Court finds for man who rewrote the credit-card fine-print to give himself unlimited, interest-free credit

A wily Russian fellow crossed out the fine-print on an unsolicted credit-card application from Tinkoff Credit Systems in 2008 and wrote in his own terms, giving himself unlimited, interest-free credit and exemption from all fees, with a 3MM ruble fee should the bank change the terms and a 1MM ruble fee should they cancel his card. He crossed out the URL giving the terms and conditions and wrote in his own. And a court has ruled that his changes -- which were blindly accepted by the bank -- are binding. He's now suing them for breach of contract, since they refused to pay him the cancellation fee he'd written in -- he's seeking USD727,000.

Among the amendments in his version of the contract — unlimited credit, 0% APR, no fees, including the stipulation that he “is not obliged to pay any fees and charges imposed by bank tariffs.” Since the contract included a URL for a web page containing the full terms of service, the customer also wrote in a new URL of his own so that the bank couldn’t just say “but these terms are different than what’s published on the site.”

Per the amended terms, every change to these terms would result in a payment of 3 million rubles ($91,000) to the customer, or a cancelation fee of 6 million rubles ($182,000)...

...And so Tinkoff sued the customer. However, the court held that his amendments were binding since the bank accepted them, whether it looked at them or not. The court said the customer only owed the principal balance of around $575.

Perhaps emboldened by this victory, the customer then sued Tinkoff for a whopping $727,000 for its failure to honor the amended agreement and for not paying out the agreed-upon penalty of $182,000 when it canceled his account.

Man Tries To Beat Bank At Its Own Game With Fine Print That Gives Him Unlimited Credit [Chris Morran/Consumerist]

(Image: Fine Print, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from cjsorg's photostream)

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