Let down at the very last minute and TrustedHousesitters.com are saying I can't complain

I am so upset and angry and can’t believe what has happened. To cut a long story short, we were let down by our confirmed sitters the afternoon before our sit was due to start leaving us desperately trying to find care for our animals.

We were due to be going to France early the following morning. We had to put the dog into kennels - something we really did not want to do hence trying house sitters - and friends thankfully agreed to care of our cat. Basically the house sitters hadn’t read the guide and then when we were discussing in the car on the way to our house, that our dog couldn’t be left for very long (max 20-30 minutes), which was made clear in advance in our welcome guide, the house sitters refused to fulfil the sit.
They said they go out all day every day - yes every day - for 6-7 hours and refused to sit for us. We had collected them at this point,from their previous sit so this was all in person.

When they told us all this, we felt that we wouldn’t be happy to leave the animals in there care (or lack of) as it was clear they were just wanting free accommodation and the pets came very much as an after-thought.

I complained when we got back and this is the response I got, and I quote, “We do not take formal complaints for cancellations or for a sit that did not occur. We have dealt with the sitter internally. We have looked into this and the appropriate actions have been taken.” I was not at all happy with this response and so asked to raise a complaint and they refused, which I am just gobsmacked about. Surely a company can’t refuse to log a complaint??

I am actually so shocked and horrified that they haven’t taken it seriously at all. Has anyone had any experience with anything like this and can advise how I can get this properly addressed? If not for us for future users of the service? I don’t feel like I can use Trusted Housesitters after that experience anyway but I do feel we should get a refund, which I think is the least they can do.

What an unlucky experience! That’s really not the norm so I hope you’ll try again.

Having said this, only being able to leave a dog for half an hour isn’t really the norm either and I’d say (as you’ve found) it really needs to be highlighted prominently on your sit advert page and then on any video call. Were the sitters aware of this before they agreed to the sit?

Sitters don’t get the welcome guide until they’ve accepted. I usually don’t get it until the day we arrive. Ill admit to not always having time to read it before arriving.

That’s the best way to avoid this situation though- upfront communication. The sitters could also have done better by asking in advance if they knew it was very important to them to be able to leave the house.

Edit: looking at your listing you just say "not too much alone time " without further clarification I would take this to mean the low end of what I’d consider standard and guess you meant maybe 3 or 4 hours. You do really need to make this clear, even if it makes it harder to get a sitter.


It’s a good idea to describe those requirements under Responsibilities in your listing. That way a sitter will see it before applying.

Repeat them in the welcome guide.

Not leaving a dog for more than 30 minutes is an unusual requirement. I have a dog with some unusual needs too. More is more in terms of the way you describe the pups needs in the listing.

Very sorry this happened to you.


At the same time, for sitters who come to look after a dog, it’s also unusual to expect a dog can easily be left alone for 6-7 hours a day every day! For cats no problem, but many HOs here on THS have dogs that can’t be left for that long.

So I find that quite an oversight on the side of the sitters: if you sit dogs, you don’t automatically expect that the animal can be left alone for that long on a daily basis. You check that upfront with the HO if that is your intention as a sitter!


I really truly feel for you. But for the future, you must put how your dog can’t be left for more than 20-30 mins max in your PROFILE, so that sitters are fully aware before they apply otherwise you’ll be wasting peoples time (and your own), pop it in your Welcome Pack too, but to have not placed it in your profile at the start when it is THE most important thing a sitter needs to know is probably an oversight on your part. But I am sorry this has happened to you, there’s plenty of sitters on here (including us) that love staying with a dog all of the time, but we’d need to know that before we apply, so pop it in your profile.


@Bluehorse I’m not sure it is! 6 hours every day is a lot and should definitely have been clarified but most dogs I’ve sat their owners have said they can be left for between 4 and 6 hours. I don’t think they’d expect that to be happening on the daily though.

It sounds like an incredibly unlucky match! If i were doing this sit I’d be annoyed at the HO for not making it clearer and myself for not clarifying but would definitely not have cancelled.


@tab the cancellation of the sit at the last minute sounds like a very awkward and stressful situation for both parties.

I’m not sure why you would be told that you can’t complain- the process for raising a complaint or dispute is outlined here:

Perhaps you were told that you can’t leave a negative review ? Which is true as neither party can review a sit that didn’t happen.

Certainly your requirements for a sitter that never leaves your pets is quite a demanding one and that requirement should be included in your listing as well as in the Welcome Guide along with information on how the sitter can obtain their groceries without leaving the pets for more than 20-30 mins .

Since you mention your home is “Close to the centre of Winchester, with the historic cathedral, Jane Austen’s house, Winchester College etc “ it’s not unreasonable that the sitters would assume the dog could be left for sufficient time to visit these places . So that part of your listing is a bit misleading and should probably be deleted unless you could maybe balance this with the offer to pay for doggy day care for a certain number of days of the sit so that the sitters can visit the local area during their stay.


I’m sorry you were unhappy. I will say that your request that the dog cannot be left alone for more than 20-30 minutes is a highly unusual one. I understand it was in the welcome guide, but sitters don’t often have access to the guide until well after the sit is confirmed, and might not read it until right before the sit. Usually if a dog can’t be left alone for at least 6-7 hours, homeowners explain it on the listing so sitters know about this upfront.

Did you have a video chat with your sitters? Generally, experienced sitters will usually ask how long the dog can be alone or how long the dog can go between walks – but usually what they really mean by “between walks” is “How long can the dog be left alone?”

Sitters aren’t paid and often plan to do work from home or do some sightseeing, visiting relatives, etc during their stay, so it is very difficult to find sitters willing to be stuck at home 24/7 with the dog. This is true of almost all the people sitting here. They love pets, but they aren’t refugees or homeless people just looking for a warm safe place to be with a loving pet. It sounds like the sitters traveled to your area at their own expense, so they must have also been terribly disappointed that the sit didn’t work out.

It sounds like there was a miscommunication on both parts about the care of the dog. It sounds like you could have been more upfront about your dog’s unusual need for company AND the sitter(s) should have asked more questions before confirming the sit. You’ve probably both learned from the experience. The sitter wouldn’t have been happy following the no leaving the house rule and you wouldn’t have been happy with the result. I don’t think your dog would’ve been happy either.

I don’t currently have a dog. (Just cats.) Our dog wouldn’t have been a great candidate for Trusted Housesitters either. She could be left alone, but she had some other behvioral issues which would have made it hard for a sitter. We traveled less when we had her. We usually left her at a kennel. She actually liked the kennel. She felt safe there and there were other dogs and people around. It worked out well for everyone.


At what point was the requirement that the dog not be left alone for more than 30 mins discussed? Looking at your profile doesn’t indicate that and if you didn’t specifically call it out and confirm they were ok with it I’m not entirely shocked this happened. That requirement would rule out the vast majority of sitters. Not saying they were right to cancel on you (gosh that sounds super awkward in person) but does sound like a lack of communication on both ends, if this was only buried in the welcome guide that they received after accepting the sit. If you want to avoid this in the future be sure to be completely transparent about this really pretty challenging requirement up front. Animals that require so much around the clock care might be better suited for a paid sitter.it’s hard for a sitter to see this as a win win when they can’t even hop out to the store let alone sight see.


I give accolades to the sitter here.

The need was not thoroughly advertised nor discussed before the agreement.

I personally would not like to be this sitter and after only arriving have things changed on me. It must have been hard for the sitter in person to say that this won’t work and walk.


This is supposed to be a mutual exchange. You say that the sitters were just looking for free accommodations, but it sounds like you were looking for free 24 hour a day pet care rather than an equal exchange. It is expected that sitters can explore the local area. It takes more than 20-30 minutes to even get groceries. It’s not an equal exchange if your pets require so much care that the sitter can’t leave the house, most sitters would not agree to that. This type of unusual requirement MUST be very clear in the listing, not added after the sitter has accepted. It’s not sufficient to just put it in the welcome guide.

This cancellation was obviously a major issue on both sides. You had to arrange alternative pet care and the sitter had to arrange last minute accommodations. You sprung a requirement on them at the last minute that they were not willing to agree to.

It sounds like you did complain to THS. You can’t leave a review since THS does not allow reviews for sits that did not happen. In the future be extremely clear about your pets behaviors and requirements in your listing so that only those willing to accept those conditions will apply.


That’s a disingenuous ask @tab - your sit and pets look beautiful and yet there’s ZERO mention of the 20-30 minutes thing anywhere in the listing. Simply “not too much alone time please” and two walks and toilet breaks a day. That’s a different sit entirely. We took care of a PWD in Switzerland that could only do about an hour alone (but would happily come in the car or train with us) & that was full on and wouldn’t do it again! In the simplest terms, it’s free pet care for a free bed, both have to work for you to all be happy. Please put it very clearly and up front in your listing. All credit to the sitter for being strong enough to say sorry, no can do. They will also have incurred major accommodation costs and logistics issues by doing this. Glad you found kennels for your pup and still headed off on your hols :+1:t3:


I truly hope that THS insurance would kick in for the sitter here. They had done nothing wrong. Surely such a drastic change would be a break in terms and services?

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I’m sorry you had the stress of finding last minute pet care before your trip, but after reading your listing I feel like you may have intentionally left out the fact that your dog couldn’t be left alone for more than 30 minutes. The reason I say that is that you mention all of the wonderful sights that are located near your home but neglect to say that a sitter couldn’t possibly go visit those places because of a special needs dog.

My husband and I adopted an 11 year old dog with extreme separation anxiety in 2015 and he was the boss of us until 2020. When we were traveling and sitting for other pets through THS we hired a sitter for our old anxious Iggy. I did not feel like I could expect someone to stay in my home and never leave for more that an hour or two.

I speak from experience when I say THS may not be the place for you. Hopefully you will change your listing to make it more accurate and/or find a loving paid sitter for future travels.


@ddacey The insurance would not cover this for the sitter. I had a situation one time with a significant undisclosed issue in the home and I contacted THS to see what my options were. They said I could cancel and I specifically asked whether the insurance would cover it and they said no. The insurance only covers when the HO cancels. In this situation the HO would be covered, the sitter would not.

That’s a shame.

The home owner really broke all sense of trust and equity and the sitter takes the bath.

If I was the sitter I would fight this.

It just feels like the HO intentionally misled the sitter hoping to persuade in person to take this very not equitable sit.


I can’t see the link to your listing so am not sure how others are doing so, but if it is true that in your listing you did not point out the extremely important fact that your dog cannot be left for more than 30 minutes then I’m afraid it looks as if you left that out intentionally, and it all feels a bit underhand.

As sorry as I am that your plans were turned upside down and I have no doubt that it must have been a really stressful time for you, I do think that the blame lies with you.

I commend the sitter for having the self-confidence to pull out at the last minute, it must have been a very uncomfortable and difficult position for them to find themselves in.


No I can’t find the listing either but totally agree with you. It would be a most unusual sit if the pet(s) couldn’t be left for at least a couple of hours. I would have expected that to be clear and at the front end of any listing given that it quite outside the norm. I just wonder how the HO manages their day-to-day life with this dog as it seems excessively restrictive. Still, each to their own.


The HO may be working at home. And when one of them goes on errands, the other one stays with the dog. It is as restricted as having a young child, they might be completely used to it. They would not be the only ones, and they might have assumed that most dog owners live like that. In that view, the only thing that a sitter would need to “do” was to go on a walk twice a day.

(On this forum, the general opinion seems to be that pets should never be left alone at night, that it would be irresponsible to come home early in the morning. It is just a reflection of how many couples live.)

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I just tested their link @Colin it worked for me. Are you still unable to view their link? :thinking: