Mobile phone company EE has introduced a charge for jumping the queue on customer service calls. Callers are invited by an automated message to use the priority service for a flat fee of 50 pence.
Some customers, especially those who have been with the company for years, are unhappy that calls are not treated equally.
But EE said that they had set high standards for their customer service operations.
One customer – Andrew Griffiths – told BBC Radio 4?s You and Yours that he would consider switching if EE was the only firm to do this. It added that the “small charges” for certain services contributed to the investment in this side of the business.
The priority answering system is similar in some ways to queue jumping charges at airports and theme parks.
The service has been available for a week to customers on pay monthly on Sim-only plans.
“I thought it was a bad idea for a company to offer to provide what really ought to be a standard level of customer service for a fee,” he said. “It makes you think that perhaps they might not be trying too hard to answer the non-prioritised calls.”