Red Flags?

@Fluffball yes agreed its one of my biggest red flags…having to chase a HO for even the most basic of information eg ‘where am i coming to?’ is a real pain and more than once i have been on a coach or train to a town i have never been to wondering if the sit will actually go ahead! I know that some people have really busy lives juggling kids etc but if you want somebody to come into your home and look after your animals, you really should engage properly with people applying and certainly with the sitter you have locked in! Right at this moment I am on a sit at Corby for a lovely couple with four children and busy lives; I would have to say that the communication right from the start has been easily the best in 78 sits. My messages are read almost straightaway and I got the information I need to plan the trip promptly. These people have gone on holiday leaving me well supported with back-up from family and friends. If a family with four young children can manage that, it can’t be that hard for other HOs, many with fewer things to juggle, to do the same.

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Yes, exactly!! Communication is so important!! You don’t want to make it harder for the sitter because they are having to chase you for specific important information pertaining to the sit, when they are looking after your home & cutie pie fluffy & furry babies!! :smiley_cat: :smiley_cat: :smiley_cat:

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I think we may have sat for this same family in 2018. Do they have a dog named Merlin per chance? They are truly lovely people and great communicators!

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@Knowmad yes they are the same people…they have Merlin and a Sheltie called Poppy! I arrived yesterday and there looks like some nice walks from the door…lovely dogs!

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Question re researching homeowners - apologies if this has been covered before

We see a potential sit with just 2 reviews the last one being over 4 years ago. Could be a red flag (along with a lack of pics) if there have been intervening sits and reviews have not been placed by less-than-happy sitters…but maybe the HO has not used a sitter in that time.

Is there any way of finding out through their profile if they have advertised and had sits in the interim?

Thanks

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Hi @ofajab, you can see this on the app but not on the website.

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Hi @ofajab welcome to our community forum it’s great to have you join us. Thank you @Colin for helping to answer the question. You can see previous sitters on the App only, however the absence of feedback is not necessarily a “Red Flag” often sitters do not leave feedback and we are trying to help improve this situation as reviews and feedback are very important for successful sits and sitters.

Welcome again, enjoy connecting with other members and the conversations …

Angela and the Team

Thanks Colin and to you Angela!

In this case we have looked and seen 12 previous sitters have not left feedback so we will not pursue this one.

Many thanks!

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Hi @ofajab I have sent you a Direct Message …

If those 12 are over the last 18 months it may be that the sits never went ahead - other than that I would be extremely wary of so many sitters not leaving reviews - it seems that this is sitter code for ‘not good’ !

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Thanks Colin for your thoughts on this one!

aha thanks for that tip Colin , seem to have missed that idea that not leaving is a review is maybe a way of warning NOT a good sit

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I’m hopeful that this forum may be influencing sitters in voicing, respectfully, any negative aspects of the sit. Recently I saw a listing that brought this to mind. Two earlier sits without sitter feedback, and the most recent one giving details of how difficult the pet was for a few days and what they did to win over its trust. They also added complimentary information, including that they would happily sit again. A balanced review. In the current listing, the HO points out ways to manage what can be a difficult pet at first. It made me wonder whether the listing has been expanded, in a respectful response to the sitter’s comments. Progress perhaps, because of this forum? I hope so. :slight_smile:

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@Snowbird yes it sounds like the listing was expanded and I think we can point out issues tactfully within a review and point a HO in a direction that is helpful for themselves, their pets and their sitters. Its worth saying that some HOs (especially during the covid situation) have taken on dogs for the first time and have no experience of what a dog needs (eg decent walks and stimulation) to be happy and not bark all day, dig up the garden, destroy things (I sat for one HO awhile ago whos dog destroyed £3,000 of new blinds because they left it for six hours without giving it a long walk before!). The more we look after animals the more we learn (or should!) and we can pass on tips to HOs that really make a positive difference to how they interact with their dog(s). At the best outcome, we might even help prevent a difficult dog being given up for rehoming having had a part to play in ‘training’ the HO. I think the review system can be a useful tool to that end.

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I sat for a wk & arrived around 3. The owner had paid a private sitter for the puppy & cat for 2 days before I arrived. The house cleaner was supposed to come & tidy up before my arrival. Very untidy house and the bed (I assume slept in my the dog walker) was not fresh linen so I stripped it & put it in the wash. There was no room in the fridge for my food - it looked like it had never been cleaned with lots of leftovers. I had to push things around to make a little space. The cleaner did finally arrive but told me the house usually looked worse. The kitchen tap was falling off & when the unfriendly recent ex came to take the dog for a few hrs I mentioned it hoping he would fix it but he just disregarded me. Also, the door locks did not work properly so I went back & forth to the front & back door & whichever one I finally got to lock allowed me to go out. One room was closed so I thought I’d open the door for some sun but it was a cyclone of papers, games & disarray. I never met the owner (with 2 kids) but e-mailed her about the bed. and how the puppy was doing. She got her back up & said I upset her & put a damper on her vacation.
She would not give me a review even though she knew I took good care of the puppy (cat just came around for food) as she did not believe in public reviews. I took the puppy for long walks, raked the yard, fixed a broken closet folding door and left the house with clean sheets. I in turn did not leave a review. So now I really check those photos to see how people keep their home - if they can’t make a bed or put dishes away for photos then you can expect the house will be the same when you arrive. This also happened to be the same on a sit in Toulouse France.

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@Patsylittle, First, I am so sorry you had to live in these conditions. According to the THS guidelines no one else is supposed to be at the home during the sit, e.g., the ex-spouse, so the HO already violated the rules. I assume the HO also checked with you ahead of time and had your permission to have the house cleaners? What did her listing look like? Were there pictures of the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, or other parts of the house? What did they look like? Were there reviews left by other sitters? In her listing, did she go into any detail under the categories, about me, home, responsibilities? In hindsight, what were the red flags? Did she fail to leave reviews for any other sitters? I wonder if there were other incidences in the past where neither HO nor sitter left reviews. If this were the case, the past sit would not appear anywhere ( in the app or on the website), so no one would know it ever happened. Would you consider writing an honest review? Or even inquiring of membership services if there had been previous sits that never appeared or if there have been other complaints about this HO?

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Hi @Patsylittle I am so sorry that you have had such an experience. Apart from the concerning descriptions of events as @mars quite rightly says, the presence of a third party at the home during a sit, regardless of the person’s status or relationship to the owner, is against TrustedHousesitters Code of Conduct and conditions of a sitting arrangement.

The presence of cleaners, gardeners or maintenance staff should also be advised and discussed before the sit is confirmed.

I am going to Direct Message you and pick this up to discuss further.

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@Patsylittle an @Angela-CommunityManager sounds awful! THS really needs to get these sort of people off their books!

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A really dumb question, but how does a sitter see if previous sitters have left no feedback on a particular house sit?

You have to check the app as well as your desktop…