General Mills Reverses Legal Terms Amid Customer Outcry
April 21, 2014
General Mills has taken out language it recently added to its legal terms of service that was reported to have stripped customers of their right to sue the company if they downloaded coupons, “like” the company on Facebook or other social media, or enter into a company-run sweepstakes. Customers instead would have had to negotiate via e-mail or enter into arbitration. After the New York Times ran a story pointing out the changes, General Mills was flooded with negative feedback on its Facebook and Twitter pages. General Mills then announced it would reverse its decision and reinstate its old policy, although it also maintained the new policy had been mischaracterized in the media. “We rarely have disputes with consumers – and arbitration would have simply streamlined how complaints are handled. Many companies do the same, and we felt it would be helpful,” Kirstie Foster, spokesman for GM, said in a post on the company’s website. “At no time was anyone ever precluded from suing us by purchasing one of our products at a store or liking one of our Facebook pages. That was either a mischaracterization – or just very misunderstood.” But, Foster said, “consumers didn’t like it,” so the old terms are back in place.
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