Change The Terms (Credit Card Shenanigans)

There was a Russian guy who read the fine print once. He’s one of my heroes. Not just because he actually read the fine print – but because he changed the fine print and, sent it back to the company, which failed to re-read the fine print. 

Hilarity ensued. And some suing. Hilarity and suing? Sure. It’s such a great story.  

Dmitry Argartov got an unsolicited offer for a pre-approved credit card in the mail. In this moment, he was just like the rest of us. But not for long, because he didn’t throw his away (or take the pre-approval and do something irresponsible).  

He took action. Like a hero. A Russian consumer banking legend. 

Dmitry took the offer, scanned it into his computer, and updated the offer. How does 0% interest sound? What about an infinite credit line? Oh, and for good measure – how’s no fees ever sound? He even added some provisions and clauses. You know, just in case the bank decided his custom rewards program was too on point. 

Pretty good. Pret-ty, pret-ty good Dmitry. 

He printed the offer out with his updates, signed the contract, and sent it in. 

And then a funny thing happened: 

A card arrived in the mail. 

Dmitry started to use it.

For the next two years, Dmitry was responsibly living it up. He did not go crazy. He was smarter than that. But he was set out to make a point. And he did. 

While Dmitry was amusedly waiting, the bank was getting annoyed and sending late and missing payment letters. 

When the bank threatened to sue, Dmitry (and his attorney) countered with, “Over what? You have no case. Didn’t you read the fine print?”


The court ruled in Dmitry’s favor, overall. They had him pay back the outstanding principal. Again, he didn’t go crazy with spending, which we should also admire his restraint (I mean, just imagine if he went into Central Banking!). 

So many systems are designed to take the fun out of life. 

Dmitry’s a hero because he’s a reminder it’s ok to have fun with the system sometimes. 

Nobody got hurt, and we all get a reminder rules are a two-way street. 

Make art. 

Have fun out there. 

Thank you Dmitry.

h/t to the world for delivering this story which I’ve not forgotten, but I was able to refind some of the details here too, in case you’re interested – “Russian Man Turns Tables on Bank” via Nasdaq