Goeff_Spoonfull_1When Geoff Sigg noticed a small charge from an unfamiliar company called Spoonfull.net on his company’s SBC Communications phone bill last September, he looked a little closer. He discovered that for two months, he had paid $4.31 including taxes to a company he’d never heard of.

He checked further and found that Spoonfull.net was charging to list his Connecticut jewelry store in its Internet directory. But he couldn’t find the listing on Spoonfull.net’s site, and he says he never ordered such a service.

Sigg soon learned he isn’t alone. Other SBC customers have questioned similar charges. Sigg says a Spoonfull.net representative told him and others who complained that they had ordered the service either online or by telephone. Sigg protested, but the bills came for two more months before the charges finally stopped in December. Sigg says he received refunds for two months, then gave up the fight in frustration.

Florida-based Spoonfull.net is one of four Web services firms operated by the mother-son duo Mary Lou Farr and Willoughby Farr. One or more of the firms have been sued by state attorneys general in Illinois and North Carolina, and two are under investigation in Florida. The scrutiny involves allegations of a practice known as “cramming,” in which unauthorized charges–often small and often overlooked amounts–are placed on individual and company phone bills. (It’s a cousin to “slamming,” in which long-distance carriers are switched without a customer’s consent).

Click here to read the complete article on PCWorld.com.