Sticking it to the man

dfwteIt’s rare you take on the big boys and win, but this man managed to do it so we can all enjoy it vicariously

When Dmitry Argarkov was sent a letter offering him a credit card, he found the rates not to his liking.

But he didn’t throw the contract away or shred it. Instead, the 42-year-old from Voronezh, Russia, scanned it into his computer, altered the terms and sent it back to Tinkoff Credit Systems.

Mr Argarkov’s version of the contract contained a zero percent interest rate, no fees and no credit limit. Every time the bank failed to comply with the rules, he would fine them 3m rubles (NZD$113,983). If Tinkoff tried to cancel the contract, it would have to pay him 6m rubles.

Tinkoff apparently failed to read the amendments, signed the contract and sent Mr Argakov 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,” his lawyer Dmitry Mikhalevich told Kommersant. “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.”

However, Tinkoff attempted to close the account due to overdue payments. It sued Mr Argakov for 45,000 rubles for fees and charges that were not in his altered version of the contract.

And how did that turn out?

Earlier this week a Russian judge ruled in Mr Argakov’s favour. Tinkoff had signed the contract and was legally bound to it. Mr Argakov was only ordered to pay an outstanding balance of 19,000 rubles ($NZD720).

“They signed the documents without looking. They said what usually their borrowers say in court: ‘We have not read it’,” said Mr Mikhalevich.

But now Mr Argakov has taken matters one step further. He is suing Tinkoff for 24m rubles for not honouring the contract and breaking the agreement.

Perhaps he should have enjoyed the win.  He may be pushing it too far.

Tinkoff has launched its own legal 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.”


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • thor42

    Classic! A really quick-thinking guy!

  • Michael

    Here is a lesson – always read every contract, they are generally not watertight and knowing the loopholes will get you through a lot of sticky situations.

    • BobaJob

      Don’t think I would want to piss those Russians off though? He must have some big balls!

    • andrew carrot

      My contracts are watertight! Clients of mine bought a railway company from the government and made a huge capital gain when it was onsold to some chump, a gain unthinkable without proper drafting.

      • Michael

        Send it to me and I’ll find the loophole…

      • dyannt

        Was that chump’s name Michael Cullen?

  • Harroputza

    I’d be careful if I were him. If the bank sends you a contract and you send back a signed copy without drawing sufficient attention to any changes, the bank has no reason to think it’s anything other than the standard form contract they send out by the hundreds or thousands every day.

    • Mr_Blobby

      They should still read the contract as they expect everyone else to do before signing.

  • Mediaan

    Smart arse.

    The big man looks at society, figures it works co-operatively, and learns to live with it.

    The small man sits in his spiritual enclave and sputters with happiness because he has thinks he has won a contest, at some small gain. He is wrong. It wasn’t a contest.

  • Mr Sackunkrak

    I hope Mr Argarkov isn’t too attached to his knees. Russians have a funny way of dealing with such things.