments, and at this point, things began to get difficult.
Russia Today reports that in 2012 TCS decided to sue Agarkov for 45,000 rubles ($US1,363), an amount that featured fees and charges not included in the altered contract. This week a Russian judge decided that Agarkov was right — as the bank had signed the contract (apparently without looking at it), they were legally bound to it, and Agarkov was only asked to pay his outstanding balance of 19,000 rubles ($US575).
TCS isn’t out of trouble yet either. Agarkov has reportedly decided to sue the group for breaking the terms of the contract, allegedly for 24 million rubles ($US727,000). The court will review his case in September, Russia Today reports.
In a counter move, RAPSI news agency reports that TCS is attempting to start a criminal case for fraud against Agarkov. TCS founder Oleg Tinkov took to Twitter to say that his lawyers think the 24 million rubles figure is a “pipe dream” and that Agarkov will get four years in prison for fraud. Agarkov’s lawyer told TV Rain that these comments made his client fear for his safety.