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Google apologizes to B.C. business owner after maps error sends customers to wrong location

Google has apologized to a Vancouver business owner after its navigation app, Google Maps, incorrectly showed a maps marker at the wrong location.

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

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

“It will bring you to the middle of the pool at Second Beach which is the other side of the park,” 1.6 kilometres away, O’Neil said.

Like so many businesses, O’Neil’s tourism-based company has been hit hard during the peak of the pandemic and this latest snag isn’t helping.

He estimates 20 percent of his business has been impacted by Google Maps not fixing the problem. “It’s 20 percent now, but what happens when people go back home and couldn’t find us and say, ‘Oh geez, don’t go there?’” said O’Neil.

O’Neil says he tried to get Google to resolve the issue for close to a year, but without success.

“We’ve reached out as good as we can reach out. We’ve sent over a dozen emails. We tried to call Google, but there are no numbers,” O’Neil said.

Consumer Matters reached out to Google on O’Neil’s behalf. Within days of making contact, Google did an internal review and fixed the error stating:

“We apologize for the inconvenience and frustrations this caused Mr. O’Neil and wish him much success going forward with Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours.” – Google Spokesperson

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

“People have stopped calling that were lost in the park, revenues are up – probably 12 to 15 extra people a day which really means a lot to us,” he said.

Google says if anything is incorrect on the Google Maps app people can report the error.

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