A website for Harley St. Therapy www.harleysttherapylondon.co.uk, seen on 30 March 2021, included a heading which stated “Harley St. Therapy”, “Counselling, Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy” and “Billericay, Essex & Harley Street, Marylebone, London”. Further down the web page, text stated “My name is Emma Louise Taylor and I offer Relational Transactional Analysis (TA) Psychotherapy & Counselling in Billericay, Essex and London”. Towards the bottom of the page, text stated “I adhere to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Code of Ethics and am a member of this organisation”.
The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), who said that Emma Louise Taylor was not a member of their organisation, challenged whether the ad breached the Code.
Emma Louise Taylor said that she was not aware that her membership had lapsed and had contacted the BACP about renewing her membership.
The ASA considered consumers would interpret the claim “I adhere to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Code of Ethics and am a member of this organisation” as an indication that Ms Taylor was a member of the BACP.
We understood that Ms Taylor had contacted the BACP about renewing her membership with them. The BACP, however, confirmed that they had not received an application to re-join their organisation as a member.
Because we understood Ms Taylor was not a member of the BACP, we concluded the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.50 3.50 Marketing communications must not display a trust mark, quality mark or equivalent without the necessary authorisation. Marketing communications must not claim that the marketer (or any other entity referred to), the marketing communication or the advertised product has been approved, endorsed or authorised by any public or other body if it has not or without complying with the terms of the approval, endorsement or authorisation. and 3.51 3.51 Marketing communications must not falsely claim that the marketer, or other entity referred to in the marketing communication, is a signatory to a code of conduct. They must not falsely claim that a code of conduct has an endorsement from a public or other body. (Endorsements and testimonials).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Emma Louise Taylor not to claim in future ads that she was a member of BACP or other bodies of which she was not a member.