A disclaimer statement is intended to protect the creator of a website, newsletter, contract, book or product from litigation. Used in many different contexts, you may even see a disclaimer on the window of a fast food restaurant, warning that the coffee is hot.
Disclaimer statements in advertising protect the company advertising the product by saying that colors may vary in the actual product you receive. There are times that an advertisement makes claims that are negated or mitigated by the printed or quickly spoken disclaimer statements. For example, a new car ad offering a low monthly payment is often accompanied by a disclaimer statement saying that the deal requires a $4,000 down payment or a six-year contract.
Disclaimer statements may also protect individuals or companies who operate websites, release newsletters, or write informational blogs. A disclaimer outlines the limitations and scope of use for the information on a website or in a newsletter. A legal advice site, for example, may state that the information is not a substitute for consultation with an attorney and the creator is not liable for problems arising from following the advice on the site.
Disclaimer statements are found in many kinds of contracts as well. For example, a brokerage contract may contain a disclaimer statement stating that there is a known risk to making investments. An employment contract may have an at-will disclaimer, clearly stating the employment is at will and that either party can void the contract at any time without cause.