Disclaim This! Would You Beta-Test Your Dentist?

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funny disclaimer

We just love to disclaim liability for everything…

This morning, I wandered over to JustAddMe.com, a website that promotes a widget to make following people across many social media platforms easier. It actually looked pretty cool, so decided to check it out. When I clicked on the page to sign up, I found the above disclaimer waiting.

Funny thing is, in the online/tech-world, especially social media, it’s become common to launch a product/service in the “we think this might work” stage, let early-adopters test it out (sometimes trashing computers along the way), then clean it up for the masses.

So, disclaimers like this aren’t all that shocking…in the online world…

They’re not often put in such straight-forward terms, but everyone pretty knows the risks of being an early-adopter/beta tester.

But, what if you tried extending this language to other professions?

Imagine walking into a new dentist’s office and seeing a sign over the reception desk that read…

The dental services you are about to receive are at your own risk. Your dentist is not responsible for any damage of any kind that might happen. In other words if anything goes wrong we are not liable and you have been forewarned

It’s funny how we allow certain latitudes in one setting that we’d never put up with in another.

I wonder where else, other than the tech-world, you could be so bold and put yourself out there with a strong disclaimer and succeed? Would you go to a personal trainer who promised some very desirable results, but charged nothing and made you sign a waiver with the above language?

So, what do you guys think?

Why are our expectations about quality so different for different services, products and relationships? Have you seen any other disclaimers like this?

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13 responses

13 responses to “Disclaim This! Would You Beta-Test Your Dentist?”

  1. I see what you mean, but there are actually “early adopters” for dentists who do have to put up with (at least implicit) disclaimers like that: patients at dental schools. The deal is that you get discounted rates for being willing to put up with procedures being performed by dentists in the “beta” stage.

    The assumption afterwards though, is that the dentist is suitable for “public release.”

  2. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Joshua – funny you mentioned that, it triggered a really old memory of going to a clinic at a well-known dental school about 20 years ago…with, um, how do I put this, “interesting” results.

    I’ve done reduced rate acupuncture in clinics, too, and the result ranged from awful to really professional.

    Having done both, though, I think I’ll leave the dentistry and acupunctre beta-testing to others! 😉

  3. Please be warned. My existence may or may not be real. Please act accordingly.

  4. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Linkbait Cowboy – Interesting, beta-testing existence, eh?! 🙂

  5. Health says:

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  6. […] Go to the author’s original blog: Disclaim This! Would You Beta-Test Your Dentist? […]

  7. Robyn says:

    Too bad we can’t beta test Presidents and get upgrades over the course of their term.

  8. Kelly says:


    It would stink in other venues.

    “You eat this food at your own risk” at a restaurant? Not very likely.

    “This car has not been road-tested until you sat your risk-taking butt in it?” No way.

    On the other hand, the language of my lawyer’s contracts sounds a lot like this. No guarantees and if we screw up your life, too bad for you. And mine’s at the top of her game. Go with somebody new, and what more can they disclaim??

    Back to beta-testing for software etc…. My father was a computer scientist, and was paid money to be a beta-tester/ debugger for years (now he’s as far from computer science as he can get: he owns a motel).

    Over time, he saw the divisions he worked in get smaller and smaller, as companies realized that the bar was getting lower and they could just foist incomplete and buggy work on an eager public, who would take on the task themselves in exchange for getting a product just a little before everyone else. It put people out of jobs, and sadly changed what we all expect in a “finished” product, too—much lower quality passes for downloadable/saleable now.

    My 2¢.



  9. Shama Hyder says:

    My fiancee is a soon to be attorney Jonathan and he loves disclaimers. hehe. That being said, they are needed in some places and not in others.

    A service business? No disclaimers needed!

  10. Lane Lester says:

    In a different type of extreme, what kind of enterprise expects you to pay them even more if they fail miserably to do things right the first time?

    The answer: any government enterprise. Kids not getting a decent education? Spend more on public schools! Dikes not holding in New Orleans? Give the Corps of Engineers more billions!

  11. Darren says:

    Hey John, good read :p very good point. One thing where you would find this type of disclaimer is on medication :p

  12. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Darren – Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Your widget looks really cool, will probably try it out on a new blog I am developing (hoping it won’t make it blow up! 😉 ).

    Sometimes, you almost wish certain disclaimers were as blatant/entertaining as yours, like the ones on medicine bottles. How’s this for a medicine bottle disclaimee…

    “This pill will make you feel better, but there’s a slight chance it’ll also make you smell like the town dump on an August day and there’s an even slighter chance it’ll kill you shortly after making you feel better.” 😉

  13. Natasha says:

    The difference is that in one you’re paying and in the other you’re getting something free.