I am sorry about this experience. I am sure it was very upsetting. I have never had to deal with anything like this so I can’t share any personal experience. From past posts I have seen from people with a similar experience, it would seem the best they can do is suggest neither party leave a review. Not an ideal solution but like many other challenges in life, perfect solutions don’t always exist. But I think this is okay though because I do believe that the overwhelming majority of sits are positive experiences for both parties, and isn’t some huge, pervasive problem.
I know the review system is far from perfect, but in fairness to THS, no review system would be perfect. I know many people advocate for a blind review system ,which would allow you to freely share this experience in a way you may not feel you can now, but it goes both ways. This would also allow them to put in a review the things they complained to you about, without this opportunity to perhaps try and address the situation first through THS. Again, no perfect system.
While the site certainly offers more support in various respects compared to other housesitting sites, at the core their function is the same–to serve as a platform to introduce people looking for a particular service with those willing to provide it.
Most of the problems people would encounter on here–cancellations, sitters leaving early, HO misrepresenting something, etc…-- are things they could do very little about, through no fault of their own really. There is risk involved on both sides, like many other things in life. But as someone who has been doing this for almost a decade and is now on my 65th unique sit for the site, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive, and I don’t think you have to worry about this being a frequent experience.
You noted you saw some red flags prior. It is good you noticed that, as this experience can serve you moving forward. A very common theme I have noticed in stories where sitters are sharing a bad experience is they noticed something didn’t feel right but they accepted anyway. This is encouraging as it suggests that in most cases–though it may not always be the case–people aren’t totally blindsided by the negative things.
When you encounter a listing that doesn’t feel like a fit, when you don’t quite feel resonant with the HO during the interview, etc…you will feel more comfortable trusting your gut and taking a pass, regardless of how desirable the sit was for whatever reason, from being in a popular location to it working really well for your schedule.
Again, sorry this happened and keep us posted.