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Does Your Website Need A Disclaimer?

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A website disclaimer, something like a shortened version of the terms and conditions, serves as a legal notice to users of the web services or website. A disclaimer discloses any unknown business relationships of the website to the user before the user can use its service. This ensures that the liability of your website is limited in terms of information or content being true or up to date for a user that might want to use such information. Sometimes information changes over time, what was once true now might not be (like a statistic or government policy) and if you fail to update information, a disclaimer would protect a website against damages suffered by an individual from relying on such information.

A disclaimer serves as a contract between the website owner and each user, making the user contractually and legally bound to the agreement. Though it isn’t a necessity, all websites should consider the use of disclaimers on their web pages considering that a disclaimer can be used as a legal defense. A disclaimer can be easily drawn up, but it should be clear, not vague and not subject to interpretation so as to mislead or cause confusion.


The strength and quality of a disclaimer are related to the content of the disclaimer and the way it is organised. Simply copying another company or website’s disclaimer doesn’t usually fulfill all the purposes it was set out for. In the process of saving a few rupees, a website will incur major damages because a copied disclaimer would be legally ineffective. The content of a website determines the legal risks that may arise during the course of operation. A website disclaimer is needed for articles or content posted online because the owner of the site or a third party may not agree with the information. Thus a blogger or a content writer can limit their liability by putting a disclaimer in their article.


It is not just the content of the disclaimer on your website that is important but, also the location of the disclaimer that is quintessential to a disclaimer carrying out the purpose it was intended for. If the location of a disclaimer on a website is hidden or difficult to find, it is the same as not having a disclaimer at all, which is pointless. A disclaimer should be the first thing that should pop up on a website or a disclaimer portal upon accepting leads you to the original site. This will make the user or website visitor read the disclaimer before making use of a website or the information on it.

Purpose Of Collecting Data

A website has to state the information of the user collected and the purpose of collecting such data in the disclaimer. Countries might require that such data be shared with offices of the government. Disclaimers on such websites usually state that  “we gather your information to evaluate how users use a site so we may improve it.” Users in most cases are concerned with what information is being collected, the purpose of collecting data and who has access to such data. Security of data in India still has some flaws that need to be meted out. On several occasions websites have shared visitor information to other third-party companies to make marketing or sales decisions without informing the customer. A customer whose information has been shared without informing the customer through a disclaimer can take up legal proceedings against the website.

Technical Issues

Even the best companies may experience server downtime or other technical difficulties such as not accepting payments, failure to access content, etc. In order for a website to protect its interests in the event of a technical issue that may arise, a disclaimer should state that ‘services may be interrupted’ or ‘subject to technical difficulties’. In addition, rates may be variable or a free service becomes a charged service for certain online companies. A mention should be made in the disclaimer about the same and that the company’s change in rates or issue of service  is not error-free or uninterrupted.

Third-Party Sites

A disclaimer is required when a link is posted to another website or is referred to in your content. Generally, when another website or its content is quoted by a website, the quoting website has little to no influence over, nor does it review the quoted content and whether if changes had been made. A website, by putting a disclaimer, negates any liability or defamation that may arise from misrepresentation or unintended representations from third party sites being linked on a website.

Body Of Authority

A disclaimer can also make a choice of which state within a country which would address any legal dispute that arises from the use of a website’s services or information. For example, Company X has a disclaimer that states: “all legal proceedings against company X will be carried out in the Karnataka High Court”, and if any person wants to sue the website of company X, he can only do so at the court mentioned in the disclaimer.


A website may use software and programs for security purposes by monitoring and  tracking data. A point in the disclaimer that mentions the website is collecting and tracking user information for security purposes will allow the website to do so rightfully upon user consent. Violation of this clause in a disclaimer is subject to the law in the case of security breach found by the website. A person that attempts to infiltrate or change any information or cause legal damages to the website will be held liable up to the extent of the damages caused.

Some Of The elements Included In A Disclaimer Are:

  1. Ask visitors to submit a formal/informal inquiry and obtain permission before using or acting on any information obtained from the website.
  2. Protection of intellectual property rights and trademarks, if any.
  3. Mention that information on the website is of general nature, and must not be taken as advice.
  4. Testimonials do not constitute a warranty, guarantee or prediction.
  5. A waiver of the right to sue in case of infringement on information or language.
  6. The visitor assumes all risks associated with viewing and using content or information from the website.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of disclaimers being used by a website:

  1. An instruction manual for losing weight may be put up online with different exercise techniques. By chance, an individual did not obtain desired results or an individual hurts himself after following said exercise techniques. With a disclaimer on the web page stating that ‘the site is not liable for any damages or results not obtained’, and ‘results may vary from individual to individual’.
  2. A sports drink that sells online may make an absurd claim that their drinks make people fly or gives you superhuman strength. In most cases, we know it’s not true and is false advertising. If a company has not put a disclaimer, then any individual that feels the company has not delivered can sue the company for making false claims.
  3. A video published on a website would generally contain a disclaimer about the results obtained, suitable audiences to watch the video, viewer discretion is advised, etc. This would protect the website against any damages because the video put out information that  the viewer agreed to before the viewer watched the video.

How To Get A Disclaimer?

With the rising importance of online businesses and the legal implications of not having a disclaimer, most successful businesses have a well laid out disclaimer to tackle each problem that a website might face. Get in touch with us to see what other services we offer such as vendor agreements or designer agreements.

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