Always read the small print. That’s at what banks generally recommend, at least.
One bank in Russia is paying a large fine for overlooking the small letters.
Dmitry Agarkov, 42, from Voronezh, Russia, received an unsolicited credit card offer in 2008 from a bank known as Tinkoff Credit Systems. However, instead of filing the offer away in the nearest trash receptacle like most would, Agarkov decided he would improve the offer. He wrote in his own hand, his own terms.
The hand-written small print now offered a 0 percent interest rate with no fees and, generously offered that the customer “is not obliged to pay any fees and charges imposed by bank tariffs." Agarkov also scrupulously changed the URL where the terms and conditions can be read. He then specified a fee of 3 million rubles, or $91,000, for each change the bank made in the terms and conditions. As for the cherry on top, Agarkov added a cancellation fee of 6 million rubles, or $182,000.
The bank accepted Agarkov’s new and improved contract without reading the small print and sent back a credit card.
Two years later, the bank decided to terminate Agarkov’s credit card. Astonishingly, despite the extremely generous conditions of the credit card, Agarkov had only overcharged the original agreement by 45,000 rubles, or $1,363. Nonetheless, the bank sued Agarkov, still unaware of the actual conditions they signed for.
Amazingly, the court sided with Agrakov, upholding his amended agreement contract. However, he was still required to settle his balance-- the equivalent of $575 for breach of contract.
Unsatisfied, Agarkov is countersuing for $727,000 for the bank’s breach of contract and $182,000 for terminating his contract without paying the cancellation fee.
The found of the bank, Oleg Tinkoff, is ticked off. He tweets, "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.”