Complaint upheld against homeopath who said she could treat symptoms of autism

Advertising Standards Authority rules against Almond Homeopathy over Facebook post

A complaint against a homeopath who posted on Facebook that she could treat the symptoms of autism has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland.

Almond Homeopathy had said “more and more children” are being diagnosed on the autism spectrum every day – with some predictions saying it would reach 50 per cent by 2032.

“I have the pleasure of meeting and working with many children diagnosed with ASD and the greater pleasure and joy of helping them overcome many of their symptoms that were holding them and their families back from getting the most out of life,” the social media post claimed.

It linked to a blog about a young boy called Christian whom she had helped, under the heading “Big Autism Improvement”.

A complaint filed to the authority objected to the claim the advertiser could alleviate the condition’s symptoms.

Qualified homeopath

“The complainant noted that the blog linked to from the post contained a case history of a patient but there was no mention of the advertiser being authorised to do so. The complainant considered that the advertiser was not professionally qualified to treat such a condition,” the authority reported in its latest round of adjudicated cases on Thursday.

The respondent from Almond Homeopathy said she was a qualified homeopath, registered with the Irish Society of Homeopaths.

She said she did not diagnose conditions but used people’s symptoms to decide upon the best course of treatment.

“She said that she treats the person not their condition or disease and that she did not claim to be able to cure anything or anyone. She said that she used previous cases to illustrate what symptoms and struggles can be helped,” the authority noted.

The advertiser had permission for all cases that appeared on her blog, she said, and that names were changed.

In its decision, the authority upheld the complaint because it felt “the wording of her post and the heading of the blog post would give readers the impression that she could treat the symptoms of Autism”.

Volkswagen Ireland’s ‘service promise’

A separate case, also upheld, reprimanded Volkswagen for making promises to customers who were having their cars serviced that it could not deliver on.

Part of Volkswagen Ireland’s “service promise” to “help you get on with your life” included the offer of replacement cars, a pick up and drop off service for the owners’ car and even lifts to and from work.

“Just tell us which you’d prefer and we’ll sort it out,” it pledged.

However, a vexed owner complained that he had had trouble availing of any of the options after booking his car in for a service with his local dealer.

He queried the matter with Volkswagen Ireland directly and was told it was up to individual dealers whether they participated in the Service Promise or not. His complaint of misleading advertising was upheld.

The authority also upheld complaints over misleading advertising by Mercedes Benz, Bucas and Trivago.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times