THS Post Covid/Expanding and the rise of the home owner

WOW Thank you Shannon…I will look into the Trust Pilot reviews. YES this is describing the “problem” and I’ve noticed advertising that seems to suggest that is the case also.

@jburns Have you experienced that after an official member dispute was raised that the same owner was permitted to come back …?

THS don’t read reviews. So if no dispute is raised when their is a serious issue the member can simply cancel their own account and possibly create a new one .

However my understanding is that when a member dispute is raised the sanctions are tougher . Member can be banned for life - so can’t just open a new account .

So just wanted to clarify with you that in these cases you experienced as a sitter that you had raised a member dispute and THS instigated a full investigation ?

2 Likes

I raised a member dispute due to HO requests after agreement and cancelling outside of the terms. Zilch was done.

I also just had a HO cancel on me due to refusing to allow the tenants (in the illegal unit not included in the listing) access to the home. Again, THS did zilch.

@lou28 did THS reply to you with the outcome of their investigation?
If not , they should have .
You can chase up and ask them for the outcome of the dispute . If agent is not able to help escalate to a manager .

Was your dispute about the cancellation ( which THS do not seem to do anything about ) Or was it about the member breaking the T&Cs ?
For example (listing not being accurate about a pets medical condition or sitter’s responsibilities - or having an aggressive pet or internal cameras or third parties )

My complaint was about both: cancelling without circumstances considered valid by THS policies and not in the manner required. AND that the dog was special needs but the HO’s hid that by not placing in their listing, which THS actually says it requires. The HO also didn’t reveal all the needs in our communication prior to agreement - and for three more weeks until they sent me the guide and “report to work” instructions. The requirements were such that you basically couldn’t leave for more than 2 hours and would be interrupted from work about every two hours from 6a-11p.

THS did not followup. But per another thread about these same HO’s, I followed up a few days ago. The basics of the reply from THS: they did nothing but supposedly tell the HO’s not to cancel on people (um, too late) and to put everything about their special needs animal in their listing. But the HO’s didn’t update their listing and duped another sitter. In THS reply to me they defended the HO’s stating that there is a current sitter (who actually ended up leaving due to the HO’s hiding facts and violating THS policies) and that the HO’s have booked “numerous” sitters in the past. Well, the HO’s have two reviews from 2024. So like @jburns is suggesting, pretty sure they had so many negative reviews, they opened a new account.

@lou28 very disappointed response from member services - I assume you did provide all the evidence needed for a member dispute .?

  • Screenshot of listing , email, texts and any other messages on our platform that is in relation to the sit (it must be a full thread conversation, not one message screenshots)

Did you know that you can appeal the decision?

How to appeal a decision

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can request this to be reviewed by a senior member of our Membership Services department

You will be required to send your request via email to support@trustedhousesitters.comapplying the subject line ‘Complaint Appeal’

Your appeal will then be reviewed by a senior member of our Membership Services team who may contact you for further information if required

The ruling on your appeal will be delivered within 14 days of receipt.

2 Likes

It’s interesting what you say about the potential demographic of the demanding & dishonest HO. Doubly so that it could be USA and Canada focused. We never sit in the States (or UK) & haven’t experienced any of the issues flagged like extra pets, meds, demands etc (40+ sits over 3 years full time sitting). Our sits tend to be in countries (18 different ones so a good sample) of smaller sitting communities, often for expats. So far they have all known & appreciated the whole exchange premis and its balance. THS support is not robust enough & their marketing is often misleading and unhelpful on both sides. Once you’ve committed then you’re pretty much on your own. @Silversitters gives good advice on raising disputes and not giving up but it can be exhausting after the stress of dealing with a bad sit. Don’t know the solution other than being more selective, giving yourself breaks & not overselling your skills so that you’re taken advantage of. Plus always having a plan B to leave if it’s an untenable situation. Good tips from @lou28 @RadarInc et al. Useful topic to discuss too @jburns #appreciateyourcandour

10 Likes

I’ve experienced this too. I assume it’s due to unclear marketing. But I have come across HOs that think the membership fee is for pet care. Something like rover only you just pay once a year and can use the service as often as you want. It does lead to them thinking they are employing a sitter rather than offering an exchange. They are also often looking for local sitters that will be available for frequent sits, often short. I think THS needs to be clear in it’s marketing and very clear when HOs are signing up.

9 Likes

I sit primarily in the U.S., on both coasts. Again, my experience hasn’t been like that of the OP. Screening carefully has helped me avoid bad hosts.

Presumably, because membership has grown, bad hosts and sitters would’ve grown at least proportionately. And if bad hosts and/or sitters have grown even more beyond that and someone is encountering mostly bad sits and better screening doesn’t help, then it makes sense to quit.

Besides what I mentioned previously as far as vetting hosts, I also expect a welcome guide (or some other form of the same material in another format) well before my sit. Not that hosts can’t leave things out or lie, but that’s yet another way to screen ahead of a sit.

If they don’t send it ahead of time or I find out something significant that wasn’t in the listing or our chat, I’m prepared to cancel the sit. If they’ve misrepresented the sit and I find out on arrival, I’m prepared to switch to my Plan B and leave if needed. In such a case, I’d give them 24 hours or so to make other arrangements. If they significantly misrepresented the sit, they created that necessity. And neither they nor THS can force me to stay if I decide the sit is untenable or unreasonable.

In such a situation, I doubt THS would do anything, because they’ve not acted against sitters and hosts, except in rare instances. And even if they booted me from the platform, I’d live. I’m a great sitter, but I don’t pay a membership fee and sit voluntarily so I can be taken advantage of and be left upset. To me, no one should.

To me, sitting effectively on THS requires setting boundaries and upholding them, looking after yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you.

15 Likes

I agree with you and feel there’s been a shift in the landscape in the last year or 18 months, and I think a contributing factor is the way TH has changed its business. When I first joined back about seven years ago it felt much more like a community - a community based on trust and honesty. But they’ve made changes to expand the business and its much more of a corporate feel now, and it’s more about the money. Well, it feels that way to me.
I can’t blame them for wanting to grow but its shame that they seem to have lost something in the process.

18 Likes

I agree with you @ChristieC

I have just completed the recent survey on “Would you recommend THS” and I included this aspect

2 Likes

As a long time / almost full time sitter, I agree but I think like most things it will circle back around again.
For a while we would get denied on a sit with the explanation of, “We chose someone new to our area because I wanted to give them an opportunity to experience my city” and later we sit for them and hear them say they will always just go for the best candidate. We are definitely hearing things like “I will now only choose someone over 40”. Or, unfortunately, only someone who lives nearby.
I do believe that the quality of sits is going down- I find more cluttered homes, loads more tasks, complicated feedings. I think that has to do more with the people being overbooked and having so little time.
Like the listings that mention medication for the animal, but not how it’s given or what it’s for. Personally I’d prefer to know if we are giving chemo for an animal or a simple supplement before we apply. Though honestly with the 5 applicant limit sometimes we don’t have that luxury of reading so closely.
I also understand that someone’s routine seems easy to them, but suddenly as a new person, balancing 4 types of food and 3 pills per day is hard!

Thanks again to everyone for commenting on topic, this has more been a concern about the change in community and the way THS as a business is operating and the changes that have occurred as a result, I’m saddened yet relieved to hear from long term users that the changes are noticeable. And again this is not so much an attack on peoples character, but the way the business operates…I think a lot of us are aware that things are changing, I just haven’t seen people talking about how, exactly. But I hope the links I provided in the above comment highlight the root causes of the issues a lot of us are having.
Expansion of users and profits > community quality/user experience :frowning:

2 Likes

Yes absolutely agree @ChristieC I think you are referring to the buyout by Mayfair Equity partners…a private firm worth over a billion dollars. Also the partnership with airbnb, we can link our profiles to our sitter profiles, and we are suppose to be able to use air bnbs as a plan b if our home owners cancel. But in my experience, with my premium service plan, I was refunded twice out of 10 reservations. Getting THS to accept Airbnb invoices (bank statements, reservation confirmations etc) was actually impossible most of the time… it just seems like another seedy business tactic to extract money from the users and improve productivty. Some thing the new ceo Mathew Prior admits to on his linkedin…his interested in expansion…not a quality community experience…sad.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mathewprior/?originalSubdomain=uk
https://www.phocuswire.com/trustedhousesitters-management-buyout

1 Like

I’ve been on THS since 2016 but took a bit of a break during the Covid years. I do think something has changed. Not sure if it’s me or everyone else or both but I find I’m mostly having better experiences with local sits found on other platforms. THS isn’t worth the hassle a lot of the time. The only space THS still wins in is international sits because there is no other platform that does this quite as prolifically but I am finding myself prioritising my own experience now and while I still look for sits when I plan to travel I will just as often now make some other arrangements rather than hang my plans on the whims of someone else.

3 Likes

So sorry to hear this. I’m a new HO on the platform with limited experience, but it appears that some HO are taking advantage and THS doesn’t have the power to stop this behavior. Some type of Safety Net is required.

The safety net is the review system…. but mostly it’s down to sitters reading red flags and getting themselves educated. I read hundreds of threads here before applying for any sits- it served me very well. However a very few sitters are hopeless in life generally and of course they take their disorganisation and disposition to be careless into sitting….so HOs have to weed out the flakey ones via really good video chats.
This matching system only works as well as the people using it so there will always be outliers….vigilance and good time and people management skills is essential.

I agree with what you said. As a HO I too believe that video chats (with the best two candidates) works well for me. I use the vchat to walk about our flat, show them the dogs, where they will sleep etc. It supplements the THS profile photos and lets them ask questions in real tme. Essentially vet us as HO so we share common thoughts and approaches.

I know some sitters don’t like what seems like an interview but I use it as a way for them to be comfortable with myself and my husband and most importantly our dogs.

I too make use of the vchat to get a vibe on the sitter. Are they smiling?, do they seem enthusiastic? As for us, do we come across maybe cautious and guarded (as in they are not projecting a good compatibility? Or are we gelling and don’t want to end the chat? So maybe for the original poster it’s being even more selective and hopefully HO’s like us will find you. :two_hearts:[quote=“Makelikeanapeman, post:9, topic:50646, full:true”]

I think as communities grow you get more of this. Personally i think if the world had less people there would be less problems.

It seems that the THS community has been really growing and pet sitters anf homeonwner alike are not grasping the concept of what this exchange is about. I fault THS with that. They dont serm to be proactively adressing these problems as they grow.

I have never had a really bad experience with THS but when my husband was on the platform before me, he had 3 sits where the owners came back early and one owner who was a real ass to him. This was a couple of years ago so because he was new and wanted hood reviews, he gave the homeowners goid reviews.

I think the blind review system is set up much better now to be able to give honest reviews. But like you said, homeowners can just delete their account and create a new one. This serms like something THS should address.

Reading about bad sits may put some people off but for me it just makes me more aware. How people present themselves in their listing is so important. And now i insist on have a voice or video call with HOs just to get a feel for who they are.

We should all be vigilante to make this a better community and press THS to do the same.

Im so sorry you had bad experiences. It is awful to be trapped in a situation you are uncomfortable with or feel is dangerous.
[/quote]