Customers who phone the EE helpline to get help with a problem regarding their T Mobile or Orange phone can now pay a small fee to fast-track their call to the front of the queue.
EE has launched what it is calling a ‘priority answer service’ which allows customers with a problem jump to the front of the queue for 50p. When they first call the helpline, an automated message will ask them if they wish to opt in or not. If a customer accepts, they will be put straight through to an advisor and the charge will be added to their next bill.
The service is available to all EE customers, whether they are Orange or T-Mobile, pay monthly or pay as you go. The company said that the charge had been introduced to help pay for the investment that it is putting into its stores and call centres.
Industry experts are warning that the move could create customer service which discriminated against the less well off. Rob Kerr, mobiles expert at comparison site USwitch.com said:
“Priority queuing will create a two tier system. It’s all very well slashing waiting times for those who pay the 50p premium- but EE’s not made it clear if that means non-priority queuers will be left hanging on for longer than usual as a consequence. Paying extra to get bumped up the queue for customer support is slightly adding insult to injury, as most people are calling when they need help the most.”
An EE spokesperson backed up the claims that the charge was introduced to cover investment costs.