The man who photoshopped his credit card contract and had it enforced by Court!

The Telegraph reports of a Russian gentleman who didn't like the standard terms and conditions that one bank was offering, so decided to play things his own way.


Dmitry Agarkov from Russia then scanned in the contract, amended the wording, signed it and sent the new version back to Tinkoff Credit Systems. In return, they issued him a credit card and even included a photocopy of their signature on his new contract.

The amendments included:

  • No credit limit
  • 0% interest
  • No fees
  • Every time Tinkoff breached the amended agreements, they would be liable to pay 3 million Rubles (€68,412)
  • If Tinkoff tried to cancel the contract, they would have to pay 6 million Rubles (€136 824).

Tinkoff had not bothered to read what was written, and simply signed it away. So when Tinkoff tried to sue Agarkov for fees that were not in his amended contract, it came as no surprise that the Russian Court ruled in Agarkov's favour, as the contract was legally binding.

The Court did rule that Agarkov should pay the outstanding balance of 19 000 Rubles (€433) in his account, but this is much less than the 45 000 Rubles (€1026) in fees being demanded in the first place. Agarkov is now suing the bank for 24 million Rubles (€547 296) for not honouring their side of the contract. Tinkoff is countersuing and accusing Agarkov for fraud. The two cases are yet to be reviewed.

So there's a lesson for us all to learn. If you don't like what you see in a business transaction, try to negotiate things your way. Who knows, maybe the other party will agree to everything you asked for!


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About Tim

Tim is an engineer and a nerd who analyses every travel deal, travel hack. He has travelled to around 90 countries and also speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

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  1. If the prewritten contract states that the terms cannot be altered, then I would side with Tinkoff.

    Otherwise: since people are held to “fine print” terms we sign – whether we read them, then of course companies are held to “fine print” terms they sign – whether they read them.

    I don’t think we can do this in the US because we don’t get a signed cc contract back from the company.

  2. In the USA specifically, and I would guess in all common law jurisdictions, you cannot send someone a contract with a provision that the terms cannot be altered. They have not agreed to that term so it is not binding on them. If you don’t want someone to alter a contract, don’t sign it after they alter it. @Tom, I would agree with you. My faith in the Russian judiciary would give me serious pause about opening a business there.

  3. Glad you posted this! The closest that I have come to something like this is when we went through our most recent refinance. The lender expected us to sign a “limited power of attorney” giving them the right to correct any “clerical errors” with no limit on duration, extent of errors, affect on amt owed, etc. This is way too broad for us, so we went through our previous loan paperwork and Drafted our own version of the power of attorney which was only valid for six months, and was limited to clerical errors in spelling only, not to include adjustments to the interest rate,amount owed, or the total number of payments, or amount of the payments.

    Not nearly as drastic as the gentleman in your example, but an example nonetheless that you can negotiate your own terms to a certain extent (and certainly a lesson that you should READ all those loan docs that you sign)!

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