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General Mills Reverses “No Sue” Policy After Uproar on Social Media

General Mills devised a “no sue” policy to supposedly protect their privacy during online interactions with customers.  Barely a day after announcing their decision, they quickly reversed courses after consumers took to social media websites to protest.  Their original policy stated that if customers interacted with General Mills online then they forfeited their right to sue and would instead be forced to arbitrate their claims.  General Mills maintains that its original policy was grossly misinterpreted, and that it rarely has disputes with customers, regardless.

Legal Experts Call General Mills’ Policy “So Broad They Could be Applied to Anything”

Although General Mills argues that their now retracted policy was misinterpreted, legal experts say that the company’s terms of engagement were so broad that they could have been applied to practically anything.  This could include using a General Mills coupon, following the company’s brands on social media, or even from a situation as egregious as finding a bug or other contaminant in a box of cereal.  Legal experts guess that General Mills likely wanted to protect itself from class action lawsuits, and were not prepared for the onslaught of outrage from consumers.

General Mills’ Websites Pull Generate 250 Million Consumer Views Per Year

It’s probably not all that surprising that General Mills reversed its decision, especially after receiving hundreds of complaints on Facebook, and on company websites like Betty Crocker or Que Rica Vida.  However, legal experts also warn that the new methods of direct communication between consumers and companies have complicated legal agreements between the two parties.  For example, a consumer may be unaware of the fact that they are forfeiting their legal rights to participate in a class action lawsuit by doing something as simple as using a downloadable coupon from a company website.   Although arbitration can be useful in reducing the time, money and privacy issues associated with trials, it could also mean consumers are denied their “day in court”, so to speak.  The next time you’re about to click “I agree” on a webpage, and you think of skipping the fine print, you might want to think again and take the time to do so.

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