Unfair review - how do you/would you deal with it?

I have 31 reviews as a sitter. 30 of them are 5 star and all wonderful and rosy, and my last one is 1 star - given by a home owner who booked me a second time and gave me 5 stars and a big recommendation before. We had no arguments, in my opinion everything was perfectly fine when I left, and this review came out of the blue and is untruthful.

One thing is true - there had been two little issues: (1) My chinchillas had nibbled a tiny bit on some room interiors, and (2) I tried out a switch which was underneath a light switch and looked exactly like it and only realised a few days later that I had turned off the freezer. But true is also that I discussed this with the home owners and remedied it and they responded in a friendly manner and seemed perfectly happy with the remedy when we parted. I cleaned and disinfected the freezer thoroughly, spray-painted over the nibble marks, and I honestly tried, but I bought the wrong paint which was too thin. However, I saw big buckets of white paint and other construction materials and tools in the shed, so I decided not to buy another paint, as it would be easy for the owners to just use the one from their own buckets when they came home. That’s why I left some cash with them, to compensate them for the time and material to fix this small damage, and I believed that they were happy with that and I offered that I could transfer more if they thought the damage was higher, they only needed to send me their bank details and the amount they thought fit. They never did. Instead they said, they may try to get some money from an insurance and I said I would support their claim if they needed my assistance. So I thought everything was fine between us. I even walked them through the property before I left and they praised me that everything was clean and tidy, and all their many animals looked well-cared for and happy.

Then their home insurance did not pay them, so they tried to get money from THS and sent customer service a complaint about me, but it ended up being closed. I also gave them various cat medication and accessories there which I had left from my own cat, and clipped their many cats’ nails which hadn’t been done for long and I definitely did not only the promised duties well but went well above. And then, one month later, it seems that they sadly still wouldn’t let it go, and instead of talking to me once again, they posted this 1-star review, claiming that I left their property dirty and their cats with matted furballs on their stomachs and that my chinchillas had eaten their door frames and so on. I was speechless and upset!

What would you do if something like that happened to you? Has it ever?

I slept on it and a few days later I wrote a reply, to be published underneath their review about me, where I set at least a few things straight, but it still stains my until now impeccable history and reputation. Is it at all possible to have it removed? I had left two nice and friendly 5-star reviews for these people as homeowners long before they wrote theirs and it looks like I cannot change those anymore.

Edited to meet posting guidelines.

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Waiting a few days before replying is ALWAYS a good idea :smiley:

I think calm polite factual rebuttals work best - correct any factual inaccuracies, present an alternative version where it’s a matter of opinion.

In this circumstance, it’s helpful that you had sat for them previously as it shows they obviously were happy with the first sit. And of course you have many other good reviews that show how capable you are (with multiple animals and some challenging situations!). Reasonable home-owners will know that sometimes things dont go perfectly. And you probably dont want to sit for unreasonable home-owners anyway :wink:

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I’m so sorry to hear what you went through on this sit, such a traumatic experience. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do now that their review, your feedback and your reply are published. THS will not remove them.

You did your best to try to remedy the situation. I think you have to put it to bed. I empathize with you, as I’ve been in these kinds of upsetting situations too.

Your profile says you are now on a long-term sit with cats, is that right? I’m sure you’ll do an excellent job, as you have in the past, which will result in another good review. When you are applying for sits, you might want to ask them to please read past your last review, that this HO was so pleased with your first sit that she had asked you back, that the events that took place were very out of the ordinary and that much of what she wrote came from a place of anger and did not accurately reflect the care you provided. And to please consider your credentials, your extensive experience with many different kinds of animals and your other reviews. And as you often do, apply to those sits that many of us are not qualified to do, such as small holdings and those with many or unusual animals.

Treat yourself gently. You’re a resilient person, you will be OK. Someone gave me this self-hypnosis CD years ago when I was going through a difficult time. I dug it out recently and watched it. I think it’s a treasure. Maybe you’ll find it helpful too. Amazingly, someone posted it to YouTube:

Correction: I just watched this entire video and it starts out exactly as the one I have but the theme of this one is perfect health and the theme of mine is Unstress, Be at Peace. This one is still very nice. I wonder if I’ll be able to find the De-stress one.

Found it, but you have to buy it (It’s worth it!): Watch Dick Sutphen's 'Un-stress' Video Hypnosis Online | Vimeo On Demand on Vimeo

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@Romana

Ouch! - Mistakes happen, we have had our fair share. It is a sitters nightmare and when they do happen, we hope that the home hosts will understand. and go easy on us.

The freezer sounds like it was a disaster waiting to happen and I think the home host should accept most of the responsibility for that. Had it not happened to you , it sounds as if it would have happened to some other poor sitter in the future!

The damage your own pets caused, no matter how small, I do think you have to take full responsibility. I don’t know what the condition their frames were in before your pets nibbled at them but you probably made the mistake of leaving it up to them to finish the repair. For the price of another tin of paint, it might have looked much better by the time they got to see it.

It sounds as if THS insurance did offer some compensation, do you know how much they received compared to how much they were expecting?

However, the biggest mistake you have made is your response to the review. Your response will cause much more damage to your reputation than their review ever will.

You have to remember that future hosts will be reading your response and forming a judgement of your character from it. The damage has been done, Any response you made will have no impact on the host that left you the review, only you will suffer for it now by the first impression you will give to all future hosts

THS will not remove the review but hopefully, if you ask, they may remove your response. Tell them you wrote it in the heat of the moment and in hindsight regret some of the things you said.

If they do remove it for you,( fingers crossed!) then instead, leave a very short, polite response, emphasising your apologies for the issues and the fact that you offered to put them right to the best of your ability including monetary compensation but unfortunately, your offer was not accepted.

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@Romana , I agree with @Colin . If you are able to remove your reply, you can post an alternative reply here on the forum and we’ll give you feedback to help you craft it. Good luck!!!

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@Romana I do feel for you as it does seem very unfair what they have written. I’m curious (and perhaps a moderator may be able to answer this) as to how you could get an overall 1* rating when none of the categories were given that low a rating. I believed that the overall rating was calculated by THS and not the HO.

I wholehearted agree with @Colin in relation to your response. I actually cringed when I read it as it is written in anger and now appears on your profile which other prospective owners will read. It also is the complete opposite to the glowing feedback you gave these owners, not once but twice. You obviously gave them feedback first rather than wait for their review which perhaps is what you normally do.

As Colin has suggested, it might be worth you contacting Membership Services to have it removed if possible or to at least make it less emotional.

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But if I was a homeowner, I would like to be able to see that response.

If I were Membership Services I would not remove it.

[quote=“mars, post:5, topic:40701”]
provided. And to please consider your credentials, your extensive experience with many different kinds of animals and your other reviews. And as you often do, apply to those sits that
[/quote] I don’t really understand why it was the biggest mistake? I am getting more and more the feeling that PP /HO are superior than sitters. It shouldn’t be an anwer like in a fight but as you described it,too (with an reply?) Clearing up the situation. And then of course openly talk about it while applying to next sits.

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Hello @temba I am happy to help with this one, owners can now choose the overall stars independently of the categories. Rather than the system add it up, we wanted to give members more control of their ratings. We received feedback that owners quite often wanted to give 5 starts overall, but maybe mark down some of the categories to help the sitter improve, but not affect their overall rating if THS added it up. Sadly in this case the owner has chosen to actioned in the opposite way, but at least future owners can see it’s not 1 star in every category.

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Wow, Mars, this is the most beautiful - and realistically useful - way how to deal with such a problem. Thank you for your caring and for the link. Yes, I will practice love and kindness and comfort my mind. I understand the lesson: If nothing else can be done in the outer world, at least bring your inner world to peace.

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@pietkuip We all occasionally say things in moments of upset/anger/frustration… Those rare outbursts do not give a true reflection of our character so it seems unfair if @Romana wishes, if THS will not remove her response and give her the opportunity to rewrite it in a calmer, less confrontational manner.

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Hmm… interesting to read your view, Colin, but I think that my reply - where I mentioned some of the bad things the home owners did to me - was justified and truthful and there is no fault in making clear publicly how upset I was about their review. I still think that, for the careful reader and researcher (i.e., a future host PP), the combination of their reviews and my replies, and my kind reviews for them within the package, will rather shine a good light on me and a bad light on them, and that is exactly what I wanted to achieve.

I don’t know. I saw someone who described themselves in their profile as easygoing. Then I saw several long and over-the-top responses to reviews with mild criticism. That was revealing.

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This isn’t the first example of this happening I have seen @Carla_C. Another sitter received 4* and 5* but got 1* overall. They were new sitters and the damage to their morale was great.
HO and HS should be able to give the overall rating but AFTER they have completed the category sections. Then hopefully they can see whether it is an accurate assessment. Otherwise I feel Membership Services are going to be dealing with even more dissatisfied customers. We’ve been waiting so long for the New Review System but this is going to cause issues which could easily be rectified.

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Thank you for your insights with this one @temba I’m sorry to hear that happened with those new sitters.

Even in the previous review system if someone accidentally clicks 1 star overall and that was not their intention then Membership Services would help change that. I am sure that this will still be the case going forward. But it would be good to see if it happens more or less often, so I will feed that back. Thank you :slight_smile:

Or the developers could take 30 seconds to code in a check that doesn’t allow an overall score that is less than the average of the individual scores. Then Membership Services wouldn’t have to waste their time taking care of something that can be avoided completely with a few lines of code…

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@Carla_C - you mention ‘previous review system’. Is the new system now live?

Mars, I don’t agree with Colin’s view. Why should I word a “calmer, less confrontational reply” with the help of other people, if my own reply was well thought through and honestly reflects my feelings? I like my reply. I think it is good and, for the diligent researcher, balances out the bad those homeowners did to me.

For those who haven’t read my reply: Aside of setting their untruthful claims straight, I reminded the home owners that they basically forced me to do their two sits, a short one in June and a long one in July/August, and I had put their needs above mine.
I think this is important additional information which the reader of this horrible 1* review should know, because this puts the whole drama into a different perspective!

What had happened? As a traveling full-time nomad, I had confirmed sits for the rest of the year, but in mid May, I unexpectedly went through a really tough time: Within two days, I lost my well-paying online job and my motor home broke down with irreparable damage in Germany. I had to buy a new vehicle and could not register and insure it unless I would have a registered permanent residence in Germany. The only other options would have been to either “export” it to the UK where I have a registered residence - but that would have cost me about 4,000 pounds just for the paperwork - or to buy some time until I would decide what to do, by buying an extremely expensive temporary car insurance. So I actually wanted to do the most reasonable thing and rent some flat in Germany to get a residence address here, and I asked all the home owners with confirmed sits, to please allow me to cancel the sits and find a replacement, so I could stay in Germany for a while and do my paperwork, rent a flat and find a new job. I had planned more than half a year ahead, and according to my original plan I would spend August in Norway, September in Finland, then travel along the Ukrainian border for some adrenaline rush, and then relax for the whole winter in Greece.

But without a reliable income I just couldn’t finance such extensive traveling, and I also couldn’t travel with a car which was not registered and insured.

ALL HOME OWNERS EXCEPT THE ONE WHO GAVE ME THIS BAD REVIEW understood my situation, cancelled the sits and easily found a replacement. But those ones did not. They wrote that they didn’t have any friends on that island, because they had just moved there not long ago, and that the time was too short to find a replacement and that a deal is a deal and I must come and look after their pet menagerie as agreed.

So I took up a temporary “international transfer car insurance” for three months which cost me 690 EUR (which is more than the normal payment for ONE YEAR in Germany), just to bridge the time gap during which I had to do this sit, until I could come back to Germany to restart my life.

Those homeowners did not care at all about my situation. I had offered them my friendship, but they abused it, and so I have “unfriended” them again, on Facebook and in life.

And I think that it is good that my reply to their horrible review reflects at least a little bit of my feelings. I see no need to change it.

Edited to meet posting guidelines

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@Twitcher Sorry for any confusion, no not yet!
There have just been some small feature updates along the way before the new system, one is that members can choose the number of stars to leave for the sit overall. I was referring to there has always been a small amount of accidental pressing of wrong stars, even in the category section and even before this update. We will definitely announce when the new review system goes live.

I apologise to the OP as I have helped this conversation go off track by answering these questions as well. Can we please keep it on topic and help the OP.

I’m more than happy to answer any questions so feel free to DM me or start new topics. Thank you :smiling_face:

This doesn’t help you now, of course, but you should have involved Membership Services and cancelled the sit. I’m sure they would have agreed that these were extraordinary circumstances and allowed you to cancel the sit that started two months later.

Unfortunately the way TH does cancellations gives the HO all the control and creates a great imbalance in what is supposed to be an equal relationship.

FWIW, I also agree with others who have stated that your response to the HO, while I’m sure justifiable in your mind, only has the unintended consequence of reflecting poorly on you. Sometimes we have to swallow our pride and take the higher road.

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