Following the post I wrote in November about the Healing Rooms, I have now heard back from both Halifax and East Renfrewshire Trading Standards. The Advertising Standards Authority were not interested in this one and passed me on to TS.
The results are not exactly pleasing.
Halifax TS (where the Healing Rooms English HQ is) said: ‘Having examined these websites I do not consider that they contravene the provisions of the Cancer Act 1939 nor the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.’
East Renfrewshire TS said: 'In response to your complaint I can confirm the following.
East Renfrewshire Council Trading Standards do not enforce the Cancer Act 1937.
Healing Rooms have indicated that they will make amendments to the website as follows:
Include a disclaimer re not a substitute for medical advice/treatment
Ensure testaments are directly from individuals
I trust this deals with the points raised.'
Well no, not exactly.
The man from East Renfrewshire TS rang me a couple of times to discuss the complaint. He was sympathetic but explained that the laws were a little different in Scotland and that he was only allowed to act within a narrow remit of consumer protection.
He also said that it was a rather 'subjective' matter when it came to beliefs. I tried to explain the difference between evidence and faith but he said he could imagine what would happen if he took such a complain 'to the fiscal'.
The claims the Healing Rooms are making are exactly the same as those made by the Body of Christ International Ministries as I posted not long ago and the ASA did uphold a complaint against them so I don't know what went wrong here.
I'll be back.