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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    December 27th, 2005
    Affiliate's Liability?

    I just wanted to ask this question since I am thinking of creating another site. I have never had a site that displays products that are for a more personal nature such as skin care, etc. My question is just what, if any, liabilities do we as affiliates have in situations like this.

    What if someone becomes ill from using one of the products and sues the company that they purchased from. Do they have any legal way to also come after me?

    I definitely plan on having the typical disclaimer (all products are purchased from the actual merchant, etc, etc) but it that enough?


  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    January 17th, 2005
    I remember thinking about this when I started affiliate marketing, but couldn't find any instance of an affiliate being sued for any product related problem. Affiliates are basically just an advertising medium (if someone got sick from a fast food burger, would they sue the billboard co. that advertised it?)

    On the other hand, anybody can be sued for about any reason. An affiliate that lies or exaggerates about a product might be asking for trouble.

    Some people will say, form an LLC and that will solve all your worries. (not sure about that).

    I'm not a lawyer.... better to ask one to be sure. )

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    September 20th, 2005
    I am of the personal opinion that NO form of business (Scorp, Ccorp, LLC) will save you from being personally liable. It is very easy for another company to decide to sue your company and you personally.

    I don't believe honest affiliates hold any liability at all .
    This response was masterly crafted via the fingers of Patrick Allmond who believe you should StopDoingNothing starting today.
    Focus Consulting is where I roll | Follow @patrickallmond on Twitter
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  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager adambha's Avatar
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    October 20th, 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by patrick24601
    I am of the personal opinion that NO form of business (Scorp, Ccorp, LLC) will save you from being personally liable. It is very easy for another company to decide to sue your company and you personally
    This is half true. Any operating structure to limit your liability will face the possibility of 'piercing the corporate veil.' If you don't follow all of the nit-picky details you probably will end up liable. With an S-Corp, if everything is in order from a true board of directors, bylaws, minutes of all meetings, written resolutions for any corporate action, you will be fine.

    In this case, if you are personally named in the suit, unless you were doing anything criminal or fraudulent, you'd be able to state that you were working in your formal capacity as an 'employee' of the corp, and hence the liability shifts from you.

    But like simcat said, "I'm not a lawyer.... better to ask one to be sure."

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    August 18th, 2006
    Washington, DC
    If someone gets hurt using a product, who is going to be sued? Any lawyer will go for the "deep pockets" and that probably isn't you! This isn't really legal protection, but the corporation is more likely to be sued than the affiliate IMO.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager

  6. #6
    Full Member ADesertRose's Avatar
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    January 19th, 2005
    If you saw an ad for widgets on tv and one hurt you during normal use, would you sue the tv network? Even if you saw it on a daytime talk show and they said they love widgets so you should buy one, would you sue them?
    Seems to me you should be safe, but just for peace of mind maybe you should consult an attorney if you feel apprehensive about the issue.

  7. #7
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Those using unethical, or over-hyped and misleading Ad copy, as to healthcare, weight loss and beauty products fall under the truth in advertising laws. If your going to be a sleazy Adwhore it's best to get a monthly Health Clinic certificate showing your free of any infectious diseases. Post it on your site like those other worthless purchased ethical Certificates. Charlie should be selling a Ad-nausium cure-all elixer at with just one disclaimer... don't use if your suffer from stupidity, or your credit card is maxed out!
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  8. #8
    Full Member Crocket's Avatar
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    September 11th, 2006
    My thoughts on this and yes it is waaaay out there lol....If you were displaying a product on your site with your own suggested use for that product, then it could possibly be a problem.

    I am going to use Preparation H as an example. It is clearly intended for hemorrhoid symptoms, but some people are using it as trick to remove wrinkles and puffiness around their eyes.

    Lets say that you post an affiliate link to a tube of Prep H, your blurb goes into the use of that product around and under the eyes to remove wrinkles and puffiness.

    Granted the person that bought into the concept based on your suggestion may not have made the best of choice. But if they went blind and sued, then you would probably be the one they would hunt down. (now if they win or not is a different story) The buyer wouldn't go after the makers of Preparation H because Prep H didn't do anything wrong.

  9. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager Nick Prussakov's Avatar
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    July 23rd, 2006
    As has been noted above, lawyers will usually go for the "deep pockets". Even if you will incorporate into some sort of form, I guess that the better target would be still the company with the most funds. However, a caselaw system, such as in the US, is a tricky thing. There always is a potential for judicial law-making. Therefore, consult a lawyer.

  10. #10
    Newbie ronaldmarva's Avatar
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    February 7th, 2007
    The risk of being sued if something goes afoul with the product you are promoting will always be there. But, on the part of the litigator, will it pay to sue a small fish like an intermediary? - nope I dont think so! They would tend to go after the Merchants. Hardly would they look at the link that directed them to Merchant.

    But, of course, this is my personal opinion on the matter on hand (not that it matters much).

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