Having a REFERENCE Deleted

Yes, you read that correctly! :joy:
I was wondering if anyone has ever had a reference successfully deleted? I searched through past posts, and only found one similar situation. Naturally, I’m sure this is not a common question/ problem.

We just joined Trusted Housesitters the other day, and decided to ask a few friends and previous sits for references to help our profile look a bit more appealing. One person we asked was my dads long time partner. She is a retired vet, with a lot of experience - so we figured it would be helpful, having people know we have a vet in the family. The problem is, we have never sat for her before. She was unclear on how to rate some of the categories (given they were irrelevant to a character reference), and in the end, her score resulted in only 4 stars.

We haven’t even had to opportunity to have a sit yet through the platform, so of course, having this puts us at a major disadvantage. Through the dozens of profiles we’ve looked through, we’ve never once seen a reference of less than 5 stars (because why would you?).
The message is still a nice message, but the first thing people will see if that four stars.

So my question remains - have any of you have something like this happen before? And what is the likelihood of getting this removed, given that it’s a reference, and not a review?

I emailed support already, and it’s still up in the air.


Just a suggestion, but given she’s your dads partner does she now understand how it could potentially negatively impact you? If so (& if you are close-close), you could potentially ask her to email THS saying she was unclear on how to rate some of the categories but didn’t mean to score you 4/5, and she asks them to amend it. I know some HO’s have hit the wrong button my mistake when reviewing their sitter and have had it changed (from what I read on here), not sure about recommendations, so why not try that and see if it gets you anywhere, or even get her to ask them to remove it instead, for the same reason.

We didn’t get any recommendations when we started out, as I really didn’t see the point to get friends and family who are totally biased, when we have a lifetime of proper experience & know-how, and we’ve managed to fill our calendar full time, with no problem whatsoever. Good luck on your journey.

I agree with @HappyDeb that the best course of action would be to get your dad’s partner to email and asked to have it changed/removed. But I don’t think it will really make that much difference either way. I’ve seen quite a few less than 5-star references and I always assume that, either they clicked the wrong number of stars, or they subscribe the idea that you should never give the top score for everything on a reference as it looks ‘too perfect’. I don’t think HOs pay too much attention to references anyway as they’re obviously biased.

We definitely have a good relationship, even though my girlfriend and I have been mostly living abroad and moving around the past several years. I’m pretty positive she would never have rated the way she did, had she known how negatively it could affect us getting sits. Especially given that this is something we paid for (which she is also unaware of).

We actually applied for two sits before we even had the reference, and we’ve already got a Zoom meeting set up for one. Fingers crossed it works out!

If THS won’t remove it, I will try to see if having her email them would make a difference.

I had a sitter new to THS whose only external reference is 4* (they have since gotten 5* reviews from sits through THS). Is the language in the reference positive?

I do think it’s a good idea to speak to any potential references ahead of time to make sure that their written and * reference will be what you are looking for.

She’s a vet, and a very “professional” type of person - so we 100% believe she was both unsure of how to rate certain categories, and is of the mindset of “no body is perfect”, so giving all 5’s to her wouldn’t be honest. That’s how she is. We just didn’t think she would do it in a reference, of all things. :joy:
She knows how good of pet owners we are. Our cat (who recently passed) was the focus of our entire existence. However, she has no way of really determining whether or not we are tidy, organized, or reliable (especially in a pet sitting type of setting).

Ultimately, I am assuming actual reviews are far more important than references. In the meantime, we did get a few more references from friends we’ve sat for, so that the 4 star reference is not the first thing people see on our new profile.


That’s great if you’ve a good relationship. In the meantime if you apply for any and you feel it is having a negative impact, then just try mentioning it upfront in the way you have here to see if it makes a difference, as most HO’s understand that THS words things in a silly way sometimes, in a one-size-fits-all way, instead of being flexible as every scenario and relationship is different, and most HO’s are fully aware of that.

Transparency and openness is always best (it is how you will succeed at getting sits), and it is exactly how you have explained yourself here. You’ll be fine. :+1:

I’m afraid you’ve learnt that it was a mistake to get a reference from someone you haven’t housesat for, and the fact there’s a vet in the family is unlikely to affect your success or otherwise in getting sits. I doubt that her rating will affect you but you can follow the advice given. Once you start housesitting and getting those reviews people won’t be looking at references.
I do have a similar story however. I started off sitting with references from friends and other people I’ve sat for. One good friend decided to give me 4 stars for tidiness, not because she thinks I’m untidy but because she thought it would look strange to get 5 stars for everything!

It’s quite positive, and attests to the “exceptional care” we gave our elderly cat throughout the years. Also, how much her own animals really love us, and have bonded with us because we are both highly empathetic, and knowledgeable when it comes to pet care.
We’re more worried that people will just see the four stars without even reading the review, and think “nah, next”.

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When we started out we got two friends to write us character references as we had no pet sitting experience. Both write fab refs but one gave us only 4* in two categiories for exactly the same reason as @smiley described- he thought it would look fake to put 5* everywhere!! We were ofcourse dismayed, like you! We explained the importance of 5* and encouraged him to contact THS to adjust the star rating which they did, thankfully!
I’m sure they’d do the same for you but you cannot do it yourself- the referee herself has to contact them and explain it. I don’t think they would remove the reference completely as they are VERY strict about that but we have had small things like stars or name spelling errors changed 3 times- 1 ref & 2 reviews -so that is your best bet!


I wouldn’t worry about it, then. Do you really want to sit for someone who isn’t willing to read context that is right in front of them?


I tried to have one deleted for other reasons. I was told they could send a link/message to the person who wrote it and would need their permission to remove/edit it. At the time, my feeling was it would be rude to do so. In my case it was a 5 star reference, but I didn’t like some things about the way the person chaterized me, but I felt it would be seem ungrateful to ask the person to make changes so I left it. In your case, you really have reasons to have it changed, so I would talk to a person at member services, and have them send the person the link, but also talk to the person about changing it.

For anyone who was curious about the outcome, I was able to get THS to remove the reference WITHOUT getting the reference to contact THS as well. So if anyone else has this issue in the future, it is actually possible to get a reference removed. It just takes a little bit of persistence! :sweat_smile: