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Therapist says her business was almost destroyed by advertising watchdog
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

A therapist is fighting back after she says her business has been almost destroyed by rulings of the UK's advertising authority, the ASA, which used an enforcement officer who had been suspended from previous posts.

Alyssa Burns-Hill has produced a digital magazine that outlines her two-year struggle with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which had asked her to make alterations to her website.

Specifically, the ASA declared that the saliva testing she offered wasn't regulated or had been proven to work, and that she couldn't use the term 'doctor' to describe herself.

Ms Burns-Hill had argued that saliva testing is regulated, and proven in independent scientific studies, and her site had made it clear that although she has a Ph. D, she wasn't a medical doctor.

"If I had modified the site in the way the ASA wanted, I would have been guilty of fraud, and it didn't sit morally or ethically with me," she told WDDTY.

She argued her case directly with the ASA, and though her local MP John Glen and her solicitor, but its officers refused to debate the issue. Instead, they tried to enforce their ruling through a trading standards office that employed an enforcement officer who had been suspended from her previous authority. The officer threatened to raid her home, and later told Ms Burns-Hill that she would be arrested. "I really felt like ending it all at times," she said.

Although the trading office dropped the case last summer, Ms Burns-Hill says her business has dramatically declined because of all the adverse publicity the case has attracted.

Her magazine, Alyssa Spills All, can be downloaded here:

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