Liability

  peabody 20:49 07 Apr 06
Locked

If a webmaster is asked by a client to include content by a customer which is a misrepresenation regarding goods or services (in this case the proximity of amenities to a property for let), could any liability rest with the webmaster or does it rest entirely with the client?

  ade.h 21:05 07 Apr 06

It would, I think, rest with the proprietor of the website; ie, not you. Saying that, if I were in your position, I think that I would have to politely refuse to include any information that I knew to be untrue. It would be sensible to include such a clause in your T&C.

  spuds 22:35 07 Apr 06

Possibly 'Aiding and Abetting' to commit an offense, under the trade description act!.

How about installing a disclaimer?.

  Forum Editor 02:10 08 Apr 06

is subject to the same legislation as the sale of any other goods and/or services. You must not make false claims when you describe the goods/services, and to do so deliberately is a serious matter.

If you are responsible for uploading information to a web site - even though you aren't the person operating the business to which that site relates - it might be considered that you are what is called 'jointly and severally' liable for the consequences of any misleading claims made in the text, especially if it could be demonstrated that you were aware of the situation when you uplodaded the files.

My advice - provided you're absolutely sure the description is deliberately misleading - is that you tell the client you cannot in all conscience aid and abet him/her in publishing a deceptive description, knowing it to be false. It isn't going to be easy, but make the point that you're acting responsibly, and in your client's interest.

  peabody 12:22 08 Apr 06

Thanks again for all your advice and interest. It seems to me that there is sufficient risk to follow FE's advice and, basically, refuse to be a party to publishing misleading information. I'm not sure that any sort of disclaimer would stand up in court if it could be demonstrated that you knowingly published misleading information.

  Forum Editor 18:26 08 Apr 06

doesn't provide you with immunity from litigation or prosecution, so you're right - it would not stand up in court. Knowingly publish misleading information in order to induce people to buy something and you could be in deep trouble.

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