Map Registrations now called Search Point UK are reportedly up to their strong arm tactics again with Google My Business listings.
Search Point UK is currently issuing invoices with Map Registration letter head and contact details but refer to the company as Search Point UK within the invoice.
Previous Issues with Map Registrations
Reported Problems Encountered with Search Point UK
Businesses who have dealt with Search Point UK are reporting that:
- When calling their script makes it sound like they are affiliated with Google.
- Once you agree to their FREE trial the invoices begin.
- Claim you agreed a verbal contract.
- Hold ownership of your Google business page.
- Attempt to invoice for unverified, unclaimed business listings.
Their current website clearly states that they are not affiliated with Google.
Verbal Contract and Payment Demands from Search Point UK
I cannot give legal advise, so speak to your solicitor about your options especially their “rolling contract accepted over the phone”.
Oral agreements can form legally binding contracts. If they have been recorded this makes the contract easier to prove.
In order for the oral agreement to be a contract it has to contain:
- An offer
- An acceptance of that offer (or a counter-offer and an acceptance of the counter)
- An intention to create legal relations
- Consideration (the things being exchanged must be real, quantifiable, exchangeable things)
If the oral agreement is constituted by those things, then it will be a contract and thus is legally binding. The recording purely makes it easier to prove that the contract exists.
- Speak to your solicitor
- Report to your local Trading Standards.
3rd Parties & Google Business Page Ownership
Google My Business guidelines are very clear about 3rd party and authorised representatives responsibilities and obligations.
Guidelines for Authorised Representatives
Any individual or company that manages business information on Google My Business for a business that they don’t own is considered to be an authorised representative. For example: a third-party SEO/SEM company; a friend of the business owner; an online ordering, scheduling or booking provider and an affiliate network provider (Search Point UK in this case)
Authorised representatives must:
- Never claim a business listing without express consent from the business owner.
- Never make false, misleading or unrealistic claims.
- Never use harassing, abusive or untrustworthy tactics with potential or existing customers.
- Always work directly with the business owner to complete verification. Find out more about verification
- Always ensure that the business owner understands what Google My Business is and where Google My Business data is used.
- Authorised representatives should share the following resources with the business’s owner:
– Google My Business: Be Found
– About Google My Business
– Edit your business information
– How Google uses business information
– Someone else verified my business
- Always keep the business owner informed about which actions the authorised representative will take on the business listing.
- Always follow Guidelines for representing your business on Google. Note that the phone number and website for a listing should always be the single, authoritative phone number and website for the business and be verifiable by the business owner. Website content must be owned and managed by the business owner.
- Always respond to management access requests promptly, and always transfer listing ownership to the business owner immediately upon request. Authorised representatives must, whenever possible, encourage the business owner to create an account, own the listing and add authorised representatives as managers. Find out more about transferring ownership
Failure to adhere to these policies may result in a suspension for the listing and/or account.
Get Your Business Listing Back from 3rd Parties
Search Point UK and other 3rd parties cannot hold ownership of your Google business listing to ransom. If they do not hand over ownership they are in violation of the above Google My Business Guidelines.
Steps to claiming or requesting ownership of an already verified Google business listing:
- Go To: www.google.com/business
- Click: Get on Google
- Search for business name
- Select the correct business
- Select Request admin rights
- Fill in details
Check the Business Listing being Invoiced
In some cases the business being invoiced is not a verified listing. What this means is that Search Point UK or any other 3rd party provider has not created or managed this business listing. In an unverified or claimed state Google is the current owner.
- Check the Business Listing
- If Unverified >> Claim it
- Go to Google Maps, search for the business name at the address.
- Select business and check status, if Claim this Business is visible then claim it.
Email Details to Online Ownership
If you believe that Search Point UK or any other 3rd party provider is violating the above Google My Business Guidelines then please send me details together with:
- Your Google business listing URL on maps
- Any emails, recordings, screenshots that show them breaking Google Guidelines
I will make sure Google My Business receives the information.