General Mills Does U-Turn on Right to Sue

Arbitration policy dropped after online outcry

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 21, 2014 4:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – You can still "like" Cheerios or Wheaties without losing any rights: After a huge social media outcry, General Mills has scrapped a controversial policy that appeared to strip consumers who engaged with the company online of their right to sue. The company says it is voiding terms that notified website visitors that any disputes involving its products would be "resolved through binding arbitration," CNN reports. General Mills says it was a "mischaracterization" to claim the terms applied to people who engaged with the brand on Facebook or Twitter, reports the AP.

The terms would have applied to people who did things like download coupons or subscribe to publications, the company says. "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," the company explained in a blog post, stressing that similar terms involving arbitration are very common in consumer contracts and apologizing for any worries caused. The terms—"and our intentions—were widely misread, causing concern among consumers," the company says. "So we've reverted back to our prior terms. There's no mention of arbitration, and the arbitration provisions we had posted were never enforced."

General Mills' Cheerios cereals are seen on display at a store in Palo Alto, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
In this photo taken June 15, 2011, a spoonful of Honey Nut Cheerios is shown in Pembroke, NY.   (AP Photo/David Duprey)
This June 16, 2011 file photo shows boxes of Cheerios in a store in Akron, NY.   (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)
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