Your Website Trilogy of Legal Documents: Creating Trust, Legal Protection and Compliance ~ Part III: Bulletproofing Your Website ~ Harnessing the Power of DisclaimersJul 18, 2023
Website Disclaimers - What Are They?
The third key document you need for your website is a Disclaimer. Like website terms and conditions, disclaimers are not legally required in the way that website privacy policies are, but disclaimers play an important role in legally protecting you and your online business. Disclaimers help manage the expectations of your visitors and customers about the limitations of the content, products and services you are providing. Every business owner, online business owners included, should take steps to ensure that they are providing accurate and complete information to their customers. However, there are limits to what you can guarantee for your visitors and customers and you’ll want to ensure that you’ve explained these limitations in your website disclaimer. If you have professional training, certifications or licenses, you’ll likely want your website visitors to know that their interactions with you on your website do not create professional relationships with you, unless that is what you are intending.
Essential Elements of Website Disclaimers
Here are some of the key categories of provisions to consider including in your website disclaimer document.
Content is Educational and Informational:
Tell your visitors your content, both free and paid, is for informational and educational purposes only.
Identify Specific Disclaimers:
Every business will need different specific disclaimers within the website disclaimer document. In addition to stating that you are not providing professional advice, you may need to also let your website visitors know they are not receiving medical or health advice, legal advice, financial advice, tax advice or other kinds of specific professional advice.
Be clear with your visitors and customers about the nature of your relationship. If you are not creating a 1:1 relationship with your course or program, inform them that this is the case. If you are providing 1:1 services, be clear about the boundaries of your services, or where your customers can learn more about these boundaries.
Your disclaimer should help your visitors and customers understand the role their effort plays in achieving particular results and that they are accepting responsibility for their decisions.
Earnings and Testimonials Disclaimer:
Your disclaimer should inform your customers that successes achieved by other customers does not guarantee they will meet with similar success and that your testimonials may not be typical of results generally achieved by your customers.
Affiliates and Referrals:
If you participate in affiliate marketing, advise your visitor and customers that they may link from your website to sites outside of your control and they have a duty to do their own independent investigation of third-party programs.
Disclaim Warranties and Limit Liability:
Your website disclaimer should disclaim any warranties and set limits on your liability.
Provide a contact at your organization if anyone has questions about your website disclaimer.
Refresh and update your disclaimer from time to time. Like your other website documents, be sure to check in if you make changes to your business’ offerings or your services.
Link Up Your Other Policies:
Each of your website policies should contain links to your other policies. Your policies should work together and not conflict with one another. By keeping each of your website policies in separate documents, you make your visitors aware of the different categories of policies you have on your website and make it easier for your visitors to locate your policies.
Your Website Disclaimer is The Third Leg of Your Website Protection