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Apple Maps 'closed' mistake costs restaurant thousands

The corrected listing for Pum's Kitchen in Apple Maps

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.

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."