How much personal info do you give to pet parents?

We confirmed a Christmas sit some weeks ago and, during the video chat, informed the pet parent that we’ve recently sold our home but have lost our purchase so are currently looking for a property. We’ve done this on every occasion recently when a pet parent asks where we’re based, without problem.

Yesterday, we received a message from the pet parent at our Christmas sit, asking for confirmation of our full names and the name and address of our son (we informed her he lives a few villages away from her).

We’ve nothing to hide but, having successfully completed almost 20 sits (on this and another platform), we’ve never - until now - been asked for any personal details, so wondered if this was something others had experienced, and how you felt about it?

I guess I feel it implies lack of trust, and that she should have asked this before confirming the sit and not 2.5 weeks before it starts. It feels a bit like she expects our son to act as ‘guarantor’, since we’re currently not homeowners (a position we hope will be temporary).

Am i overthinking this? :neutral_face:

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You are definitely not overthinking it, I would be horrified if asked for this information! I wish you luck with this one :pray:

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I always give my full name (it is also in the LinkedIn link on my profile) and I am easy to find but I leave my daughter out of it.

One HO has asked for a copy of my insurance policy, which I provided. They turned out not so easy to deal with.

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We’ve always been happy to give our full names. We don’t wait to be asked , we include it in our chats when sit is confirmed or when exchanging phone numbers .

We were quite surprised when we first found out that THS don’t provide this information to the homeowner .

We don’t provide information about other family members- that’s their personal information and probably goes against GDPR!

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@Happypets - I am sure you will receive varied opinions on this topic. I wouldn’t have a problem providing my personal information but wouldn’t include details of family members.

If they are new to THS it may be they are wary of ‘homeless’ sitters taking up squatters rights :joy: Many sitters do not have a home base and we all need to abide by the Trust in Trusted Housesitters.

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A lot of HOs ask me for my email address which I always assume is a way of identifying me and checking my social media. I don’t mind at all but never give out any personal details such as address, family, etc. THS vet us anyway.

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Maybe they are realising they only have your first names and no other contact details other than the rather terrible THS messaging system to contact you? I generally supply my mobile number straight away if I get a response to my application and would be happy to supply my email and home address if they wanted it although never been asked for either. It seems fair since I will know their address and I can understand a homeowner being wary of someone in their home where they really may not have much in the way of contact details.
I would never supply someone else’s details though so maybe politely decline that saying it’s not for you to give out their details. I’ve mentioned in applications when I have relatives in their city as that is often a reason for our visit and some owners like the idea that I already know the city and have some backup there if things go wrong during the sit (illness, accident or just help dealing something broken in the home) but I’ve never had any of them ask for more details than that they live there.

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Hi @Happypets
I have a link to my business linkedin account so my full name and area I am based is revealed and that is fine. However I’d not be passing details of family members to a HO. That’s not my place to do so and not the place of the HO to have such info.

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@Happypets I would exclude the point of your current lack of a permanent address from your considerations. Let’s give the homeowners the benefit of the doubt that they feel a responsibility to be able to contact someone, should anything happen to you. I have had that happen with first-time owners, so I’ll take that approach and explain how I handled it.

I suggest you give them your full name, although with me it displays when using my phone number or WhatsApp. I would assure them that, should anything happen to you, that your emergency contact information is current on your sitter profile and that their responsibility would only be to contact TrustedHousesitters.

If they then come back with asking for the family information, you can directly question why they are asking for it. In the many years I’ve been with TrustedHousesitters no one has ever requested my home address, or my family information. Then you may both - owners and sitters - have to decide whether to go forward with the sit, if trust becomes an issue. I hope all goes well for you.

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@Happypets I always give my full name, email address, and phone number. It’s odd that they want your son’s info. I would not provide info on a family member.

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Same here. Linked in shows my work history and recommendations.

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@Happypets I think it would be good to have another phone call with the hosts to reassure them of your reliability and integrity. If they are new hosts its possible they’ve been (recently) advised by (untrusting non THS friends) that they need more of a guarantee about you. I’ve occasionally had hosts say their friends can’t understand how they can be so trusting etc. So it could be they may be having a bit of a wobble.
My hubby and I have never, in 80+ sits, been asked for full names and home addresses. Once, early on, a young couple asked us, on arrival, to take copies of our passports. They said their previous sitters had offered their passports and said all hosts expect that! Which ofcourse is not true! We would not comply now. Partly because our legal passport names are different from our daily THS names anyway so it wouldn’t help reassure them!
A couple of times I’ve provided my driving licence to go on the hosts insurance.
We are very transparent about our fully nomadic lifestyle (last 12 years!) But I’m sure we also never give any indication that we are ‘homeless’ or ‘between homes’ or that we might want to squat in a hosts house- we love our freedom too much!
I can well understand that with 20+ reviews under your belt you feel this request indicates lack of trust. I would say it does but hopefully you can reassure them in some way that does not involve your son.
Good luck. :pray:

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Did you ask why they wanted the information?

We always provide our address, contact details, etc. We also provide our emergency contact details.

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The HOs are not new to the site, they say it’s something they always ask. We’ve given out full names, telephone numbers, email addresses etc. Have said we’re not prepared to supply our relative’s info.

We were told neither of the 2 dogs have health issues. Yesterday, we received a message stating she’d send the welcome pack minus the pet’s info as wants to explain things when we arrive. We said we’d like to read about their routines etc before we arrive.

Welcome pack just received. Info for only one of the two dogs and still states 'no health issues ’ but, on reading on, it states the older dog is blind, deaf and urinary incontinent!

This surely should have been disclosed? We’ve co-ordinated other sits around this one. We’re feeling pretty upset right now!

Oh @Happypets that does NOT sound good :face_holding_back_tears:

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@Happypets the unitary incontinence would be the main worry for me and how this is manifest/ how much of an impact it will have on the stay.

Did any previous sitters mention anything in their reviews ? Maybe it’s a new condition that’s recently developed. Definitely something to ask the owner for more information about.

If it is going to completely change the sit you can ask them to find alternative sitter as they did not disclose the health condition of the dogs . Which is is breach of the T&Cs

“5.2. The following applies only to Pet Parents. You will:

5.2.1 be responsible for vaccinating your own pet(s) and notify your Sitter should your pet(s) have any illnesses or ailments;”

If you decide not to do the sit for these valid reasons, the owners need to cancel you as sitters on the platform so that you can look for a replacement sit in the area .

If you do decide to go ahead with this sit, please make sure that you have discussed with the owners and have a agreement in writing about who will be responsible for paying any emergency vet treatment if it becomes necessary during the trip . Something that should always be discussed but especially important for elderly pets who already have health issues.

https://forum.trustedhousesitters.com/t/sitter-has-to-pay-veterinary-expenses-up-front

Trust your instincts on this one .

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@Happypets I feel for you. At this late stage its really off that the owners are only now revealing information that may have impacted your decision to take the sit in the furst place. I would feel deceived in your position and inclined to cancel- if possible & if there’s still time to find a replacement sit. I can well understand hiw upset you feel. I really hope you find a satisfactory resolution.
All the best :pray:

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If it is now for the holiday season it might not be that difficult for the sitter to find a replacement sit.

How the HO solves a replacement is their problem, I would feel.

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You’re not overthinking - they are asking for too much info. There is definitely a bias against people who do back-to-back sits or have no fixed abode. It’s a bit unfair and nonsensical but I understand, to a certain extent. You’ve obviously just been honest about your situation but some people are skittish… and some owners actually shouldn’t be doing this!
Most of the owners I’ve sat for haven’t minded my irregular living situation, but it’s an irrelevance really. I always make a point of telling owners about all the documentation sitters need to provide just in order to register, so they know we take it seriously. However, you shouldn’t need to provide personal information of a third party and even if you did, presumably your child isn’t your guarantor so I don’t know why they think having his details would help. Personally, I would contact them to ask if they want to back out. If they don’t, you could kindly explain your son’s details are personal and it’s important that they trust you. Reassure if you can be bothered. If not, cancel and find somewhere more suitable. Good luck!

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Hmm. I would be upset as well! It’s so tiresome when owners are not upfront with these things. You need to know! I also think you have cause to back out if the needs of the animals are too much. I don’t know if I would leave my (hypothetical) pets if they were that unwell but whatever their reasons they need to prepare their sitters beforehand. You have the right to know what you’re getting into!

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