i was also highly peed off with sitters when they cancelled my contract with them to babysit, because i had cancelled 8 babysitting sessions. yes yes yes that is NOT great. but did it matter that 2 of them were when my mother died? nope!
Did sitters.co.uk tell you why they would only accept payment via two specific cards? I expect they were credit cards, not debit. I do wonder why they don't take other forms of payment... Not taking AmEx is quite usual in the UK, but not taking a debit card is more unusual (when I worked in retail, debit cards cost less to process than credit cards).
I don't like the way that when you cancel (which we did when we got a nanny and then rejoined for the year we didn't have a nanny then cancelled when we got an au pair) they still take the next quarter's membership fee from your account.. they did it to us both times. And we never had the same sitter twice and most of them seemed annoyed to have to come because they lived quite far away (was when petrol prices really high). It felt as if they were under pressure not to turn down work via sitters so felt that they had to take the job. Hope you can find someone local, we found a great sitter (a granny) via the parish magazine. You could try your local gumtree.com
i used them for a bit - they were ok but not fab. had one very odd instance where the lady called to say she was on her way but never turned up and I never did get an explanation (though did get the booking fee refunded).
I had one fab sitter, one terrible one and a couple of nice but nothing special ones - and yes it was very hard to get the same person regularly. gave up the subs when it became clear that as ds' bedtime was getting a bit later he would not be tolerating random people turning up - was ok when he would be asleep and highly unlikely to wake while I was out.
was also v annoyed about the payment card issue (they don't take debit cards or Amex) and found the 4 hour minimum restricting as sometimes you just want to go out locally for a couple of hours and a responsible local teenager would be a better option for that sort of sitting need imo.
Hi Starlight-pretty sure i am near you? Sorry to hear about your experience with Sitters. I have been registered with them for years and years and not once since i signed up (1997 i think) have i had to prove any CRB checks or anything. I babysit for a few families and have a solid 12 years in Childcare. I am also Mum to two young children. Do contact me if you would like to discuss babysitting. Obviously i can provide my CRB and references.