Apple Maps 'closed' mistake costs restaurant thousands

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in iOS

An incorrect listing on Apple Maps may have cost a small business in Australia thousands of dollars, by mistakenly labeling it as "permanently closed," as well as getting its location wrong.

The corrected listing for Pum's Kitchen in Apple Maps
The corrected listing for Pum's Kitchen in Apple Maps



Chris Pyatt, operator of Thai restaurant Pum's Kitchen in Queensland, Australia, was asked by a regular customer why the restaurant had shut down. Pyatt was surprised by the question, as his restaurant was still operational, and with no intention of closure.

He was then informed that Apple Maps shows the restaurant as "permanently closed," reports ABC News. "We have no idea when this change went through" said Pyatt, but on further inspection, did see a "sudden and drastic change in customer behavior" from the end of November and throughout December.

During that period, Pyatt saw "a significant downturn" in business of around AU$12,000 ($7,877). "This is our livelihood," said the restaurant owner, who has worked with his wife Pum on the venture for close to a decade.

It is claimed that, due to the couple using Android smartphones and Windows PCs, they did not see the Apple Maps issue, and they "cannot see anything that's on the Apple system at all."

On calling Apple customer care, he was allegedly informed that he couldn't helped as he wasn't an Apple customer. He was instead told that he had to give feedback online, but he received an automated message once he did that.

Apple Maps errors are not confined to businesses, either. In April 2023, a Texas man reported being repeatedly accused of theft because Apple Maps and Find My kept guiding people to his home address.

Apple does allow businesses to be claimed via web browsers using Apple Business Connect, but Pyatt says he had trouble doing so with Microsoft Edge. Later use of Google Chrome did let the changes be submitted, but the changes weren't made days later, hours after the outlet contacted the company for comment.

The non-closure wasn't the only problem for the restaurant, as they also saw the location was incorrect.

"We lost one customer [this week] because they called us to check the location, then stated they were using Apple Maps and didn't turn up."

Pyatt insists that Apple should've checked before setting the listing for the business as closed.

"It's not right to close any online presence," he declared. "If you have a particular company which is precluding you from being able to access information about yourself, or your business, that's quite a scary situation to me."

A shared listings problem



Dr Erica Mealy of the University of the Sunshine Coast said Pyatt's problem isn't limited to just his business, as there are many other business owners with similar issues. "Everyone consistently points back to getting an Apple business account, which is free, and set up your own details. However, there's equal numbers of people who've said I've done that and it's still not right."

While it is the responsibility of businesses to check information online, "the number of places they have to check is increasing," according to Dr Mealy. This is also a problem shared by consumers, who face challenges relying on online listings.

She proposes that consumers should double-check other sites if they see a business listed as permanently closed in a Maps app. There's also a suggestion to check local Facebook groups and notice boards when checking out businesses in the local area, as "they're always going to be more authentically local."



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    As a site developer I find it almost impossible to make any updates to Apple Maps for my clients. Sometime last year they changed how this was done, and now requires the business owner to log in with their Apple ID. It makes it now impossible to serve my clients like it used to be, and how it is with Google Maps. Apple Maps keeps screwing up, while also providing some great new features. I just wish they would make this easier to make updates to one's business listing. 
    gatorguyForumPostwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    appleric said:
    As a site developer I find it almost impossible to make any updates to Apple Maps for my clients. Sometime last year they changed how this was done, and now requires the business owner to log in with their Apple ID. It makes it now impossible to serve my clients like it used to be, and how it is with Google Maps. Apple Maps keeps screwing up, while also providing some great new features. I just wish they would make this easier to make updates to one's business listing. 
    I make updates to stores that are not mine all the time. We had a Peruvian Chicken store that was marked as permanently closed and I updated the listing. Also changed some stores' hours of operation and location. I feel Apple is relatively responsive, it takes them about three days to verify the request and make the change.

    Having said that, last year I found more "Permanently Closed" restaurants on Apple Maps than usual. I assumed it was due to Covid, and that now that things have changed they opened back up again?
    edited January 23 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 11
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,272member
    I've submitted incorrect Maps locations but haven't done anything with businesses. It wouldn't surprise me if an angry customer submitted the information just to get back at the restaurant. I don't know who actually provides the information about businesses to Apple Maps but I notice that not all businesses are listed on Apple Maps so it doesn't really surprise me if a few businesses have been marked incorrectly. It's just like address locations, they aren't always correct while some are nowhere near where they are supposed to be. There needs to be a disclaimer on all mapping software and apps stating that "Information is not always current or correct. Use at your own risk."
    ForumPostlolliverredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,746member
    appleric said:
    As a site developer I find it almost impossible to make any updates to Apple Maps for my clients. Sometime last year they changed how this was done, and now requires the business owner to log in with their Apple ID. It makes it now impossible to serve my clients like it used to be, and how it is with Google Maps. Apple Maps keeps screwing up, while also providing some great new features. I just wish they would make this easier to make updates to one's business listing. 
    I'm guessing this is the very reason why they made it so that only an authorized person can update business listings: to prevent disgruntled customers or competitors from trying to get back at them.

    Sounds to me like whoever is in charge of maintaining their online presence/marketing dropped the ball post-COVID. Though if it was changed to permanently closed without their knowledge, then they need to find out how that happened.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 11
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 766member
    Isn’t this the type of thing that Business Connect is for?
    ForumPostSpitbathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    I use Apple Maps almost exclusively but when it comes to determining status of a business and their operating hours, I switch to Google Maps. Much more accurate.
  • Reply 7 of 11
    Having worked as a subcontractor to a Google contractor, who paid us to manually drive around to verify business addresses in Google Maps, I can see how mistakes like this can be made.  First, the company may be registered to the home address, and that is noted to remove it from the maps and flag it for the actual business location.  The latter part may be missed.  You'd be surprised how manual with humans the process is.  I even met a guy who was retired and was flown around the world to drive a Google Maps car (and eventually an Apple Maps car, having the experience) and he had stories to tell on how he effectively monitors the self-drive, takes photos, and makes notes of those photos on the supplied smartphone.  The Google apps are horrendously over-engineered and complicated!  Curious how the Apple ones work.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 11
    ronnronn Posts: 669member
    During the height of COVID my fav Chinese spot changed ownership a few times before selling to totally new owners. The location was listed as "Permanently Closed" twice after the ownership changes (new name, then ownership between a husband and wife after they bought out their partners). It's still listed under the old new name even though there are completely new owners and they once again changed the name. Thankfully the same lead chef remains.

    I see similar mistakes with Yelp & Google Maps. Owners have to stay on top of their info to ensure it's up-to-date/accurate.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    Seems like a recurrent theme.  Visiting a town, I tried to find my way to a favorite grocery store, only to have Apple Maps direct me into the parking lot of a Walmart, insisting that I had arrived.  Google maps correctly directed me 3 miles North to my desired destination.  Seems like there is potential for misdirecting folks to a secluded spot to rob them, when they are trying to get to a jewelry store, etc.  Same risk as with geocaching, if that is still even a thing.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    igorsky said:
    Isn’t this the type of thing that Business Connect is for?

    It is, and that's how errors like this should be handled.

    That said, in my experience, it's not a particularly speedy process.

    I've handled these tasks for a small business, and Google was more responsive, and offered greater options to tailor one's map listing.  But Apple did follow through, albeit not as quickly.

    Owners need to be proactive, and take charge of how their businesses are listed on the major sites, like Google, Apple, and Yelp.  Though with Yelp, also be prepared to have their sales people hound you to buy ads, once you've "claimed" your listing.  Also check old school sites like MapQuest and the Yellow Pages.

    These are large databases, and bound to have errors.  All of them.  Don't leave your fate in the hands of someone else, and hope that things are kosher.  Business owners need to be responsible.

    With Yelp, I recently struggled trying to potentially patronize a business that did in fact close permanently.  It kept being listed as "Temporarily Closed" with repeated refreshed reopening dates.

    In truth, the building it occupied had a "For Lease" sign on it, and calling the phone number resulted in a message that to reach one of the co-owners, one could call another similar shop.  Their website was still up, like nothing had changed, as well as their social media page.

    However, digging a little deeper revealed the truth -- the business had closed, with one owner working somewhere else, and the other moved out of state.

    For whatever reason, neither owner took the responsibility to gracefully bow out.  And Yelp didn't acknowledge the closure until I left a review presenting the overwhelming evidence.  If it weren't for the fact that it was a specialty shop with a stellar reputation, I wouldn't have bothered digging into it.  It works both ways.

    But that doesn't change the fact that business owners bear responsibility in these situations as well.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    While it is the responsibility of businesses to check information online, "the number of places they have to check is increasing," according to Dr Mealy.
    While I agree that it is absolutely in the best interests of businesses to check online, claiming they they're actually responsible for the information that they had no part in collecting or disseminating is going too far, in my opinion.

    Apple: "We're publishing this wrong information about you without your knowledge or any input from you.  If you object, even though you aren't our customer or use any of our devices or services, you need to set up an account with us in order to correct the information we posted without your knowledge or input.  And we'll fix it when we fix it."

    And to be clear, the extent Google (or any other mapping service) does the same, I will condemn them exactly as I do Apple in this case.

    I also recognize that there is a definite problem with disgruntled customers or former employers trying to sabotage a business that Apple and Google have to make an attempt to prevent.



    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
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