FAQ

What is the Freecouch4Fans Community?

#Freecouch4fans (#FC4F) was created to bring affordability and to keep real fans into the game.

Fans would host each other during any regular or casual sport events, whether it is professional or amateur. Not only is it an affordable way to continue living your passion but it also decuples the experience as it allow fans from all over the world to exchange around their passion and connect.

 

How did we come up with Freecouch4Fans ?

We followed with great interest fans’ initiative that blossomed during games like Dortmund vs Monaco in April 2017 with #BedsForAwayFans after a terrorist attack to help stranded supporters to find a place where to spend the night.

Or in Kiev for the Champions League Final Liverpool vs Real Madrid with #FreeKyivCouch4Fans where hospitality providers or airbnb hosts have multiplied their prices up to 100x fold and even cancelled previous reservations made to increase their prices.

This triggered a thought process of how such actions could be leveraged and structured around a community to answer an unmet and well needed need.

 

Is this safe? (Personal Security)

You are responsible for your own personal security during all interactions with members, when you accept guests into your own home, or when you visit another member’s home as a guest. Freecouch4Fans does not control or participate in any of these interactions, so you alone must decide what is reasonable in your circumstances.

  • Freecouch4Fans provides a way for members to meet and share hospitality, and provides information about members that they themselves provide or other members provide about them. But we do not have any way to vouch for the good intentions or the identity of any member.
  • You alone are responsible for your security and safety. Use your good sense.
  • You choose how much information to post on your profile. You may include or omit your phone number; you may include or omit most parts of your address and location.
  • You are under no obligation at any time to invite anyone to your home. Even if they show up at your door after you’ve invited them, and you change your mind, you can find other alternatives, like having them camp on a lawn, or escorting them to a hostel.
  • If you’re uncomfortable with having strangers visit you, or with staying with strangers, a hospitality network like this might not be for you. That’s OK.

 

Fundamentals

 

How do you find and request hospitality? (Searching for members)

After logging in, visit the main page and either go down the list, the grid or move around the map (it’s a regular Google map).

You can use the search capabilities on the left side.

  • Search by sport or team
  • Search by location:
  • Start typing the first part of the name of the town or province and wait for the site to autocomplete. Then select from the list of towns.
  • Click the “map” button to go to the selected place or
  • Click the “list” button to get a list of members in order of distance from the center of the location you speci

After finding a prospective host, visit their profile page and contact them using the “Contact” button on the right side of their profile page. Please make sure to read the entire page first, to make sure that the host fits your needs and you fit the host’s preferences.

 

What are the rules of the Freecouch4Fans community?

Well, we don’t have very many rules, but there are a few.

  1. The member information on this site is to be used only for members to contact each other about hospitality, and not for any other purpose. People have graciously given their information for the purpose of arranging hospitality. (No B&B’s or commercial hostels, no commercial uses at all. Thanks.)
  2. The FC4F platform is for hospitality for private individuals (or couples or very small groups) passionate about sports. Please don’t use it for other types of hospitality.
  3. Please keep your information up-to-date, and please be responsive. Every freecoucher deserves to expect at least a response from each host contacted. If your information is out of date or you are not responsive, it can be very frustrating for a freecoucher.
  4. Please log into the site at least once every year and check your informationWe request that you log into the site at least once every year to check your information and update it.
  5. When seeking hospitality you should contact prospective hosts in advance. And if your plans change please let your host know as soon as possible. Do not make arrangements with a host and then fail to keep your agreement, unless you contact them, of course.
  6. Hosts are not allowed to require any paymentfor the hospitality that they offer other Freecouch4Fans Guests may help out of course; you can fix a meal, bring some beer, or some small gift that might please your host,
  7. Businesses (hotels, B&B’s, etc.) may not use the site for promotional purposes or charge members for the hospitality that they offer.
  8. Say “no” to any hosting request if you’re uncomfortableor for any other reasons. For example, if you request notice, and someone calls you on the spur of the moment, just say “sorry, I have to have some notice, as it says on my account”.
  9. Minors are not allowed to use the site. Sorry, for legal and liability reasons, you must be 18 years or age or older to use the site.
  • Our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy are presented as separate pages. You may want to read them. The Terms of Use emphasizes that you alone are responsible for the choices you make when using Freecouch4Fans, and that Freecouch4Fan has no way to guarantee your experience with any guest or host.

 

What are the responsibilities of a host?

  • Please respond to contacts from members in a timely manner, whether you choose to host them or not.
  • When contacted by a member for hospitality, read their profile and recommendations and decide whether you want to offer hospitality (you are under no obligation to offer hospitality!) Note that the link to the contacting member’s profile will be in the email you receive from the site.
  • If you decide to offer hospitality, continue the contact with the member to make specific arrangements, and give them additional contact and location details if necessary.
  • Always provide feedback after any visit from a guest. This builds trust in the community. Normally it will be positive, but if it’s neutral or negative, please provide it anyway.

 

What are the responsibilities of a guest?

  • Before contacting a prospective host read their listing and profile carefully. Be aware of the hospitality that they offer as well as any restrictions that they may have. Read their recommendations to see what others have said about them.
  • Show up at the agreed-upon location as you have discussed with the host. If you can’t, please contact them as soon as you can. (No-shows have been a consistent complaint from hosts, and do damage to our hosting community.)
  • Ask the host what your responsibilities are as a guest. Are you expected to fix a meal? How long are you allowed/expected to stay?
  • Guests should generally figure out some way to be responsive to the host’s kind hospitality… bringing a beer, fixing a meal, telling good stories, bringing along something about your local team like a scarf or anything you might deem appropriate
  • Always provide feedback (and thanks) to hosts in the “Public Discussion” section on their listing. Note that although it’s unusual, feedback may be neutral or negative. Your honest feedback helps build trust in the community.

 

I’m a Freecoucher. Why aren’t hosts inviting me to stay with them?

If you’re contacting hosts but it seems you’re never getting an invitation to stay with them, take a look at your profile and think about improving your initial contact message. Do you have a clear profile picture? Does your profile describe you well and provide details about your trip? Do you have feedback? If you don’t yet have feedback, it’s critical to leave feedback when you do get an opportunity to stay with a host, and hopefully you’ll build up your reputation that way. In your initial contact, make sure to give details like how many people are traveling, their names, a bit about your trip or goal, and exactly when you plan to arrive (if possible). Let them know alternate means of contacting you (like your phone number).
Make sure you read the host’s profile before contacting them, so you know that your contact is appropriate.
If you’re contacting by phone, make sure to identify yourself clearly and give your username on Freecouch4Fans so they can read your profile. It’s a nice touch to ask them if they want to call you back after reading your profile and feedback.
If you’re not getting replies from hosts, check the above.

 

What should I put in my profile?

Use the “About you” section to tell your personal story. If you’re hosting, what’s special about your accommodations? What sports do you like the most and what is the team(s) you support ? Any incredible experience you have lived you would like to share with people? What would you like to share with people? Information like this can help prospective hosts or guests decide if you would be a good fit or not.

For most people a profile picture is very important. It does not have to be a picture of you, but can be a picture of your house or town.

You do not have to disclose your street address or phone numbers, but if you are hosting, the map should indicate where guests would stay within a reasonable distance.

 

I’m a host. Why don’t I get any requests to stay with me?

Check these things: Do you have a profile picture? Does your profile say something about you so prospective guests know if you might be a good “fit”? Does your responsiveness show that you generally reply to requests?

All that said though, there are lots of areas with huge numbers of hosts and very few bike travelers. A number of larger cities fit into this category. It’s just a mismatch that will never be solved.

 

Account Features

 

How do I provide feedback about a host or guest?

Please leave a feedback related to the listing you want to provide a review to in the “Public discussion” section.

 

Why don’t I get email notifications when a message is sent to me?

In your account sub menu you have the chance to enable or disable all notifications sent to you. Please have a look if this is correctly set up.

If you are still experiencing trouble, send us a note using the contact form.

 

Changing your account

 

How do I change my password?

Click on your profile on the top right drop down menu and hit “settings”. Then click on the “Account” sub menu on the left. You will then find at the bottom of the page a “Change” button in the “Password” sub section.

 

I keep trying to update my information but it doesn’t get updated

Make sure you have clicked “Post Listing”. Or maybe there was an error – look for the popup message telling you that. If you accidentally don’t complete the state/province or country, zipcode, etc., your submission won’t be accepted. Please read the error message and fill in the required fields. If you’re still having trouble, send us a note using the contact form.

 

How do I delete my account?

Click on your profile on the top right drop down menu and hit “settings”. Then click on the “Account” sub menu on the left. You will then find at the bottom of the page a “permanently delete my account” button.

 

Account problems

 

I signed up, but never got the validation email

Most likely the email went into your spam or bulk mail folder. Please look there first and search all your mail for mail from Freecouch4Fans. If you don’t find it, please send a note to us using the contact form

 

I can’t remember my password or my username, or I just can’t seem to log in
If you get ” Login failed. Please enter the correct credentials.” when you try to log in, you can get a one-time login link mailed to you by visiting the Forgot username or password page. Here you can enter your email address. It will send you an email with a link that you can click on to log in – and then change your password.

This one-time login link may land in your spam folder, so look there.

 

I’m sure I was a member but can’t log in now, and somebody told me I don’t show up any more

If you find that you can’t log in, try getting a password reset email sent to your address. Just visit the Forgot username or password page and enter your email.

 

Website Tools

 

How does the website map work?

The map interface is easy to use once you know all the things you can do with it.

  • Click anywhere on the map and drag it around to change locations.
  • Use the control panel on the left to do several things, including zooming in and out and as another way to move left or right on the map.
  • Click on a marker to get a summary of a host’s information
  • Double-click anywhere on the map to center the map at that point. You can then zoom in based on the center point you selected.
  • You can do all these things even while the markers are loading.

It’s fun to just move around the map and see where hosts are. You can zoom out and see all of Europe or Australia, for example.

A Freecoucher looking for potential hosts might drag the map to a particular area of interest and then zoom in to the right level to see where the hosts might be. Zooming in on a particular host can often show the exact location of the host.

 

My geographic location doesn’t show up correctly on the map.

First, please make sure that all your address information is correct in your listing by clicking on “Edit your listing”. If you have provided at least a partial address, particularly with the postal code, that will usually give an approximate (and sometimes very accurate) location.

If that doesn’t do it, please set your own location on the map. Click directly on the map to set your exact location and then press the “Post listing” button.

 

Mobile web app for the iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone

We currently do not have native apps but have a work for all devices web app. Just type in the website’s address to access it on any mobile device.

 

Other Questions

 

What if I have suggestions or ideas about how the site should work?

Send them on! We want this to be a great resource! Send your thoughts to us using the contact form. Also, please suggest your own entries to this FAQ.

 

I can’t host right now or in the foreseeable future. Is that OK?

You have currently two options while we work on improving the website, either click on “Close the listing” when displaying your listing, or leave it open but decline requests you receive in the meanwhile.

This is currently the beginning of our journey and we would improve the user experience as soon as possible.

 

I found a bug or mistake in the site.

Please let us know about all problems you have with the site. We’re working hard to improve it. Please send a note via the contact form with errors you encounter, problems you have, etc.

 

Can I translate the site into my own language?

The platform is currently translated into 2 languages, French and English.

You can otherwise use translation functionalities embedded into your browser with a right click or translation websites.

We welcome all help from the Freecouch4fans community to help us to add a new language on our website.

 

I’m using a library or internet cafe. How do I log out so others can’t use my account?

When using the site in a public place, please click “log out” at the top of the screen in your account drop down menu when you’re done using the site

 

What if I have a problem with a FreeCouch4Fans host or guest?

  1. Please try to sort out whether the problem is one of miscommunication or cultural difference. If that’s what it is, please move on.
  2. If you think that other hosts or guests should be aware of the member’s situation, please leave feedback in the in the Public discussion section.
  3. If the situation involves serious misbehavior (theft, sexual misbehavior, etc.), please let us know the facts of the situation by using the contact form. We will ask you for specific factual details of your experience and ask the other party for their view. In serious cases we can post an administrative feedback (anonymous for you) on the member’s account, or delete the accused member’s account, if that is warranted.
  4. If the situation involves criminal behavior, please immediately inform your local legal authorities. Call the police.

 

Can I have two listings for two homes?

Sure, all you have to do is to post 2 listing on our platform.