General Mills Scraps Unpopular Legal Policy

General Mills Scraps Unpopular Legal Policy Photo (cc) by JeepersMedia

You can once again clip that Cheerios coupon without giving up your right to sue.

General Mills made an abrupt reversal on its new legal policy, which prevented people from suing the company if they downloaded coupons, participated in company-sponsored sweepstakes or “liked” them on Facebook in exchange for a discount. Under the policy, customers would be required to use binding arbitration or informal negotiation to settle a dispute.

The revised policy, first reported by The New York Times, sparked outrage from consumers. The Times has since reported General Mills’ change of heart.

The Times said it received an email from General Mills late Saturday night:

“Because our terms and intentions were widely misunderstood, causing concerns among our consumers, we’ve decided to change them back to what they were,” Mike Siemienas, a company spokesman, wrote in the email. “As a result, the recently updated legal terms are being removed from our websites, and we are announcing today that we have reverted back to our prior legal terms, which contain no mention of arbitration.”

General Mills also publicly apologized in a company blog post, MarketWatch said. Company spokeswoman Kirstie Foster said the new legal terms were “mischaracterized” or “very misunderstood”:

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.

Although I applaud General Mills for listening to consumers’ concerns and reversing its revised legal policy, it’s unfortunate that the food company proposed such terms in the first place. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the food giant to recover its image.

Are you surprised by General Mills’ sudden reversal of its controversial legal policy? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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