Disclaim THIS!

Subject: Disclaim THIS!
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 5 May 2011 11:12:03 -0400

Hey all.

Increasingly, in my experience, when I buy an appliance, toy, consumer product of almost any kind, the packaging contains:

i) a thin instructional booklet or pamphlet (with directions to a website if further help is wanted...)

ii) a not-so-thin book of Safety Alerts and compliance disclaimer text (FCC, UL, CSA, CE, ....), usually in multiple languages.

The disclaimer book (as well as the instructions, sometimes) is obviously intended for many more products and models than just the one that I have purchased.

If it's legal (and it must be...?) then I have a hard time seeing a downside to that approach, rather than including a disclaimer section in a printed manual (or Not-So-Quick-Start Guide) for each product.

What do you/your company do?

What I see is:

a) if it's good enough for Sony, Matsuchita, Belkin, Cisco, various cell phone makers, Acer, Benq, CatEye..... it should be good enough for us

b) it assures standardized language across the board - no risk of techwriters getting the wrong text from a dubious source for one or another product, or duplicating effort

c) it centralizes translation

d) it ensures that as any product enters a new market or regulatory space, the needed disclaimers are already there - one less thing to worry about during product dev and project arc

e) we might be able to foist the task onto Legal Dept. or on some poor engineer who is tasked with compliance issues for the company

f) it's one part number.

Does anybody have a counter-argument or anything to add? I'm about to propose this in our multi-national, multi-product-line company.

- kevin

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