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Performing Audit of Legal Disclaimers for Client's Dotcom Channel

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

Fortune 50 Telecommunications Company

The ability to market intangible services effectively to a mass audience is the goal of digital service providers and the teams that position content for customers. Due to the ease of online accessibility offered by high speed internet, consumers have grown accustomed to quick and efficient online ordering. This preference for speed requires marketing teams to develop short and pithy claims about their products in order to keep the customer “in line” and moving through the buy flow. However, equally important to the effectiveness of these claims is the ability to fulfill them, and overall adherence to the agreement made between buyer and seller at the time of purchase. This was a major issue for NorthStar’s client in the fall of 2014. Inaccuracies in legal disclaimers across all divisions of their Dotcom channel required a mass audit and restructuring by both the legal department and the web operations team.

The numerous obstacles faced during the audit can be encompassed by two major challenges. The first hurdle was the sheer size of our client’s online catalog. The number of offers requiring new disclaimers topped a conservative estimate of six hundred, each with distinct variations based on marketing claims. These variations included expired promotions, misuse of terminology, incorrect pricing and fee claims, along with the inappropriate copyright and trademark claims. The second obstacle was the dissimilarity between disclaimer structure caused by the inattention of former web operations workers, inconsistency by the legal staff, and abandonment of the appropriate approval process. The web operations team was given a deadline of forty-five days to complete the work but did not have the resources to complete the project.

In order to meet the project deadline, an additional resource was brought in to complete the audit, and daily meetings with the legal department were held to review current disclaimers and provide corrections. Time restraints for all parties made this a difficult and tedious process, but a general disclaimer template, developed in cooperation with the legal team, helped to expedite the corrections. The web operations team was able to meet the October 31st deadline, and used the lessons learned from the experience to maintain disclaimer accuracy. Web operations continues with both a dedicated disclaimer editor, and the practice of acquiring legal approval for each offer launch. This has resulted in a large reduction in both customer complaints and strain on division operation leads.

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