General Mills Changes Legal Policy, Freaks Everyone Out

General Mills, the company behind Cheerios and dozens of other products, recently updated its legal policy in a way that has many customers freaked out. The change was first brought up in The New York Times, which published a story detailing how General Mills has now made it so that if a person likes the company Facebook page, they forfeit their ability to file a lawsuit against the company.

General Mills Changes Legal Policy, Freaks Everyone OutAfter the story went viral, General Mills responded and cleared up some concerns by saying that a Facebook “like” is not mentioned in the new legal policy. However, the issue is still present, as the policy states that if a customer downloads coupons or joins one of the company’s “online communities”, it cannot file a lawsuit.

The “downloads coupons” part of the policy is straightforward, and early on, it seemed that “online communities” was cut and dry as well. Though according to General Mills, Facebook is not an online community, so what is?

While it rarely happens, arbitration is an efficient way to resolve disputes — and many companies take a similar approach. We even cover the cost of arbitration in most cases. So this is just a policy update, and we’ve tried to communicate in a clear and visible way. – General Mills representative

Having any sort of legal policy that prevents someone from suing a company if they download a coupon is definitely odd and it appears to be the first time that any food company has come up with that sort of agreement.

Even though General Mills has made statements in regards to the original New York Times article, it is still unclear what is considered an “online community.” To the average person, it would seem like a social network (Twitter or Facebook) is an online community, but somehow that is not the case. Either way, General Mills now has a very strange agreement with its customers.

Question – Should companies be putting this sort of legal policy in place, and should it be allowed?


Summary: General Mills has updated its legal policy to say that people who download coupons or join one of the company’s online community cannot sue the company.

image credit: businessweek


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