Malicious 1* review

We’ve received our first negative review from a home owner we had to report to the THS customer services team because the house was in such an appalling state. It definitely feels malicious and is full of lies about how we neglected the animals and didn’t update the owner. Will THS remove such a review as we can prove certain bits of it are untrue with photos and WhatsApp communication threads? Feels really crappy and again highlights the disparity between sitters and home owners because we were unable to rate this owner’s cleanliness, organisation etc

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Sorry that’s happened to you! Yes I would think so. Contact the chat bot and ask for a human and explain the situation. Great you have photos and what’s app as back up. Best of luck :crossed_fingers:t3:

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@ADF - How many stars did you leave them?

Even if THS will not remove their review, one, 1-star review amongst a sea of 5-star reviews will say more about the reviewer than the reviewer.

Just leave a short, polite, factual response below the review they have left for you.


I as a home owner have received a single one star feedback after dozens of 5 star feedbacks from a sitter that wasn’t pleased with my review and apparently decided to take it back on me. The sitter has long left the site, so I asked the membership service if this review could be removed. They said it was against their policy, everyone was entitled to their opinion and so on. The only thing you can do is make a statement underneath and give your side of the story. I have, btw, not had a single issues with this one negative review in the middle of many great reviews. I guess people are able to tell where it came from.

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I (perhaps naively) left a 3 star review because it was clear to us the home owner was in some kind of mental health episode and I didn’t want to kick her when she was down. I said positive things about the animals and location but said the sit was unfortunately-timed and if she gets things sorted then it could be a good sit in the future. She’s moving away now though and believes she will be able to rent her house out with the pets included so she clearly thought we were getting a good deal not having to pay to stay there and now has nothing to lose from the review process because she won’t need a sitter again. I hope you’re right that the one negative review we’ve had will reflect more on the home owner than us.


@ADF You can definitely contest it since you have some back up evidence. THS are very strict about removing reviews- although w’ve managed-on 3 occasions - to have minor changes made to reviews we’ve received (at the request of the hosts themselves).
But what you also can & should do is reply non-emotionally to their review. Future hosts will see that- in the context of your other great reviews- and will reach their own conclusions. Even if THS won’t remove it, in time it will slide down your list of sits, and the further down it goes the less it will get read.
Also 1* out of many great reviews should not affect your 5* average- which is the first thing Hosts see.

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Conscientious HOs are going to look at the profile of the person who left you the 1* review - based on what you say here, I think most will see through this review, especially in light of your other reviews.

If you haven’t already responded on your profile to this review, I think the most effective response would be very brief, along the lines of “This review does not reflect the reality of the sit in any way”, possibly with a request for HOs to read your review of this HO. You say you regret leaving a 3* review, but it sounds like what you left was very balanced and nuanced, and the HO’s review will look more ridiculous in comparison.

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THS customer support are saying they can’t remove this false review because of their ‘100% tamper proof’ review system. So I now need some help and advice compiling a response, as I’ve now spent three sleepless nights worrying about how to tackle it and get the balance between what I should say vs what I’d like to say!
The details of the sit are too complicated and lengthy to go into but the headlines are:
The owner and pets had moved in only days before our arrival and THS was only used as a last resort when she’d found she couldn’t rent the place out with pets in situ.
The home was in complete disarray with many areas inaccessible due to the sheer amount of stuff and boxes piled and strewn around the place. We had to unpack essentials, hang curtains, shift things around to even make room for us to move around the house.
Dirty home with food packets, takeaway debris and old teabags and dirty crockery all over the kitchen that required us to do an up front deep clean.
The owner’s used bedding was on the bed and she told us we’d need to strip it and then plumb in the washing machine to wash because she couldn’t find clean sheets for us.
No mattress on my son’s bed.
Broken oven, dishwasher, downstairs loo and television.
The owner was effectively emigrating at the end of her trip and we were encouraged to make plans to handover the care of the animals to her friend/cat sitter. This friend agreed the situation was out of hand and that the owner did not have the wellbeing of the animals as a priority. She also advised that we shouldn’t feed back our concerns to the owner as there was nothing she could or would do about it and that she could ‘turn nasty’. So we agreed to stay and complete the sit for the sake of the animals and chalk it up to experience.

We learned mid sit that the owner had booked more THS sitters and so at this point we felt the need to escalate to member services and to inform the pet sitter that the standards of the home were not up to scratch. Friends of the owner had been trying to make her see that her treatment of us, the state of another rental property and her long term plans for the pets were not OK and so because of this she decided to come back early and our sit was cut short and we had to find alternative accommodation.

In her review she mentions that I complained about the lack of downstairs toilet (the most minor point of all the issues we raised and she’s ignored the rest), said we didn’t clean out the rabbit during our entire stay, said we stopped giving her updates which left her no choice but to return home to check the animals were OK, said we didn’t follow her instructions with the cats and that we left a day earlier than agreed thus neglecting the animals. None of which is true and some of which we can prove with WhatsApp records. Where do we even begin?? Thanks if you’ve read through this whole sorry saga, I could’ve written reams more but believe it or not was trying to keep it to the main issues only.

What an unfair situation @ADF - sorry you have to go through this! How about something along the lines of “As seasoned sitters with many exemplary reviews, it saddens us to say that this was a hideous sit from start to finish. In brief, the home was filthy, unprepared, unwelcoming, unfinished and unfit for any sitter. Pets were sweet but of little priority to the HO and should be rehoused to someone with a conscience as soon as possible. Never again. Avoid.” It’s strong but it says first and foremost that you know what you’re doing, are well regarded and it warns any future sitters with it nit picking through all the many issues there were. You could even say “anyone thinking of taking on this sit feel free to contact us for the full story before doing so” (which may be controversial but shows how sure you are about being in the right). There’s not much more you can do other than know you’ve told the truth. Best of luck :+1:t3:


@ADF I have messaged you directly with what I would put as a response. Hopefully this will soon be behind you and you can’t loom forward to happier house sitting adventures.

@ADF to get the HomeOwner removed from the platform you need to raise a member dispute. This is the only way member services will investigate. You have to do this within 30 days of the sit ending.

From your description it sounds like you have plenty of points that show the HO is not suitable to be on THS. With your dispute, I would concentrate mainly on all the points that you have proof of ( from your photos / text conversations and messages etc )

For future reference if you ever arrived to a sit and found a similar situation ( expectation that you hang curtains / plumb in a washing machine to enable you to wash the dirty bedding etc ) you can refuse to start the sit and can contact member services for support .

If this was a new HO there should have been internal photos of the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom etc before the listing was approved to go live . So I am wondering what did the internal photos of the listing look like in comparison to what you found on arrival ?

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The photos looked good but they were of the house when occupied by the previous tenant (we obviously didn’t know this before we arrived). We did definitely think about contacting member services and walking away but if we had then the pets would have only had twice daily feeds for six weeks and no company having just moved into a strange house and we felt we couldn’t do that to them. Having now dealt with member services I’m doubtful they would have been that supportive and I also think we would still be in the situation of having had a horrible and untrue review in retaliation. It feels like we were in a lose-lose situation and there’s nothing to stop home owners misrepresenting themselves and their home in this way. We hope she will be removed from the platform but that doesn’t seem at all guaranteed.

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The T&Cs state that Home owners must
“5.2.7. ensure that the details of your Home Listing are accurate and up to date;

5.2.9. only provide Member Content that accurately reflects the quality and condition of your home and or pet(s);”

If you decide to pursue this complaint with member services by raising a member dispute - be sure to include any photos that you took of the property -use these as a comparison- to show that the photos in the listing were misleading and therefore in breach of the above T&Cs .

You can also state this in your review
“the photos shown on the listing are from the previous tennant and do not represent the state of the property when we arrived …we had to hang curtains in xx( room ) and the washing machine was not plumbed in . Since the owner had not put clean bedding on the bed and was unable to provide us with any clean bedding to use . They suggested that we plumb in the washing machine ourselves so that we could wash the dirty bedding that they had left on the bed “

Thank you. We have pursued it with member services and they’ve agreed the photos we’ve shown are appalling and don’t bear any resemblance to the listing photos. They aren’t willing to remove the review though because of their tamper proof policy and because the owner has used respectful language (while lying).

This was probably deliberate on the part of the review writer. People who use reviews as a weapon learn that bad language, even a minor slip, gives others a means to get the review taken down for violating policies about language. However they know they can give their opinion and certain ‘facts’ and stop short of something that can be obviously classed as libel and not be touched.

Personally I would like you to post a response to their review. What you have written a couple of posts above is quite illuminating and fairly factual. If you were applying to a sit I had posted and I see a 1-star review for you my immediate assumption would be it was malicious (all 1-star reviews are malicious as no-one could be that bad short of burning the house down deliberately) and your response would bear that out when I read it.
It would also warn me if they posted a sit as I would see your 3-star review of them, go to your profile to see their review of you to get an accurate feel for how they are (I do this for every non-5-star review on a listing) and would warn me and possibly others off.

On a separate note while I admire you for sticking it out, if you had left the sit for good reason (due to it being a complete lie trapping you into finishing their house move for them) then it would be cancelled and they wouldn’t have been able to leave a review.


@ADF whilst they have said that they won’t remove the review . THS can remove the host from the platform but only if you raise a member dispute with the evidence that you have already provided in relation to the review .

Really member services should have advised you about this process but it appears from what you have said that they are only directly answering your question about removing the review , rather tackling the underlying issue of a HO who has mis- represented the sit . Go back to them and ask them to investigate the HO .


What’s stopping you rating the house holders cleanliness, organisation skills etc.?
Either write about the lack of them in the review or give them scores out of 5 or 10. The review has no structure. It’s up to us what we say or put in it. As long as it is truthful and emotionless I can’t see a problem putting in numerical scores for categories.


Thank you, this is really helpful advice

Ok, thank you, it sounds like we’ve perhaps not raised the right kind of complaint so I’ll investigate that further.

Can a sitter pm another sitter on the site? I don’t think so…