Newbie contacted by HO for unadvertised sit

A HO emailed me making me an offer of a sit I hadn’t applied for at very short notice - one week from now. That’s fine, I don’t mind short notice but the HO hasn’t actually attached any dates to the listing - he’s just told me what they are in the message. He is also being rather reticent - I’m the one asking all the questions. I don’t have a car and would have to get there by train with the ticket costing £100. The owner said they’d refund me, but I’m wary. This would be my first ever sit - I only just joined a few days ago. If they cancel, there’ no penalty - right? They have plenty of good reviews, but this is only for sits that went ahead. I am a newbie - help!

I have no objection either to being contacted directly to ask if I’d be interested in a sit, but it has always been for advertised dates. My query would be - why haven’t they advertised the sit? I’d want them to advertise it and then I could apply.

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I am just going to give a short response - don’t do it!
So many red flags here and as you are a newbie, you want to take on a sitting that follows the guidelines preferably with an experienced HO

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Hi @catlover and welcome. My gut reaction is the same as @Itchyfeet. I am a sitter with years of experience. If I was invited directly, I would not consider it without a listing prepared. I would merely reply saying that I would be happy to review the listing and would give them a quick response, given their timeframe.

I would wonder why someone would select me, without any THS experience, over other sitters closer to their location. If it would cost you £100 to get there, why you? That’s no disrespect to you, but the biggest red flag ever.

Also please look at the webpage concerning who pays for travel to a sit. You will see that travel costs are at the sitter’s expense.

Francine,
Voluntary Forum Moderator

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Nope. Don’t even think about it anymore. Being new and no listing is too risky. Just keep moving.
Stick to listed sits that you apply for formally, have a conversation and feel comfortable with.

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Hi @Snowbird - thanks. The thing is, they do have a listing - with details about them and photos, but no dates listed. He told me the dates within the message. Also they have a lot of good reviews - no bad ones. This is why I’m confused. As you said, why chose me when I have no THS experience, but maybe they didn’t read my profile properly and don’t know this…

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Absolutely do not accept this invitation - It sounds very, very dodgy.

The question is how they found you. When a homeowner does a search for a sitter, they usually look for those who live closest to them, or those who have favourited them. If you don’t match either of those circumstances, then it’s puzzling, especially given they have reviews so they are not new to THS.

I’m going to direct message you. :slightly_smiling_face:

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This makes me wonder if this is a scam, that maybe your account was hacked. I would send all your correspondence to Membership Services to have this checked out. If you were contacted by a bonified HO member, MS can inform and assist them in use of the site.

Good point. No one has ever offered to pay my travel expenses. It could be a “send my your bank details and I promise to refund you” scam - hopefully it isn’t though and it is a misunderstanding of how the THS listings work.

Hi @catlover welcome could you please Direct Message me or @Snowbird the details of the sit and we will get the Membership Services Team to reach out to the owner who may be in need of some clarification assistance.

Also weighing in with a no. This doesn’t make sense on several levels. Give this a pass — you’ll get others.

Ok, wrote and sent the above before seeing subsequent messages. Maybe it is more confusion than anything, but work it out with the team.

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Don’t do it. Too many red flags!

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I’m wondering if Catlover favourited their sit somewhere along the line and that’s why the homeowner invited them?

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Going with your gut will serve you well with housesits. If it doesn’t feel right, then you can confidently pass. Plenty of opportunity to go around. However, this situation probably isn’t as suspicious as it seems, especially since they have used the site before with good feedback.

FYI though…sitters are expected to pay their own transportation fees. If an owner offers on their own some sort of split or reimbursement, that’s great. But it is not something you are supposed to ask of them.

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Hello @catlover,
I’ve read all the comments on your question and I must say I do not completely agree.
We have already been contacted by OH with no dates : they wanted to fit to our schedule before setting their (it was not a short notice though).
I think it is very hard for OH to find house-sitter at the moment, specially in the UK. In France too : at the moment we get lots of invitation from OH who probably don’t get applicants to their listing.
So maybe your OH tried an other option : asking a new sitter willing to have a first date ?
You said OH have good reviews. You can see his listing, with seems appealing.
So for me in total it wouldn’t be a red flag. Of course I would have a phone call or video chat to get a better gut felling.
But why not ?
As far as paying the travel cost : it happened only one to us, it was an offer from a desperate OH seeking for a last minute pet-sitter.
Tell us how it goes !

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Totally agree with you @KC1102 !

I agree.

(plus some more characters so this will post)

Hi everyone we have been managing this and I have been in DM with @catlover the owner has been contacted by the Membership Services Team and all is in order.

The advice to this and every member is always do what makes you feel comfortable, it is all about communication and having the right communication.

If an arrangement, for whatever reason, does not feel right for you which doesn’t mean it won’t be right for someone else, then make the choice that is right for you and move on to the next.

The safety and well being of members is paramount and we will always take member’s concerns seriously.

Thank you everyone we will close this post now.