@Jaja I like your ideas.
A brainstorm idea…
Sitters can leave a review that’s public and also private comments visible only to HO (perhaps this is what others mean by the Airbnb model). As a HO I would WANT the feedback, but would not want to be publicly shamed.
In addition - sitters could leave a star rating (maybe also comments) that are visible only to other sitters
Hi @pdr the review system is in discussion and during the discussions the team will consider all member feedback the aim is to have a fair system that works for everyone. So please keep posting suggestions and ideas.
I’ve been housesitting regularly for three years and have never left a bad review up until now. There have been niggles (lack of fridge/cupboard space/desk), but never anything worth losing sleep over and the positives have always outweighed the negatives. I have always received good reviews and several HO’s have invited me back for repeat sits.
However, I will be leaving a negative review for my current HO, because my personal safety is involved. I am overseas and the HO has changed his travel plans and informed me I must leave three nights before our agreed date. Our end of sit handover arrangements were made in person , when we met at the start of the sit and I drove him to the airport. It was not documented and he had not provided me with a welcome pack, but I was not concerned at that point, as he had walked me through the house (boiler/wifi/security fence etc) and I had no reason to not trust him.
He has now changed his travel plans and I am left without accommodation at short notice. His behaviour in emails has been abusive (he wrote that I was “confrontational” and “irrational”). He has denied all knowledge of our arrangements - even saying he was not expecting me to pick him up from the airport.
The Trusted Housesitter desk have tried to help, but have told me (verbally, not in writing) that, as it is his home, there is little they can do. They have asked him to formally change the date of the sit on the platform. But that is little help to me.
I thought I was experienced at house sitting and knew what questions to ask. Unfortunately, this experience has left me feeling very stressed and vulnerable. Fortunately, I have transport and a credit card. But I would not want to put any other house sitter in this position and for that reason, I feel I have a responsibility to the community to leave a negative review.
It’s quite typical that homeowners don’t leave space for clothes, unfortunately. In some small spaces we’ve also had the problem with the cat-box stench, but not too often. It also happens quite regularly that the homeowners have a change of plans (usually they allow us to stay for the agreed time, though in one case that wasn’t possible). But definitely communication is vital, also about the dog not being trained to do it’s business outside (we’ve only had this 2-3 times, I think the owners also didn’t tell us). We have done 50+ sits, most of those didn’t have any of those problems, so we wish you some better experiences in the future!
Hi @Cookiedog I’m sorry that a negative experience in your current sit brings you to the forum on checking with Membership Services I can see that you’ve had assistance and guidance from Conor and Laura and that the dates have been amended by the owner.
I’m going to send you a Direct Message.
@cookiedog What an uncomfortable and unfortunate situation! It is definitely concerning and I support you 100% in leaving an honest review about your experience. Asking sitters to leave early - especially if/when significant travel is involved is unfair. At a minimum, the HO should have offered to pay for your accommodations. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I hope you will have extra nice sits soon to restore your confidence in sitting.
I hope that you are OK, @Cookiedog
As with everything there are 2 sides to every story. I agree wholeheartedly with you that the sitter is responsible for due diligence through questions and video chat (I ask for interior house photos as they are mostly missing and tell a tale by themselves).
On the other hand some things will not be assessable through these means like a filthy toilet brush, unclean bathroom surfaces, no room in refrigerator, washer, dryer or closet, sticky appliances, smelly litter box- all of which we have experienced.
Therefore I support a check list for owners to make it easier for sitters to spare feelings yet get the honest word out to other sitters.
Thank you for such an honest and necessary comment. I found the same thing at Airbnb. The HO write listings as if everything is tidy, clean and in place when we know it is not true. Thank you very much.
This happened to me - an owner deciding to return some days early - and they got me a nearby B&B that they paid for. I think TH ought to tell owners this is expected of them in case of early return.
There was a sit, in my past where the HO tried to manipulate and had a lot of questions like “it looks like you moved the remoter, did you drop it?” And I answered that yes, I moved it since I cleaned the dust under it.
Also, the apartment of the same sit was very dirty when I’ve arrived and I spent two days cleaning, for 5 days sit.
So I just never left feedback because I’m afraid to get a bad one back as well. So I prefer to leave it as is. The HO also never left me a review and honestly, I’m still afraid since the HO felt to be not so stable mentally. I know I did great and I did my best to make it all go perfectly well, but the HO wasn’t an easy person. He treated me mostly like I work for him
I wouldn’t recommend anyone to come sit for him and I feel bad for speaking the truth, but even a 4 stars review will affect me very badly, so I just left it without feedback at all.
So yes, no feedbacks from previous sitters is a huge red flag for any housesit.
Hi @Vered I am having the same experience as you as far as the HO “treating me like I work for her.” I am on a pet sit for a cat and the HOs are a couple. Prior to my arrival, we did a Zoom call and they seemed really nice along with their cat Lucky. They wanted me to arrive at 10 a.m. and I was under the impression that their flight was leaving at 2 p.m., but they didn’t leave the home until 2 p.m. When I arrived at 10 a.m., they went through the Welcome Guide it seemed page by page, walked me through the home, showing me how this and that worked. As I sat down in the living room, I placed my car keys on the table and the wife was explaining how precious the table was and not to place my keys there, but it was ok to place my cell phone there. Then there was the ‘don’t place anything on a keyboard’ and many other rules where it felt like ok now I see why they wanted me to arrive 4 hours in advance. And I was just taken aback by all these rules of being demanding and it wouldn’t hurt to say “please”. It is not always what one says, but how he/she says it. It seemed condescending. So yes, I feel like you, like I work for her. The husband would try to explain things to me and then the wife would chime in/interrupt on several occasions with her two cents. I went back & looked at their reviews and noticed that one was missing. Their Welcome Guide showed that they had a sitter from 2 - 19 July 2021 and there is no review from that sitter for those dates. Now I am wondering if why…perhaps he chose not to leave a bad review.
That’s horrible! I’ll bet it happens more than we know. That has happened to me on Airbnb. What can we do about it? Can TH have a private internal communication system where we can be apprised of nasty HO?
I’m sorry to hear the same story happen to more people! Did you give them a review in the end? Or did you leave it empty?
@Vered I am currently still on the pet sit which ends on Monday, Nov 29. I will leave honest feedback. The first time I sent the HOs photos / short video of the cat, they came back undeliverable. At first I thought it may be on my end, but it turned out that it was the wife’s phone that could not receive anything. She responded that she couldn’t receive anything because her phone was full, tried telling me that I should not send anything over a certain length, and to just send everything to her husband. The sit itself is going well; I love spending time with the cat who is just about the sweetest and easy to care for. The husband is great; the wife I can take or leave. I won’t say that in my review, but it will be as such whereby fellow sitters can read between the lines.
Have you ever encountered a sit whereby you like one HO, but not the other and you love the animal?
Yes, it actually happened XD
We are new to house sitting and our first experience last week was exactly like this, a mouldy damp bedroom, absolutely filthy, stale air, it was truly awful. We used another house sitting site for that sit so it wasn’t from here, but we wrote an email to the company and they told us that we could leave if it wasn’t clean warm and safe. Their heating was broken in the bedroom too so it was absolutely freezing as well as being very dirty. They have left us a lovely review including the comment that they returned to a beautifully clean house (because we cleaned it ) and they have also messaged us asking for feedback so we feel we must be honest, however awkward it will be and that we might offend them, it is only fair to future sitters.
Hi @adamas welcome to our community forum and to TrustedHousesitters having a sit which doesn’t live up to expectations can be disappointing it has happened to others too, including myself, however it has done nothing to dampen my love for the lifestyle we enjoy, it does help us choose and prepare for sits in a way which suits on every personal level and giving honest feedback on our experiences can be beneficial to everyone in the community.
Enjoy being here on the forum and connecting with members from around the world.
Thank you for being honest with your HO. I have encountered HOs here who beg for a sitter and when I look at their photos, their houses are cluttered. It is hard to see if it is dirty, but where there is cluttered there is a strong likelihood of dirt.
I would say that most sitters would feel that a bad review might impact their future invitations to sits. The obvious choice, would be for THS to have a separate rating system for HO available for sitters. This might become a problem though, as there are sitters who are also homeowners. I didn’t go into doing this to only get big, beautiful houses, and have had some fairly meager accommodations, but there is no excuse for being filthy. I would point out to, that because THS is a business and owners might fear bad reviews on HO to be a possible loss of revenue. After all, a bad HO that cannot get a sitter is less likely to rejoin. As a former pediatric home health nurse (which is very similar to what we do in petsitting in many ways), I could usually rely on other nurses to give me a heads up if there was something about a particular case that would make it difficult and/or undesirable. The office staff wouldn’t tell us, because they just wanted to fill the shifts. However, we were all local, so with sitters spread all over the world, there needs to be something. Perhaps a private Facebook group for THS sitters where we can be TOTALLY honest, and potential members be screened? I would say it would be sitters only, no dual membership people. Just a thought.