First bad experience...what support can THS really provide?

Hi Jessie

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.


Hi @JessieM. Thank you for sharing. That’s tough, but I guess I can empathize a bit. My last sit was for a “friend” and not via TH. I really felt I was doing them a favor, but I said at least I could get an external reference out of it. Long story short, the sit was the worst I’ve experienced. It wasn’t horrible, but I felt I tried to make the most out of a bad situation created from their environment. My friends didn’t feel the same way. So they left a so-so reference for me, and I couldn’t leave any feedback since they’re not on TH. I did want them to leave what they felt was truthful, because I guess that’s my principle. But it was somewhat frustrating. But I learned of some red flags to watch for before confirming a sit!

Anyway, to answer your question, I don’t see how it can hurt to involve TH member support. But also, I would not submit your feedback for the PP before they write your review. That’s your only real ammo/defense. Perhaps if you both wait long enough, the blind review system will come into play and you can re-evaluate then.

And I agree with those who say it’s important to be tactful when writing any review. These things can last forever. You don’t want to hurt a PP’s chances of getting another sitter, unless there are red flags that a sitter should be aware of. If these are new PPs, maybe they can learn some lessons without having to be called out in public about them.

It’s strange to me that the PPs waited three weeks. I guess they’re really mad. It also sounds like they want something? Or is the threat just that they’ll review you negatively if you give negative feedback?

I don’t think TH would side with the PPs in this case, as you say you have plenty of evidence. What might happen is you both write negative reviews, and then TH just removes both of them (perhaps with both your consent).

I guess there’s also a chance that, if these are new PPs, and they put in writing to TH a list of complaints about you, and then you can prove that that the complaints are false, there’s a chance TH will refund the PPs and kick them off. The last thing TH wants is a toxic PP or a toxic sitter. (And as you’ve noted, this is your 7th, so you’re basically a good veteran now.)

I’m also guessing, since this is a sensitive case, that a mod may jump in by Mon/Tue. A few DMs with them may give you better perspective (and support). Be patient, but also organize your evidence!

Best of luck!


Hello @JessieM - we feel your pain. We do mostly long, international sits too and no welcome or night before or proper handover is pretty “off”. Anyway. A few things to think about. It’s your 7th sit, are the HOs new? If so that helps. If you’re feeling tough enough then it would be great to write an honest, factual, non emotional review of the whole sit including the “we were delighted with all the compliments from our hosts and to know they were so happy with our house sitting services on their return. Their recommendations of us to friends and family is much appreciated.” Or similar and then whatever they write later will just make them look mad at the least and untrue as the best outcome. That’s one idea. Waiting for their review is also a good plan before you feedback, that’s a golden rule for us on all sits (31). You can additionally write a response to any negative comments they do write. You can alternatively go for the double “no reviews” which is a failsafe if less helpful for future sitters. As @geoff.hom says, it also can’t hurt to involve support, that’s what they are there for. Especially if you have evidence and the accusations have become personal. Really hoping it works out okay. Am tagging @Lokstar in here as she’s had a similar experience and is a wise soul :raised_hands:t3::hugs: Good luck with finding a happy outcome. PS am pretty sure that recording internal audio is enough to get them banned from the platform :crossed_fingers:t3:


Really sorry for this episode @JessieM but glad that you know it’s an aberration and not the normal.
I just thought that as you wrote:

you might consider quoting their message(s) in your review response, should it come to that.
I also echo the advice given, to remain factual and unemotional in that reply. (Was that by @Cuttlefish? It’s annoying that I can’t see the thread & posts while I’m composing my post).


Great minds @Saltrams - we said the same as you. Non emotional and quote the first response back at them :raised_hands:t3:


:woman_facepalming:t3: so I just said what you said and also referenced the fact you said it! I should really leave the forum alone until I’m awake and had enough coffee @Cuttlefish

Sorry this has happened @JessieM .

Did you contact member services during the sit about the internal cameras ? Did you confront / speak to / message hosts about the cameras when you discovered them?

There isn’t much that support can do after the sit has finished. If you have proof of messages between yourselves and the hosts about the cameras .

In my experience there is little that support can do aside from reminding hosts of the code of conduct.

If there is something that you feel warrants a formal complaint, there’s a process for this but it has to be made within 30 days of the completion of the sit.

we will not amend or remove any reviews or feedback once they have been submitted. I

An excellent response. Well said!

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@JessieM I’m really sorry to hear about your experience. And I understand that distressed, ‘lost’ feeling. Been there too unfortunately…
What puzzles me a little is that after that initially enthusiastic text they did not follow up with a formal review straight away- did you send a review request to them? If so, did you follow up on it? 3 weeks is a very long time (imo) to wait. And then for them to come with that ‘out of the blue’ attack?! Very strange.
Perhaps they were just waiting all along for your feedback first? And this is a kind of punishment maybe…?

There is a lot of helpful advice here & I especially echo comments from @Cuttlefish & @Saltrams.

Contacting THS support may or may not be helpful. We’ve had mixed responses. But if things get nasty I certainly would get in touch.
Regarding your feedback to them. Personally I would delay that till you receive their review.
(We always ask for our review first)
You need to protect yourself here it seems and as @geoff.hom says your feedback is your ammo/defence though it should not be necessary to have to operate this way.

If they give you a poor review I would suggest you respond to it by quoting their original thankful text and expressing your shock/surprise/disappointment to receive such a review. Try to keep it factual and not emotional. All future hosts will read that and see the contradiction. And you can then also write a similar message in your feedback to them (on their page) You will then be seen as the innocent party here.
But if they don’t review you I would suggest you don’t give any feedback at all as you will leave yourself vulnerable to retaliation.

Unfortunately these experiences do occasionally happen to most sitters. Its a learning curve! You will become more intuitive over time and learn to spot the red flags. E.g For the sit in question it was definitely not a good sign that they did not support your arrival from overseas and did not invite you to overnight (ahead of their early departure) and create time for a good handover.
The way the host deals with the arrival/handover really can set the tone for a sit.

Please do let us know the final outcome.
And don’t let this put you off sitting again- there are many,wonderful hosts out there- and I can assure you this is strange and uncommon behaviour.


That is a clear violation of the THS rules.


Thank you @Smiley

@JessieM I can completely empathize with you and your situation. Thankfully this has never happened to us.

If it did, I think I would take the high road and remain silent, until such time as the HO does submit their Feedback. Then respond as others have said above.

Do you have a fellow Sitter or HO you could take into your confidence and provide all the details and then, if need be, bounce your response off? Someone not so close emotionally could be a welcome, calming perspective.

All the best. Just keep looking at all your previous 5* sits. That’s who you are.

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@JessieM Sorry to hear about your conundrum. I am curious what the Owners are complaining about? Do you even know? My husband and I try to abide by the following “rule” when we are on housesits: Do not say anything negative or have any discussions about sensitive topics while inside the home.

We have this rule in place just in case we are being monitored. It is a good thing that we have plenty of time while walking dogs, to chat about whatever!

When my husband forgets and starts to talk about our finances, for example, I do this :shushing_face: to tacitly remind him. We try to avoid blurting out statements like, “This chair is so uncomfortable!” or “These windows could sure use a washing!”

I wonder if the Owners recorded everything and then took time to listen through the recordings during those 3 weeks.


We do the same. Not paranoid, simply cautious. Alexa could be listening or a Nest thermostat!!!


That’s a distinct possibility.

As for THS kicking off people who record audio and/or video, if reported by sitter, that was not my experience.


Really sorry to hear about your upsetting experience.

What were their complaints/concerns? It’s hard to say, for instance, why they waited so long to give negative feedback. Maybe they found something damaged or even missing later on, and decided you were at fault? Maybe they saw or heard something on their (NOT ALLOWED) cameras that they weren’t comfortable with, like you opened a drawer/cabinet or entered a room you shouldn’t have, or they thought you once spoke too sharply to the pet, or stayed out too long, etc.? Hard to guess all the possible reasons without any details of the nature of their feedback.

May I ask a question? (newbie here)
Is it it normal for sitters to stay at the HO place the night before the sit starts?
I have my first sit coming up in november and I offered to spend the night before in an airbnb so I can be there in the morning to do a proper handover (I’m in Europe and the sit is in the US). I genuinely don’t mind this; I probably actually prefer it as it gives me an evening and night to myself after a semi-long flight. But your post made me curious as to what is considered normal. Thanks!

It is not a rule but it is quite common.

I am on my seventh sit now, and on five occasions I was invited for dinner the evening before and stay at their place the night before they left.

Next one expects me around 9 am. The HO after that saw a gap in my THS calender and very cordially invited me to come early.

It has also been common that I was invited to stay a bit longer.


Many HO prefer doing an inperson handoff if possible, so if a sitter is coming from out of town, this might be offered. However, in a big city, many “homeowners” live in cramped apartments and this won’t work. There have been a few circumstances where I offered an overnight for sitters who weren’t going to be here for an inperson handover, but either they came in and stayed elsewhere OR picked up the keys from neighbors. (I have cats and video tours and demos) I think dog owners probably have more reason to want to do an in person meet and greet and/or give the dog a chance to get to know the sitter(s).

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