OK, You Can Sue Us: General Mills Scraps Controversial Terms of Service Updates

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
2 min read

Last week, General Mills updated its terms of service. With the updated legal terms, customers that engaged with General Mills or any of its big-name brands by joining one of its online communities (though not, as it turns out, Facebook or Twitter since they have their own terms of use), subscribing to a digital newsletter, participating in a contest or downloading a coupon, would ostensibly forgo their right to sue the company, with forced arbitration as their only legal option in the event of a complaint. 

Related: Dislike: If You 'Like' General Mills on Facebook, You Can't Sue the Company

But following a vocal backlash from customers, many of whom took to social media to lambast the new terms and call for a boycott, the food giant behind Cheerios, Pillsbury and Häagen-Dazs released two blog posts: the first, in an attempt to clear up any "mischaracterization" of the changes, and the second to announce that the updates were scrapped altogether.

In a blog post titled, "We've listened – and we’re changing our legal terms back," Kirstie Foster, the company's director of External Communications explained the company felt arbitration, rather than litigation "would have simply streamlined how complaints are handled. Many companies do the same, and we felt it would be helpful. But consumers didn’t like it."

To that end, Foster wrote, "on behalf of our company and our brands, we would also like to apologize. We’re sorry we even started down this path. And we do hope you’ll accept our apology." It seems that more than ever with social media, when customers talk, companies find themselves quickly compelled to listen.

Related: Dove Pulls NJ 'Armpit' Billboard in Wake of Criticism

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