TrustedHouseSitters, an alternative view
I struggle with complaining, don’t get me wrong, I do it when needed but often feel gut wrenching anxiety as soon as I have. UGH! I shouldn’t you know. It is perfectly ok to complain about substandard service, as long as you are respectful and open with it. So here is me getting my complaint off my chest in a healthy respectful way, which I will also be copying to trading standards.
When we were planning our trip we looked at all sorts of things to do to be able to prolong our travels and one of them was house and pet sitting. We decided to sign up to Trusted Housesitters who proudly proclaim they were voted most trusted UK online business in 2014 (having looked at the competition and not recognised any of them not such a hard win it seems but at the time I did not know this).
First signs were not good, the registration fee is a not insignificant £79 and immediately we noticed how antiquated the website is. Among its many issues, the search function lost our search dates and location every time you looked at a sit and tried to go back to the results, hair pullingly frustrating. At the time I saw a tweet from them about how many more sitters they were signing up and I responded I hoped they would sort the site out before taking more people’s money, “in process” apparently – no sign of that yet.
Once you’ve signed in you get the same pop up notice every time, telling you about your new message area, click to close, funnily enough having logged in more than once I am pretty sure I know where the stupid messaging centre is. And I say stupid descriptively, as it seems we were not actually being sent our messages, which meant we missed a sitting. Travelling often means using unsecure wifi so we make sure not to enter any passwords whilst on it, we would have received the emails automatically to our phones had they been sent to us. Once they finally responded it took about two weeks for Trusted House Sitters to rectify the problem.
We had looked at the site before we left the UK but you can only see so much having not paid, and it made no sense to pay before we left as we had the first few months of travel mapped out and most sits seem to be at less than a month’s notice. But once we joined we saw immediately that they recommend getting a criminal reference check to up your chances of getting sits. Something that even though no criminal record, was now impossible for us to do while travelling, fantastic!
But that’s ok we knew we had great references so some two months ago now, we went through their online process to send out reference requests. Most however did not receive them and after repeated attempts I was advised to get them emailed in. Only for them to refuse it as soon as received because it needed to come on their form. Oh you mean the form that does not work and does not get received by everyone and more likely is not even being sent? AND YES WE HAVE CHECKED THE SPAM FOLDER. *deep breathe*
At the beginning of all this, and fully aware of the sites IT limitations, my mum, who has 2 cats and would like to travel to us rather more frequently than she’s comfortable asking her neighbours to cat sit for, wanted to sign up and Trusted House Sitters have just the thing, I could refer her and she would get 20% off and we would get 2 free months. Awesome. Except the email from the site never went to her, any of the 5 or so times I attempted to send it to her, ARGHHH.
It’s a great idea and seems to have great sitters, it is just a shame that their website and customer service do not live up to the hype. So really feeling more than a little let down I have asked for a full refund. To be told that I am beyond the 7 day cooling off period. Funnily enough so are all of the issues above.
Just because something or someone says they are trustworthy, does not make it so, lesson well learned Xx
23rd September UPDATE: TrustedHouseSitters have offered us a full refund and let us know they are planning lots of upgrades to the site within the coming months. hopefully at some point in the future we will be able to rejoin and use it successfully, as I said, it is a great idea.