No Response from HO Close to sit date

Hi
Just looking for some advice please.
I’m due to do a sit in 10 days that was confirmed months ago & I’ve been in contact with the HO via message on THS website to check everything is ok for the sit to go ahead as we will be breaking our journey up with an overnight stay in a hotel that I need to book but I’ve had no answer from the HO even though my message has been read.
I’ve also not received the welcome guide I requested.
I’ve had no correspondence for 2 months now & I’m getting red flags :triangular_flag_on_post: feelings about this sit.
Robert from THS has emailed the HO so I’m waiting to see if they contact me.
I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this situation?
I’m really getting cold feet over this sit.
It’s in Basingstoke but so far I do not have the address.
Should I wait or should I cancel the sit & look for another one?
All advice would be kindly appreciated

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I did this once when a HO wasn’t responding and they answered right away after THS got in touch with them. I hope everything works out fine for you and the sit goes well.

In future, my suggestion would be to insist on the address once the sit has been offered but before you hit accept.

Also, it’s a good idea to exchange other contact methods such as email, phone, or WhatsApp once a sit is agreed.

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Hi @Crazydoglady I can appreciate how anxious this must make you feel, and I would certainly also be concerned. I agree with @Kelownagurl in getting backup contact information, which I get at the time of confirming a sit. I ask for an email address and cell phone number for one or both (if more than one owner). I then immediately email and text them and ask that they reply, so that I know I have more than one method of contact.

I hope you are allowing a reasonable time for Robert to get back to you. I realize you have to make plans, but no doubt he is doing his best.

Yes, this has happened to other sitters. However, the common theme is usually not making sure that all contact information is requested and confirmed. Having the Welcome Guide in place is an additional tool. Requiring that well in advance can often avoid some of these relatively last-minute concerns. For future sits, remember this is an equal commitment, and you deserve the respect of having this information provided within a reasonable timeframe. Hopefully all will work out well, as it often has for similar situations.

Francine,
Volunteer Forum Moderator :canada:

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We had a similar ‘problem’ twice.

Once the HO ‘reappeared’ a few days before the sit, blissfully unaware of our worries :grinning:

However recently, owners let their membership expire abt 50 days before the sit. (sit was agreed 6 months in advance & we had had plenty of communication since & agreed on flight dates…) When THS contacted them they didn’t want to renew and the sit was canceled. Cost us loads of money! :disappointed_relieved:

So it can go both ways, but ever since we tell future owners that communication before the sit is key!

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YES! Some years ago I had my transportation booked and then this HO freaked out and canceled on me after I requested a housesitting guide from her about 10 days before the sit started. This was years ago when THS support was non-existent. I took it badly but fortunately I found another sit at the last minute to fill the time slot. Frankly I do not want to go through this again, I have enough anxiety issues to deal with in my life… I wonder what THS can do to vet this kind of irresponsible (or mentally unstable?) HOs. I just came across another HO with this kind of behaviour these few days but luckily I could back out on him before the sit started.

I think with this kind of red flags, the trust will be gone and I don’t think I’d be comfortable taking care of the house of someone who is unresponsive and unreliable. What if something bad happens during the sit and the HO is not available to help or respond? I dread thinking about it. I won’t be able to enjoy the experience.

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I am sorry this happened, but what is THS supposed to do? They can’t educate people.

THS is not responsible for travel costs anybody has because of home owners backing out. You also never know what really happened and why they needed to change their plans.
Looking for red flags before confirming a sit should be done by both parties and still sh… happens.

The only thing THS would be able to do is watch out for members to back out frequently and then? Kick them out? Ask them why?
I guess it wouldn’t even be legal to cut their membership if they present perfectly believable reasons and probably not even then.
They can’t punish anyone for canceling once, because this can happen to everybody, no matter if it’s a sitter or an owner.

THS may put up more and more rules but in the end it’s just a platform to connect sitters with owners and their relationship is built on trust. If you trusted the wrong person there’s nothing they can do about it, sorry, but that’s life.

I don’t intend to scold you personally but I think there’s too much expectation towards THS which they aren’t able to meet. As someone else stated recently: THS is not a travel agency!

The best you can do is to educate yourself for finding the listings/owners with red flags, ask as many questions as you can before confirming the sit and listen to your gut.

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But that’s exactly what you have done here. And in several other posts. Be kind.

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Excuse me, but if you are offended personally it’s not my fault.
I only have written what THS cannot do and that people need to realize that THS can’t control everything. What is so offending about this? And how do you expect me to write this nicely?

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Thank you
Robert has done an excellent job in contacting the HO & they have now sent me the welcome guide.
Everyone’s suggestions have been most helpful & thanks again

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What a terrible experience you have had. I am still weary of this. It’s just a gut feeling I have.
I’m going to message them through WhatsApp & see how I feel when I receive their reply

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I’m so pleased to see that you’ve had some resolution. I also really appreciate that you’ve taken the time to update forum members. I hope all goes well for you with the sit. No doubt this experience will have you tweak your process and requirements from homeowners from hereon in. We all learn from each sit, often in wonderful ways, but unfortunately not always. I hope it turns out to be a wonderful sit for you.

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I completely agree with everything you have written on this thread. There are far too many expectations (on both sides). THS is a sharing platform not a travel agents. The three key words are communication, truthfulness and trust.
You pay your money, THS shares their information then it’s up to you what you do, or not do with it. Take a moment to reflect how little membership costs compared to the potential world that is being opened up then start being realistic.

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Thank you very much Snowbird
I have learned quite a lot & it’s much appreciated.
Really looking forward to my pet sit now & can go ahead & book the hotel :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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THS is wonderful!
I’ve had many wonderful experience’s with them & hopefully I will have many more to come :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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I’m really glad to hear that. I know forums always end up with a lot of negativity as it’s the usual place to vent but we have to keep a balance here.
Let’s post good things about THS as well as all the problems some people have.

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If it’s just a platform then THS should lower their membership fees. If THS charges 30-40 percent more than their competitors, I thought they must provide a better service? Turned out their insurance is very hard to claim (many conditions need to be met, judging from the Trustpilot reviews and personal experiences of some other members I spoke to), so it’s practically useless. The only plus about THS is the number of members and countries covered. But still I don’t think it justifies the cost, considering their limited support and effort in making THS a more pleasant platform. I wish they put more effort into vetting and monitoring members (e.g. banning misbehaving members like on other social media) instead of telling members to just watch out for themselves here. BTW, is there any way to report a member that displays bad behaviour?

To say “if it’s just platform” is an lazy excuse to exempt yourself from any responsibilities as a platform. What responsibilities does THS actually hold then? So it’s just another free-for-all?

Any guidelines from THS please? Do all beginners have to pay their dues to learn their lessons?

Well, from what I have seen on other platforms, they actually are better. Why should they do anything? It’s a free market and as long as people pay the price it’s a good price.
The quality of applications is definitely better here than elsewhere from what I experienced.
I would never count on any insurance which is supposed to work worldwide. I am not that naïve.
To me the costs are reasonable for the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world and at the same time have sitters here from any country.

Blockquote BTW, is there any way to report a member that displays bad behaviour?

Yes of course, but THEY actually decide about bad behavior, not the members.
What responsibilities does THS hold? They provide the means for members to connect, nothing more. How much staff do you want to pay to sort through each listing?
How do you find the „bad“ sitters? They are out there, I am quite certain.
So, yes, it’s all about trial and error. I never expected anything else.

Maybe if THS is more honest about what they can provide, people will not sign up with false expectations. THS, please consider putting in some disclaimers in your website so members have a more realistic idea of what to expect. From what I see, the THS website only promotes the good side not so much the bad side. And, yes, consider lowering the membership fees to match what you can offer. Perhaps more people would sign up this way, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Actually this is a good idea. There should be an indicator in the profile showing the rates of this HO/sitter backing out. If someone has an over 50 percent rate, it’s a red flag.

I still struggle to understand why THS does not bear any responsibility if either side backs out because of an illegitimate reason. I, as a sitter, fulfill my side of obligations, have my transportation and hotel booked, and have a sit cancelled on me (often at the last minute). Aren’t I entitled to any sort of compensation (preferably from the HO, actually). Maybe they won’t back out so easily if there are consequences for their actions. When you agree to a sit, it’s a social contract. You are not suppsed to bail out unless for legitimate reasons (e.g. family deaths). Both sides need protection and assurances. If not, how can this platform work efficiently?

Yes I know THS is not a travel agency, but some action needs to be taken within reason. Too much is at stake here. The safety of your pets, the well being of your house, our time, our money? How can anyone be cavalier about this? Maybe both sides take to take penalties if they back out without a good reason. When you book a hotel you also are subject to penalty rules. Why can’t this be applied to THS?

To improve this platform simply means members would be less likely to have their time wasted (just what happened to me) and be disappointed. Life is hard as it is, let’s not make it even harder.

I can only second @MissRien & others have said. Its extremely annoying & inconsiderate for a HO to change their plans at last minute.
Ive had it happen, yes there were red flags but no one is perfect. We learn as we go
Thanfully i didnt have travel costs or hotels booked but did have time off work booked.
On the other side of the coin, things happen, unexpected can bring unforseen changes, sometimes no ones fault.
Please be considerate, people are just sharing their view & personal ecperiences.
Theres not necessarily a wrong or a right.