TH Obligations when a confirmed sitter does not renew their membership

We had a sitter confirmed from last July to take care of our cats in December. 10 days before our trip, I wanted to send her our Welcome Guide, to discover her profile was ‘no longer active’. I contacted Trusted Housesitters Support in a panic, to be told that our confirmed sitter had not renewed her membership when it became due two months earlier, and we no longer had a sitter for our pets!

Wouldn’t you expect Trusted Housesitters to tell you that your sitter is no longer a member?! But there was absolutely no message from them. Two months prior was enough time to find another sitter. 10 days prior is much harder.

The Support Agent was sympathetic, but in the end, it was up to me to sort the problem out. He couldn’t confirm whether we could at least claim from insurance and said he would submit a query to the assessors and in the meantime I should find out about a substitute professional sitter or cattery to look after the cats in case I couldn’t find one through the platform. As you can imagine, in the December holidays, this was no easy task.

We were on the verge of cancelling our trip when I managed to find TH sitters who live near us five days before we left. They were a godsend, and from this perspective, things did eventually work out - no thanks whatsoever to TH.

What is really bad though, is that TH came back to me today (a month later), in response to the query submitted to the assessors about an insurance claim - they can’t submit the claim as the sitter herself did not cancel.

TH accepts no responsibility for failing to let me know! Seems as owners we need to check the sit status every few days from the time it is confirmed if we are to avoid nasty surprises like this.

This was actually the second cancellation for this sit. The first confirmed sitters cancelled a couple of weeks after accepting. Besides this, I have had two other confirmed sits cancelled this year. Three sits, and four cancellations!

I don’t trust them any more. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Edited to meet posting terms

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They’ll say it’s up to the HO & the sitter to stay in touch throughout the period from confirmation to start of sit. In fairness we always touch base every month or so if a sit is way in advance just in case things change or someone gets cold feet. The comms is down to you not them. They can’t monitor all active or inactive sitters however annoying @BJW

On the rare occasions we confirm a sit far in advance we always keep in touch with the hosts on a regular basis. E.g checking in once a month or so and in the last week or two as the sit draws nearer. This is for our benefit as much as the hosts- to make sure everything is still on track. Also we’ve discovered the bond of trust grows over time if contact us maintained. I don’t think its really the job of THS to inform you your sitter has let her membership lapse- they are really just the matchmakers so to speak. But I do think its very disrespectful of the sitter not to have informed you of her change of plans. Its a lesson for the future to keep connected until the sit begins!

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I agree that THS should alert confirmed sitters/HOs when memberships expire. That should not be too difficult to program.

The greatest problem is that it stops communication via the THS messaging system. This is yet another reason for having an alternative channel to communicate, like Whatsapp.

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This is BS. How hard is it to set up an alert that says “hey, your sitter hasn’t renewed their membership and may no longer be available” or “hey, you’re about to be left high and dry, maybe you should give your sitter a call (because you can’t message them now) to see if they plan on renewing their membership?” Members should not be able to just ditch agreements by not renewing, and THS really should have some system to address this. Their excuse for not covering you by insurance is ridiculous. Are they even willing to contact the member and try to help work this out?

It’s funny, I haven’t yet had any problems with sits but I come here and doomscroll and get anxious and start wondering if it’s worth continuing with my membership. I’m not sure this forum is helping the THS cause :joy: But I hope you get some help with your issue!

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THS would be much more popular if Sitters and Owners knew that THS has our backs in these circumstances.

Of course, Owners should be notified if their future Sitter does not renew.

Of course, Sitters should be notified if their future Owner does not renew.

This seems like common sense to me.

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In other threads, it has also become apparent that THS doesn’t notify HO if their sitters become unavailable due to suspension. This can also result in HO being left high and dry. Equally not cool.

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@Shafofo I get how you feel.

And at the same time, I feel the forum doom stories help me atune to listings, reviews, interactions with HO or THsitters to try and be as informed as possible.

And at also the same time, let’s a person know their not alone in their doom story.

But yeah…I get…

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I’ve had similar situations but from the sitter side. I had 19 confirmed sits since joining and 3 cancelled on me with no assistance from THS support team. The only thing they tell me each time is to just apply for other sits. I had a sit where the HOs did not renew and luckily I did get both their emails and phone numbers ahead of time. I reached out to see if the sit was cancelled and they said no. They figured since they already secured my family to sit, they would just not renew until the next time they needed a sitter. I stated that none of the THS protections would be in place if they were not active members and they eventually renewed before our sit. But yes, there needs to be better protection from both sides

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We’re the same @Shafofo - this sitting life has been amazing and no doom issues at all for us so far! (Other than three international cancellations, 4 lost flights, one shady owner and so on :rofl::rofl:) But we still love it. All forums attract the bad stories on the whole, not the brilliant ones, it’s just our nature. As humans our brains :brain: are 70% programmed to think negatively before we even start a thought process. We also love to complain and are 11 times more likely to do that than share a compliment. This is surely the minority of THS members having a tough time and seeking community, advice & support on here from those that understand this odd, rewarding, challenging, brilliant lifestyle. Whilst THS are far from ideal as a business or in supporting their customers, you do have to have certain characteristics for it to be a good fit - resilience, self starter, great communicator, problem solver, adaptability, adventurous & plenty more. #thislifeisnotforeveryone

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Seems like good business for THS to let folks know when either host or sitter lets their membership lapse before a sit.

For my part, though, I check in before sits that are scheduled a month or more out. Seems like common sense to try to cover yourself, because more things can fall through the further ahead a sit is booked. Plus, if anything else notable has unfolded, the better your chances of getting an update if you’re proactive about reaching out.

Thanks everyone. The lesson for me here is not to be so trusting! Going forward, I will let the sitter know up front that I’ll be in regular contact up until the sit takes place.

With this specific sitter, I had spoken to her on WhatsApp before confirming her sit, and as this was on the back of another cancellation. I expressed my concern then about possible cancellations and she assured me that she was definite. So I had her number, and contacted her when we realised the problem to ask if she was still intending to do the sit - no response to my two messages although I could see she had read them.

I agree that from a THS perspective, it surely cannot be that difficult to program in some code that advises the HO or sitter when the other party is no longer a member (for whatever reason). It’s just common sense!

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I tend to check my dashboard regularly. I would imagine that if a member had not renewed then it would disappear from my dashboard.

If I am correct, that way I don’t have to contact them too regularly

@Itchyfeet - no, it does not disappear from your dashboard, strangely the sit still shows as confirmed.

When you try to contact the sitter via THS, you discover the message thread has gone and the member’s profile shows as ‘no longer active’.

Trust, but verify, I figure. It also can be useful in check-in msgs to nudge with a line like, If any circumstances have changed that would affect our sit, would you please let me know?

Why: If something’s changed, it makes it harder to withhold when someone is asked. (Of course, it’s best to keep things in a friendly tone.) This would be more likely to work with people who act in good faith. There are some selfish people in the world who simply can’t be trusted, unfortunately, as it sounds with your no-show sitter.

Agreed - confirmed sits should become unconfirmed and there should be an automatic message sent if one of the parties of a confirmed sit is no longer an active member. This seems like a no-brainer.

I’m all for keeping in touch before a sit, and always have an off-platform way to communicate, but there is some responsibility to the site for keeping members updated when a change like this happens.

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It is really absurd that the THS system behaves this way. @Jenny : could you tell the company that this must change?

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Hello, @pietkuip Jenny is currently out of the office so I can help. I am more than happy to pass your feedback on to the team and will let you know of any updates here.

@MaggieUU Thank you for raising this one, I checked with the Membership Services team and if a member is suspended (owner or sitters) then all confirmed sits are contacted. In the previous case on the forum, there was a separate issue with contacting the owner, so hopefully, that offers some reassurance. But as @pietkuip and others have mentioned I will pass the suggestions on about members being informed about inactive members and the sit still showing on the dashboard. Thank you!

Let’s be crystal clear with our language here.

To me, “suspended” means that an Owner or Sitter is being reprimanded. Good job, THS, if this is indeed happening.

In this thread, we are talking about Sitters and Owners who DID NOT RENEW THEIR MEMBERSHIP. This is NOT about suspended members.

Let’s keep the topic on track, please.

@Carla

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@BJW
Thanks for your response - what a bizarre programme.
Let us hope it gets changed

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