Google apologizes to BC business owner after maps error sent customers to wrong place

Google has apologized to a Vancouver business owner after his navigation app, Google Maps, mistakenly showed a map marker in the wrong place.

“Not only is this a problem for the business, but it’s also very frustrating for people,” said Gerry O’Neil, owner of Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours.

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O’Neil’s horse-drawn tours have been a staple of Stanley Park in Vancouver for 40 years. His business is located at 735 Stanley Park Drive. However, O’Neil said about a year ago customers would enter their business address into the Google Maps app to arrive at another location in the park.

“It will take you to the middle of the Second Beach pool, which is on the other side of the park,” one mile away, O’Neil said.

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Like so many businesses, O’Neil’s tourism business was hit hard during the height of the pandemic and this latest issue isn’t helping.

He estimates that 20% of his business has been impacted by Google Maps not solving the problem. “It’s 20 per cent now, but what happens when people come home and can’t find us and say, ‘Oh geez, don’t go? “, said O’Neil.

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O’Neil says he tried to get Google to fix the problem for nearly a year, but was unsuccessful.

“We reached out as well as possible. We sent over a dozen emails. We tried to call Google, but there are no numbers,” O’Neil said.

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Consumer Questions contacted Google on behalf of O’Neil. Within days of the contact, Google performed an internal review and corrected the error, stating:

We apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this has caused Mr. O’Neil and wishes him much success in the future with Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours. – Google spokesperson

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O’Neil said his horse-drawn travel business is now on the road to recovery.

“People have stopped calling who have been lost in the park, revenue is up – probably 12 to 15 more people a day, which really means a lot to us,” he said.

Google says if something is wrong on the Google Maps app, people can report the error.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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