The idea of beating the banks at their own game may seem like a rich joke, but Dmitry Agarkov, a 42-year-old Russian man, may have managed it. Unhappy with the terms of an unsolicited credit card offer he received from online bank Tinkoff Credit Systems, Agarkov scanned the document, wrote in his own terms and sent it through. The bank approved the contract without reading the amended fine print, unwittingly agreeing to a 0 percent interest rate, unlimited credit and no fees, as well as a stipulation that the bank pay steep fines for changing or canceling the contract.
Agarkov used the card for two years, but the bank ultimately canceled it and sued Agarkov for $1,363. The bank said he owed them charges, interest and late-payment fees. A court ruled that, because of the no-fee, no-interest stipulation Agarkov had written in, he owed only his unpaid $575 balance. Now Agarkov is suing the bank for $727,000 for not honoring the contract’s terms, and the bank is hollering fraud. “They signed the documents without looking. They said what usually their borrowers say in court: ‘We have not read it,’” Agarkov’s lawyer said. The shoe’s on the other foot now.