Sitters, let's stand against sitters who cancel!

Ok, I’m livid here, so I’m gonna rant. As a sitter, I am SICK of hearing about sitters committing to a sit and cancelling last minute. It happens ALL THE TIME. I’m beyond wondering if this is a generational issue of an uncommitted workforce. We are professionals. Show up or ship off.

For the sake of this community and this system working, it is time THS imposes severe penalties on sitters cancelling. Either prove up (the way travel insurance requires) a legitimate excuse for cancellation, or have your membership terminated. Without refund. Without recourse. KICK THEM OFF THE SITE.

We as sitters need to support this, because these yahoos who accept a sit and then cancel are driving homeowners from this platform and from house sitting in general. They give us all a bad name. I hear from homeowners over and over and over about sitter cancellations. KICK THEM OFF THE SITE.

What other business organization would tolerate those who malign their reputation? KICK THEM OFF THE SITE. Let’s develop a code of professionalism and ostracize the punks who can’t live up to it. We don’t need them!

I have on occasion made great sacrifices to honor a committed sit that was for some reason no longer convenient. Even to the point of driving 1000 miles round trip to a sit that I accepted months before but then didn’t quite fit my schedule. But I said I would be there, and D@MNIT I was there with joy and love for that dog! I have read many posts on these forums about other honorable sitters who have done the same. Most of us believe: A committed sit is a committed sit. If you don’t show up for work, you’re fired. Not just from this sit, but from the entire program. KICK THEM OFF THE SITE.

Really, the credibility of THS as a community is based on the credibility of the participants. We don’t need more sitters. We need more committed, honorable sitters. Burn off the chaff. When a sitter accepts a sit, they are precluding other sitters from that opportunity. When they cancel, they not only offend the HO and the pets, they are offending all of us. KICK THEM OFF THE SITE.

I am not the first to suggest something like this. THS staff: PLEASE, if you need to hold a meeting over coffee and bagels, fine. But make a decision. Stand up for the system. Adopt a policy. Before house sitting, I was an executive in corporate America. If I had service providers not showing up for work because they didn’t feel like it, they would be in the unemployment line the next day. Because my clients and customers would leave me otherwise. HOs will leave THS if they are mistreated by unreliable sitters.

OK, breathing and slowing the rant. A month+ ago we applied for a sit in Greece. We had a video chat with the HO, who is a fabulous person. A very desirable sit. She verbally offered the sit, but for various logistical reasons after we looked into transit options we determined we could not commit to it. We politely declined. But I left her on my “favorites” hoping for a future opportunity to sit for her.

Today I receive a THS notice that this favorited sit has posted “new dates”. I look to see she is desperate for the original dates because the sitter she chose cancelled on her with maybe two weeks notice. So maybe I’m feeling a little more vested than normal bc I had a chat with this HO and kind of got attached to her and her pets just from the application process. So it’s personal. But regardless, if we want to be a community, we have to reject those who do not hold to our standards.

BTW, look at the policies of workaway and others in this regard. Not so lenient. Deadbeats not tolerated.

I strongly advocate for revoking the membership of, and permanently banning, sitters who cancel without a documented, valid reason that would hold up to a travel insurance standard. (And, yes, we could have a discussion about HOs cancelling, and perhaps have similar consequences, but that’s not this post). Housesitting isn’t for everyone. And THS CAN’T SURVIVE if it develops a reputation for providing flakey sitters.

Whew. Sorry kinda went long. But it needs to be said. I’d love other REAL sitters to agree. Or offer an alternative view/solution!

Edited to meet posting guidelines.


What a fantastic post! I thought they naturally got their membership revoked, so it was an eye opener.

PS I don’t want Greece at the moment, but you did such a good job in your post that I checked it out anyway :joy:, so I am sure they’ll have loads of applicants today off the back of your post :crossed_fingers:.


I agree with every single word you say. Hear hear!! THS need to get a backbone, and get rid of the couldn’t care less sitters, who are giving us all a bad name . I honestly don’t know what you have to do, to get kicked off the platform!
On a side note, there are also a few home owners who think nothing of cancelling at the last minute, they are equally as bad.
Get rid of the dead wood THS.


Well said @J0e and I completely agree with you. I get so mad when I read about sitters cancelling at the last minute and stressing out the owners, scurrying around for replacement sitters and maybe accepting someone less than ideal. This happened to a lovely couple I’ve sat for, and am repeating in April.
As many of us have pointed out on the forum so many sits seem to have been cancelled since THS put ‘free holiday’ in their advertising instead of promoting care of pets as the priority.
I must admit I recently almost cancelled a sit a week before it was due to take place owing to the rudeness and abruptness of the owner. However, I contacted membership services to explain the situation and was told I didn’t have to go through with the sit if I felt uncomfortable, which is not true! The owner contacted me and seemed more pleasant so I kept my word, although she would never be my best friend!


Thanks, HappyDeb. “M” really is a cool HO with a great life story, and it was a difficult (agonizing!) decision to turn it down when we did some time ago. But I had to prioritize attending my daughter’s graduation from uni, and when I tried to make the travel work (and the Shengen visa limitations, as we hold US passports), we just couldn’t do it without a lot of difficulty. It looks like a dream sit for whoever gets it! I also encouraged her to post in the “last minute” thread, but wow, a last-minute, two-month sit? May be hard to find a sitter who isn’t booked. :crossed_fingers:

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Valid, @Smiley. In that situation, just remember that you are doing a favor for the HO, but you are making a difference in the life of the pet, and that’s who you spend your time with on a sit. I won’t name names, but I’ll confess I’ve done some sits where it turns out I didn’t totally love the HO. But I can’t think of a pet I didn’t love.


I don’t know how many times I have brought this up on the Forum, I applaud you for speaking about it in such a high context :clap::clap:

It really does need addressing, it’s happening a lot recently and I have mentioned what you have myself. I stand by my commitment, even when offered something WAY better, but too many are just cancelling for “other reasons” which nobody will ever really know is honest or not and they would never own up to it. Since the dreaded five was introduced, I feel it is the main reason. People are jumping in to get in that first five without thinking or planning then cancel when something better comes along or they realise it just won’t work.

But I’m just repeating myself here - over and over and over and…:disguised_face:


Well @ziggy we are mostly in agreement (and btw I agree with most of your posts on other threads!), but I’m not sure the 5-app limit is the issue. Because that’s just apps. One can, and I sometimes do, throw in an app to get under the 5-limit even though I haven’t fully vetted the transportation logistics, etc. An application is not a commitment. It’s just an ask for an interview. But by the time I click the accept button, I will have sussed out all issues and asked/addressed all concerns with the HO. I will have priced out plane/train/whatever costs. Decided (for sits outside the US, for me) if the public transport is sufficient, or in rare situations, priced out a car hire. Worked out my scheduling and discussed with the HO the desired times of arrival/departure. It’s just the basic effort that goes into being a house sitter.

And I’m sympathetic to legitimate needs to cancel. Health. Death in the family. Volcanic eruptions. Again, things that would normally trigger a traveler’s insurance policy. But we all know that a few sitters cancel for the “better” sit. Those are parasites on our community.


To me, any cancellations should be noted on any member’s profile — sitter or host. That way, THS doesn’t have to adjudicate any cancellations and it’d be easy to see who’s developing a pattern of unreliability. Yes, there are legit reasons why someone might cancel, such as a death in the family, a serious illness or accident, but THS probably doesn’t want to get into having to get people to prove X.


Agreed Maggie, if THS had an area in the Sitters profile and HO profile for cancelled sits where it can be listed why IE Lockdown, I have about 8 sits that the HO didn’t take the listing down and there’s no feedback from either party, because the sit didn’t go ahead! looking at my own profile, it could have cost us sits after lockdown (idk, I didn’t bother looking into it) anyways it didn’t look great.
Sitters and HO can see if there are problems, if a sitters are just applying, accepting and then scoping out better sits for them, then this is not okay, it’s all round bad form and the possibly of banning them should be considered.
PS Hope you are well, happy Sitting.

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I have no desire to see TH do blanket punishments for sitters or homeowners unless it’s dictated by safety, theft, destruction, or other reasons that cross a similar line. That doesn’t mean I think there should be no consequences for both sitters or homeowners who don’t deliver a good product on this site.

To me, THS should implement a rating system similar to what Airbnb has. I never bother looking at anything below a high rating score for a place to stay on that site. If TH had that for both homeowners and sitters, the system will police itself. If someone wants to take a chance on a sitter or a pet sit with a low rating, that’s on them. Note: when you are offering a new listing on Airbnb, it says new, so it doesn’t penalize those just getting started.

I’ve been a sitter for years with dozens of five star sits and I’ve never had a homeowner tell me they had a sitter cancel or not show up. I’m not saying it does not happen, I have been reading this forum too, but I don’t think it happens ALL THE TIME. I’ve never cancelled myself, but there have been plenty of times after arriving to a sit that I’ve wanted to, either after seeing the state of the home or undisclosed issues with their pets. Yes, I think both parties should honor their commitments once they made them. But, things happen that we don’t know about and we are not a judge or a jury here. If a rating system is put in place like Airbnb, then any sitters who cancel will end up with a low rating and any pet owner who offers a challenging sit will get a low rating and get fewer applicants.

Parisites? No.


Interesting, I have had many HO inviting/in boxing me to ask to sit, due to sitters cancelling, I didn’t think too much of it, however reading this, every sit I have been invited to in the past 3 weeks (average 2 per week) have been due to sitters cancelling.
if THS had an area in the Sitters profile and HO profile for cancelled sits where it can be listed why IE Lockdown, I have about 8 sits that the HO didn’t take the listing down and there’s no feedback from either party, because the sit didn’t go ahead! looking at my own profile, it could have cost us sits after lockdown (idk, I didn’t bother looking into it) anyways it didn’t look great.
Sitters and HO can see if there are problems, if a sitters are just applying, accepting and then scoping out better sits for them, then this is not okay, it’s all round bad form and the possibly of banning them should be considered.
Happy Travels

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Well done @J0e for expressing yourself so succinctly. I too belong to the truly committed and hate hearing these frequent cancellation stories. My hubby and I pride ourselves on never cancelling a sit and those irresponsible sitters that do should be held accountable. The same for hosts who cancel late. We have never had a sit cancellation but I know its on the increase. THS needs to take this much more seriously.
I’ve just checked out the sit in Greece and I really hope she finds a new sitter- how stressful for her. We are committed till late March so can’t help but I wanted to give some ‘energy’ by taking a look. :blush:

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Deleted comment as some people didn’t like another opinion :rofl:

I am sure that it is happening more than THS knows. The company is almost blind to whether cancellations were initiated by the sitter or by the HO. The only cancellations they would know a bit more about are those where the insurance is invoked, but that is only for the Premium memberships.

I had my first sitter booked for 2 upcoming trips 5-13 & 22-28 Feb, last night she cancelled.
Now I’m desperately scrabbling around to find alternatives.
There should definitely be some mention on the sitter profile as you are not able to leave reviews if they didn’t sit. On Airbnb there would be a statement, this booking was cancelled by the sitter 8 days before. At least it would give others some warning or they could do this all the time.


@Voyager, Thanks for the commentary, but when you say “similar to what AirBnB has”, can you explain how that is different to the THS review scheme? I often think THS should look to analogous sites like AirbnB, etc. for possible improvement. But AirbnB has a cancellation policy, and each host can set their policy. If a stay is cancelled, there is no review on AirBnB. So that doesn’t seem to me to solve the situation on THS, where the cancellation policy clearly is full commitment. There is a review system in place on THS, but no ability to review a sitter (or HO) who cancels. So a sitter may cancel 50 sits and get three 5-star reviews for the ones they showed up. How is that data useful to HOs? What from the AirBnB review system should THS impliment?

While I admit my belief that sitter cancellations are too common is based on anecdotal rather than scientific evidence, I have been told by many sitters (probably 20-30% of those I’ve interviewed or sat for) about such situations, and the commentary of others on this thread backs that up (also just look at the HO threads). So I think it is a real problem. But I respect that your experience may be different.

Finally, I absolutely stand by my comment about parasites. I don’t mean the very rare situation of cancellation for truly unforeseen and exigent circumstances. But sitters who commit to sits and don’t honor their commitment for convenience attempt to further their own lifestyles while potentially destroying the THS system (the host). That is the biological definition of a parasite. And THS should shave them off like leaches.

If there is no judge and jury, the HOs will act as judge and jury and vote with their feet by leaving THS. I’m simply advocating for integrity.


Be interesting to know if, when a sit is cancelled by either party, if THS are or could be automatically notified and regular offenders flagged and contacted for an explanation. It could then be up to the discretion of THS if they felt membership needed to be terminated or not.

Sadly, in the last year, I’ve had at least ten direct messages from owners whose sitters have cancelled.

They could collate the numbers, if they wanted to.


Why thank you. Rarely have I been described as succinct. :nerd_face:

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@J0e OK maybe not the full definition of succinct :rofl: (i just googled the precise definition) - brief and clear …but you are certainly clear (and passionate!) :rofl:

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