The dictionary definition of a Disclaimer is a statement that denies something, in most cases a responsibility. Hence, a disclaimer is a statement that limits the liability of a person from certain actions. Today, an average individual visits around 10 websites per day. When you visit a website, at first glance you will look at the impressive design, engaging content and the knowledge that you want from the website. However, in most cases, you will come across a tiny box titled “Website Disclaimer”. Besides, you will get complete access to the website only after you acknowledge the website disclaimer.
Many users are in haste and usually avoid reading the disclaimer policies of the website thoroughly. However, for online business owners, a disclaimer policy is a boon that helps in limiting their liabilities from the actions of the audience they attract. Online business owners can get website disclaimer policy template easily online. However, it is vital that the business owners also understand what it entails for their portal. Through this article, let’s dive into the concept of website disclaimer policies and their importance.
What is a disclaimer on a website?
A disclaimer is a part of the many website policies for online business owners. In the most simple terms, it is a legal statement that will help the business avoid unnecessary third-party liability. You can protect yourself from the claims of the users of your blog or website by providing a clear, concise and effective disclaimer for website content.
Why is a website disclaimer important?
The best way to understand the importance of website disclaimer is through an example. Let’s get started.
David is a fitness trainer who recently launched an online fitness coaching website. On this portal, he provides workout routines, nutritional advice, and health tips. One fine day, Alexis stumbles upon his website and reads an article about a workout routine that helps in losing weight.
Alexis starts to follow this routine. However, while carrying out the workout, Alexis manages to injure herself. She believes that the injury is an outcome of the advice David posted on the blog related to the workout regime. Hence, she decided to take legal action against David for negligence on his part. Luckily enough, David has a very effective disclaimer policy on the website that is easily accessible. It states “The content provided on this website is only for educational and informational purposes. It does not intend to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.” Further, the disclaimer also advises to seek professional advice from nutritionists and physicians before carrying out any routines.
Alexis, like most users, may have skipped reading the disclaimer before actually proceeding. However, this disclaimer policy on website content will help David protect himself in the following manners:
By giving a warning
The disclaimer explicitly states that the content on the website is only for informational purposes. Acting on the information David provided was at the sole discretion of Alexis. This will help in mitigating the risk of ‘negligence’ on David’s part.
User Responsibility in website disclaimer
The disclaimer policy also states that the user must seek professional advice before acting on the information provided on his portal. This shifts the responsibility to Alexis to consult her physician. Since Alexis could only access the portal after acknowledgement of the disclaimer, she cannot claim to be unaware of this fact.
Through the disclaimer for website content, David clarifies his intention of providing informational content on his portal. This is the most crucial fact that will help David in mitigating the liability.
Through this example, you can understand how a disclaimer policy can help in setting clear boundaries, reducing potential liability, and indicating the intention of an online business.
Interesting Note: These are also the reasons why the users must be careful and read the disclaimers on the website before accessing it.
Key components of a Disclaimer Policy for website
Adding the following components to a website disclaimer will make it effective for all types of online businesses:
No Warranties and Guarantees
You must explicitly mention that you do not provide any guarantee or warranties regarding the accuracy or reliability of the content on your website.
Change in Information
Since this is the age of development, you must mention that there are chances the information on your website might get outdated.
This is one of the most important components of the website disclaimer. Here, you need to mention that the information you provide on your portal must not be construed as professional advice.
If your website provides any information or links to a third party, then you need to limit your liability from the usage of such third-party content. This also includes user-generated content.
You can link your terms and conditions to this part of the disclaimer, which will provide easy access to the users. Further, make the users aware of their responsibilities while using the website.
Here you need to claim ownership of your unique website content. You can also refer to it as a copyright disclaimer.
Pro Tips for drafting a Website Disclaimer
- Ensure that the disclaimer is easily accessible;
- It must be free of jargon;
- Keep it clear, simple and precise;
- Implement industry-specific laws; and
- Get it reviewed by a legal professional.
In conclusion, a website disclaimer policy is a vital tool in protecting any online business from liabilities arising from someone else’s actions. Whether you’re an e-commerce store, an online blogger, a holistic wellness provider, an online consultant or more, it is important to safeguard your rights from unnecessary claims.