Check The Fine Print: Russian bank customer writes his own Ts&Cs!

Are you sick of junk mail through your letterbox, spam in your email inbox and salespeople armed with clipboards harassing you in the street all wanting you to sign up to a new credit card?


Over in Russia a gentleman named Dmitry Agarkov was particularly unhappy with yet another unsolicited offer of credit. Mr Agarkov was so appalled upon reading the small print that the real interest rate was 45 per cent, despite the bank’s advertisement offering a rate of 12.9 per cent.

Rather than just bin the offending proposal Mr Agarkov scanned the paperwork into his computer and made some amendments to the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Mr Agarkov opted for an unlimited line of credit, 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.” Agarkov also changed the URL of the site where the terms and conditions were published and hedged against the bank’s breaking of the agreement. For each unilateral change in the terms provided in the agreement, the bank would be asked to pay Mr Agarkov $91,000, or a cancelation fee of $182,000. Mr Agarkov’s amended contract was, alarmingly, accepted and he received a credit card.

After two years of use, the bank took the decision to terminate Mr Agarkov’s credit card because of overdue payments. The bank duly sued Mr Agarkov for $1,363 reflecting the remaining balance, fees and late payment charges, all of which violated the original agreement. Earlier this summer a Russian judge declared that the agreement that Agarkov had concocted was valid and all that he should pay to the bank was his outstanding balance, a mere $575. As the bank had signed the document (clearly without reading the contents of it) they were legally bound by it. Customers are always told to read the fine print, no more so in cases where banks face complaints from customers regarding their terms and conditions. In this instance it would have been prudent for the bank to take their own advice.

Not content with his day in Court Mr Agarkov is suing the bank for $730,000 (24-million-ruble) based upon his amended version of the original agreement. The bank’s owner Oleg Tinkov is bullish about the situation and has been quoted recently on twitter as saying:

“Our lawyers think, he is going to get not 24 million, but really four years in prison for fraud. Now it’s a matter of principle for @ tcsbank.”

The next hearing is due to take place before Christmas and we will keep you updated as the case evolves. If you feel you have suffered professional negligence at the hands of a financial institution than do not hesitate to contact one of our team.

Andy Boyde – Sports Consultant