Sitter cancellations seem to be more frequent

Really? Because I’ve reported four sitters who cancelled and the CS rep who emailed me back suggested I improve my vetting process. Apparently only approving a sitter with multiple 5 star reviews, doing a video chat and staying in touch isn’t enough?

@Elly-Andy-NOLA,

I am sorry that you have had so many cancelations this past year. I too have had to go through some cancelations but each time I did learn something and I do hope that those difficult lessons have lead me to select sitters that would never consider a cancelation. That being said, we really do take them seriously and since you have been in touch with Membership Services about these sitters that have canceled - they in turn have done something about it. Please feel free to DM myself or any of the other moderators if you would like to discuss your cancellations further.

@Kelly_U sorry to hear that you have also experienced cancellations too.

It would be very helpful to know your tips on how you are able to select sitters that won’t cancel without their reliability record being available- are there certain questions that you ask to screen out unreliable ones?

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Thankyou @Kelly_U for your feedback and list of questions. It’s always interesting to hear from another person’s perspective. Clearly this has been working for you .

I must admit that although I would never consider cancelling a sit (unless there was an emergency which made it absolutely necessary ) if I was asked question 8 I would run a mile :running_woman:.

That’s probably because from my perspective having had 2 out of 5 homeowners curtail trips this year … That question sounds to me like “if I come back early will you have funds to sort yourself out ….”

Do you ask “have you ever cancelled a sit before?” That is what I am going to ask homeowners in future ….

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I wonder if the surge in membership is to blame, with inexperienced sitters looking for a free holiday keeping an eye out for a more exciting destination

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It’s a possible explanation @Wildcolonialgirl however it’s not just sitters - homeowners are cancelling too - https://forum.trustedhousesitters.com/t/owner-cancellations

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I think (as do many others) that the 5 applicant limit causes sitters to jump on a listing immediately without always thinking it through. Also Limits HO ability to look over more applicants and chose the best one. It is a terrible rule and is ruining this site.

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I appreciate your feedback. It would be great for home owners to answer all applications on the platform especially when taking the time to write a personalized note for them. As full time house sitters, I think home owners should be warmer and considerate because at the end of the day, it’s a free service and they would pay a fortune outside of this system.

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Has this ever happened? When a homeowner cancelled, which resulted in that HO being suspended?

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Hi @MissChef a question for Membership Services, any disputes are dealt with on a case by case basis and are never publicly discussed.

Hi @Angela_L - the forum keep asking for stats on how many sitters and home owners are flagged and ultimately thrown off the site for cancelling. What is the system? How effective is it? How is it managed? How can members contribute and help? Is it the same both sides? (It seems not) Members are asking for reassurance of fair treatment as well as evidence of positive action, and none is forthcoming. Why can’t THS share a policy with one and all, it would show transparency which seems to be lacking with the organisation. We, the clients, ask questions and THS, the supplier that we pay membership fees to, are evading the full answer. No one is asking for individual examples. And asking members to DM cancellation concerns on a one by one basis to moderators isn’t a solution.

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Hi @Cuttlefish

We sincerely appreciate your interest and genuinely understand member’s concerns regarding cancellations and agree that a level of transparency is essential in building trust and maintaining a strong community.

The forum, while a valuable platform for discussions and community engagement was never intended to be an extension of Membership Services and is not the platform for answering Membership Services related questions. Sign posting members to the team is essential in getting everyone the correct help, support and information they need in the quickest and most effective way possible.

The handling of all reported cancellations falls under the responsibility of our dedicated Membership Services Complaints Team and it is important to note that they can only investigate and address those cancellations that are reported and brought to their attention.

Each complaint is thoroughly investigated according to the policy and process in place and if any member involved has breached the Code of Conduct or TrustedHousesitters T&C’s, which every member agrees to abide by when they join, then the appropriate action is taken which can result in members, from either side of the network, being given a warning, added to the watch list or ultimately losing their THS membership.

We need to emphasize that issuing stats and numbers may not provide the complete picture of the complex processes involved. Each case is unique and may require careful consideration, taking various factors into account.

We encourage all members to reach out to our Membership Services Team directly when facing any issues or concerns. By reporting incidents, members contribute to the overall well-being of our community and enable us to take appropriate actions promptly.

It’s essential to note that while forum discussions can create the impression that cancellations have vastly increased, the reality is different and despite the active conversations cancellations have not experienced any significant increase compared to the global rise in pet and house sitting opportunities.

This fact alone does not diminish the importance of managing cancellations appropriately. We are continuously working towards finding ways of minimizing their occurrence and the impact they may have on those involved.

Once again thank you for your concern, I will pass your comment and concerns to the Membership Services Team.

Our priority is to ensure the best possible experience for all of our members …. All of the time.

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Taking onboard what THS have said it seems that there has always been a problem with a percentage of sitter and homeowner cancelling sits .

The frequency of this problem is not increasing , it’s just coming to light and being discussed more frequently on the forum than in the past .

It’s good that it’s being discussed so that everyone is aware that it can and does happen and can have back up plans in case it happens to them.

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As a homeowner I cannot imagine canceling a sit. We take all of this very seriously. And feel an obligation to a sitter that has carved out time in their lives to stay with our dogs. If our trip was canceled for some odd reason, we would find somewhere else to travel to.
Our VERY first experience with THS however, the obligated sitter for our dogs, canceled two days before our sit. We were in the middle of a move and it was awful. A previous owner had contacted him and he wanted that sit so he just blew us off. THS took him off the platform. At least for a while. We were shocked and called THS to find out if this was the norm. (Canceling last minute). As a result of his inconsideration, my husband stayed home while my daughter and I went to Mexico. But we have had much better experiences since then. Short of a death or extreme emergency, I don’t think either party should ever cancel. It’s an obligation and responsibility that you agree to. In my opinion.

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Before we all start reporting on each other over last minute cancellations we need to pause and think. What defines a “last minute” cancellation? A week? Two weeks? What’s a legitimate reason? Is it the time an HO had a heart attack three weeks before a sit but waited until four days beforehand to cancel on us? What about the couple that canceled on us with a week notice because they screwed up their airline reservations and booked the wrong dates? Or the family that canceled the day of the sit because someone came down with Covid? In that last example, because we didn’t make a fuss of it, led to some great sit referrals and we have a good relationship with the family.

For the HOs complaining about last minute cancellations, we sitters can match you with our own stories. There is so much nuance to this.

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To be honest, not that I agree with cancelling… bc this isn’t a paid service, many don’t feel like they owe others a commitment in the same way that they would in a paid-for role, in case a personal matter or a better opportunity arises. It’s not personal. It’s just human nature that without payment, many people don’t feel the same obligation to sacrifice their own life opportunities, should something that suits their situation better comes up. It could be a paid job, life change, a sit in an area more suitable to them. All you can do is communicate clearly and have a plan B in case a cancellation occurs. There’s usually someone who can do it last minute.

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…… however cancellation by either sitter or homeowner is against the code of conduct which members agree to when the join TrustedHouseSitters ( unless there are exceptional circumstances where cancellation is unavoidable)

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I don’t agree that people don’t feel as committed because it’s unpaid. If I’ve committed to anything whether it’s an unpaid sit or paid consulting work, I honor my commitments. I would only cancel if it was an emergency such as major illness, death in the family, etc. I believe that the vast majority of sitters and homeowners feel the same way I do. The few bad sitters and HOs are a small percentage of THS.

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Yeah, it depends on the person and situation. In my personal experience, most of the sitters who have a lot of experience and are spoiled for choice and will cancel if there’s a lot of lead time and a better opportunity presents itself. However, everyone is different, depending on their circumstances and values.

And seeing as this topic comes up more than once, it’s not as uncommon as people think.

The way I see it is, based on my client’s stories is, payment secures guaranteed service. Without it, for many, anything goes. I’m not trying to offend anyone here.

But it’s a reality that you need to be aware of and prepare a back up plan for.

For myself personally, if I’m not paying for a service, I’m not arrogant. I don’t expect the same loyalties that I would if I were legitimately paying for a service that many others pay for elsewhere. That’s just me. I don’t have high expectations of people that I’m not paying to work for me and that means I always have back up plans.

Some have what they call champagne taste but don’t want to pay for it. I’m not complaining as that’s how THS became popular. And we love that.

However, it’s equally true that you are best to be realistic about that to avoid disaster. I say this out of compassion for those experiencing cancellations. You don’t own the time and energy of those you aren’t paying.

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@Starsitter I must say I do not agree as the more experienced the sitter (on the THS platform) the less likely they are to cancel at any time prior to the sit. They understand the impact this can have on a HO and will not put them in this situation unless absolutely beyond their control.

There are plenty of paid sites that will accept your membership and many HO’s who are more than willing to pay for that service, but THS is a special kind of “family” that believes it is beneficial to both sides of the table and hopefully, both are respecting that “family”.

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