Coronavirus Employees' Help
19 January 2021
Back in January 2008, the bank charges reclaiming protest song "I fought the Lloyds" by 'Oystar featuring Martin Lewis' hit the charts at number 25. It caused DJs up and down the land much consternation wondering how a song talking about busting your overdraft limit could make it to the charts.
The truth was, it was all about the power of MSE, and as Martin remembers it actually should've been number 1 (really)...
"We released the song at the start of January when sales are at their lowest, to give ourselves the best chance. We'd actually had pre-sales via the email for a couple of months – over 20,000 people (from memory) did it – as part of the bank charges protest.
"This was easily enough to be number 1, but the week before release, the chart company changed its policy to count the number of actual downloads, not payments, specifically to stop 'protest songs manipulating the charts' (and they were right – that was exactly our aim). We didn't get the word out in time to get enough people to download it so only hit number 25. Still, it helped spread the word."
Update Jun 2019: This is the original text from when the song launched back in 2008 – we're no longer trying to get it to number 1! If you think you're owed money, you can still claim, see our Bank charges reclaim guide.
Bank charges are unlawful, yet the banks have been making billions from them for years. The campaign to reclaim bank charges has been enormous; over 4.4m free template letters have been downloaded from this site alone, equating to more than 1.4m individual claims with a total estimated £1 billion paid back.
Yet last July, the banks agreed to a test case with the Office of Fair Trading, to be held this January (2008). While this is welcomed, shockingly at the same time the regulator, the FSA, put a hold on all bank charges reclaiming, which has saved the banks many £100s millions; and left many consumers confused and in hardship.
This has always been a campaign, and alongside other groups like the Consumer Action Group and Penalty Charges, we've been championing pure consumer power; the big institutions of state seem to have currently sided with the big institutions of finance and this is about doing everything possible to fight back. A petition to number 10 signed by over 70,000 has so far been ignored; so let's see them ignore the top of the charts!
For full info on how to claim back your bank charges go to the Bank Charges article. For the latest info on what is happening to the bank charges campaign, go to the OFT Test Case article.
The numbers speak for themselves. Over 4.4m bank charges reclaiming template letters have been downloaded in the last year, by roughly 1.4m people. Each week, this site’s weekly MoneySaving e-mail goes to over 1.5m people and they’ve been sent a special note asking them all to support the song, to send a message to the Government and the FSA.
Now think of those numbers and remember it only takes roughly 15,000 downloads to get in the top 10, and 30,000 to be a number one. With your help this can top the charts. If you text again from the same mobile number, it will only be counted towards the chart position once.
So ask your family, friends, their friends, their milkman, his family, cats, dogs, whoever, wherever, to buy a copy and help us give the Government, the Banks and the FSA a well-deserved kick up the backside.
Oystar singer Dan wrote the song after winning £530 in overdraft charges from Lloyds TSB, using template letters from the bank charges reclaiming article. He posted it on the Forums, where it went down a storm, and it didn't take long for it to end up in the Weekly E-mail. Then it was spotted by music producers at Tonedef Tunes and Indie Mobile, who were so impressed they offered to produce it for a proper release.
The song sets original lyrics to the instrumental of The Clash's 'I fought the law', and features Martin in the role of 'sensei', employing his wizened MoneySaving knowledge to steel his young protege for the big fight ahead.
This is a song for anyone who’s currently spending their leisure time trying to get their bank charges back – Rubbish!
It’s a long hard road and I wish the best of luck to you, and I hope my story inspires you in your times of need.
Cos I fought the Lloyds and the Lloyds lost
They even paid the interest and the court costs
At first they sent me letters saying ‘Dear Sir/Madam, get lost’
But I fought the Lloyds and the Lloyds lost
At first I tried to call them, they made me listen to Elton John
I even went along in person and they said, “sorry Sir but the first rule of banking is the bank is never wrong”
So I crawl home, turn the web and mitchell on
Open up Mozilla and go to MoneySavingExpert.com
Where they made my heart beat far faster
With their talk of the banking charter
Yeah I fought the Lloyds, but I could have had Barclays
And I've noticed HSBC has been getting a little bit sarky
It's time us clients to alliance and lets just show them who's boss
Cos I didn't think I'd win but, guess what? Lloyds lost!
Oh... uh oh uh oh oh uh oh oh oh overdraft
Oh... uh oh uh oh oh uh oh oh oh no I’m overdrawn
But life got so much better...
When I logged on and saw those sexy little template letters...
It’s us against the banks, time to sign that petition
And play this song outside your local branch till they listen
Come on you bankers! Give us our cash
Cos we won’t stop singing till we get it all back
Yeah I fought the Lloyds and you can do it too
Tell the listening bank it's time to listen to you
At first they'll send you letters saying ‘you don't have a clue’
But I fought the Lloyds and so can you
I fought the Lloyds were gonna win but they didn’t
They say it’s fair to charge thirty quid, but it isn’t
I fought the Lloyds were for the journey, but they’re not
Cos I fought the Lloyds and the Lloyds lost.
Clever ways to calculate your finances