“We googled the company and, lo and behold, they are using our home address for their business on google but not actually on their website”

sketchy
Photo by PoPville flickr user Rich Renomeron

First the Craigslist guy and now this…

“Dear PoPville,

We have received junk mail for a flooring company as long as we have lived in our house. Didn’t really think anything of it until yesterday when someone came to our house to see floor samples. We googled the company and, lo and behold, they are using our home address for their business on google but not actually on their website. It looks like they are a chain and just using our address to run their business in DC but get their billing and such elsewhere. Is there anything we can do?”

30 Comment

  • Why would they do that? Taxes are generally higher here than in MD. If anything I would expect businesses to do the opposite. Did you look up their tax id to see if they are actually claiming to operate out of your house legally?
    .
    Most of the Google address data is either user generated or automated. You can fix that address yourself with Google.
    .

    • Do you actually have any evidence that taxes in DC are higher than MD? I’ve paid many forms of taxes in both jurisdictions, and have no reason to think that’s the case. It’s a really complicated thing to compare apples to apples, though, which is all the less reason to state it matter-of-fact.

    • I believe you can only suggest an edit to the address on Google. In my case, the previous owner ran her business out of the home. I suggested an edit, but when I checked back, it’s still not updated and I’m still receiving all sorts of mail (including checks) for the business.

  • Have you tried unplugging it and plugging it back in?

  • Are you sure this association is on purpose or exists anywhere outside of Google? Sometimes Google Maps just has errors in it; there’s a way to correct them (look for the link that says “Suggest and edit”).
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    When you suggest the edit that this listing go elsewhere or be removed, be sure to note that you own/rent the premised address and the business does not operate there.

    • Note that the junk mail is probably just working off of data pulled in from Google, and the visitor likely googled for flooring locations, so neither of those two events imply there is some external factor involved. By Occam’s razor, this is probably just a Google problem.

    • Op here….it’s also the same on the google+ page. Don’t you have to make a profile on that page? I have suggested an edit but from the automated response that I received, I don’t have high hopes it’s going to change anytime soon.

      • This could have been linked to an employee/former employee, or even someone who set up the account on their own to screw with the company. Try contacting the company directly.

        • I’ve tried calling every number associated with them and no one has answered or returned a voicemail. Thought maybe they were closed but there are semi-recent yelp reviews.

          • Have you tried leaving a review on Yelp? Businesses will typically take notice of 1 star reviews…then you can remove it once it’s resolved.

      • I’ve submitted a correction to Google in the past and after a week or two the problem was resolved. My girlfriend’s apartment was somehow listed as being about a block away from its actual location, and the problem was giving trouble to uber drivers coming to pick us up.

  • It should be noted that Google is not the authoritative source of the data record using your address. It is more likely Dunn and Bradstreet or the DC DCRA. in short, I suspect that the business is legally incorporated at your address. There may be other legal risks to your title to the property. I would start by contacting DCRA. dcra.dc.gov

    • I have contacted them so they are aware. They said that there aren’t any other businesses at our address but our own. I guess that’s a good sign!

  • I have a similar problem where a business called ’28 Florida Ave NE LLC’ is getting their stuff mailed to my home address. I get their OTR bills. Their business name is an address. So sketchy and I can’t even believe it’s OK to register.
    Of course, DCRA did nothing.

    • There are TONS of developer LLCs that are just the name of the property. They do it that way to shield who the developer really is, and to shield the developer’s $$ in case the buyers want to sue them later.

  • I am willing to be this is not an intentional error on the company’s fault, but as others have suggested, a google error. There is zero need or benefit to have a DC address as a business; companies from MD and VA can be licensed in DC without having a DC address. If it is a chain, you can contact them and give them a heads up and ask them to change, or contact google directly. If I was a business owner, I would not want to risk losing potential business because google sends my customer elsewhere.

  • Google had my friend’s home phone number listed as the phone number of an Indian restaurant. Took months of updating and sending messages to Google (without a response) before it changed. It may not have been the business itself that did this, but good luck either way.

  • You can mark an address as incorrect in Google. It’s entirely possible this company never registered the address as theirs–Google somehow made the assumption. My workplace used to be registered as a “restaurant” (it’s an office building) and Google fixed it within a day when we notified them it was incorrect. I’d try that first.

  • I’m going to invoke Hanlon’s razor on this one. Seems like there’s probably an error in some business listing somewhere – your house might’ve been the former owner’s address at some point.

  • When my office moved, we combed the internet for all the places the old address might be, and changed everything we found. Repeatedly. And people are STILL going to our old address, saying that’s what came up in an internet search.
    *shrug* Modern life.

  • The company is probably doing it on purpose. They’re using google to appear as if they have a local presence. Locksmiths do it all the time. There was a New York Times article on it. Iw3P136cLjsy. You can report it to Google and they should be able to remove it. It won’t stop the junk mail though.

  • You call DCRA, or check the DCRA database to see if they’re legit. If they’re not, a call/email will get the ball rolling on the business license and tax reporting the outfit may or may not have.

  • Something similar is happening to my husband and I, though the mail we’re getting for the company is from Wells Fargo and doesn’t seem like junk mail. We live in an apartment in a building managed by a residential company, so I don’t think anyone could get to our door asking for the person running the business, but I’m concerned that they’re potentially using our address for some fraudulent reason. I googled our specific address (including the apartment number) and the company comes up, though not a specific website for the company, just a few business directory websites. I decided to report the issue to DCRA to be safe. If the company exists in a legitimate way (they’re listed as a PLLC on the website) they would have had to get certified through DCRA.

  • We’ve had this problem for years. After investigating several years ago, it turned out that the entity had a listing (with our home address) at Dun & Bradstreet. We reached out to D & B to have that removed and they were very helpful. We also googled our address and contacted every website that carried a link to the business (lot of junk web pages out there!). Together, those actions made a big difference. We regularly do the google search & contact any websites still linking up or re-linking up to our address. Good luck with it.

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