Strom Law Firm Columbia SC
No obligations & no credit card required

General Mills Drops Forced Arbitration Clause

After Public Outcry, General Mills Removes Forced Arbitration Clause and Goes Back to Old Privacy Policy

After several customers expressed disgust over General Mills’ updated privacy policy, which included a broad forced arbitration clause, the food company reversed its decision and returned to its original privacy policy. The updated forced arbitration clause suggested that if a consumer “likes” General Mills or any of its products – like Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Jolly Green Giant, Yoplait, or Lucky Charms – on Facebook, download coupons from the company’s website, join online communities hosted by General Mills, or enter company-sponsored contests or sweepstakes, then the consumer, without knowing it, waives the right to a fair trial in a personal injury case.

However, a massive public backlash on Friday, April1 9th, led General Mills to retract its new privacy policy and issue an apology on its blog. “Those terms — and our intentions — were widely misread, causing concern among consumers.  So we’ve listened – and we’re changing them back to what they were before,” the statement reads. The company continued that they had no ill intentions when they added the forced arbitration clause into their privacy policy, “but customers didn’t like it. So we’ve reverted back to our prior terms,” the statement goes on to say, before explaining that “our recent Legal Terms have been terminated, that the arbitration provisions are void, and that they are not, and never have been, of any legal effect. That last bit is from our lawyers. We’ll just add that we never imagined this reaction.”

After a 2011 Supreme Court decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, forced arbitration clauses have been added to many major corporations’ privacy policies. For the most part, these companies are banks, credit card companies, internet or phone service providers, or content streamers. The long list of companies with forced arbitration clauses includes Netflix, Chase Bank, AT&T, Driftwood Nursing Home, and Xbox Live. “Although this is the first case I’ve seen of a food company moving in this direction, others will follow — why wouldn’t you?” said Julia Duncan, director of federal programs and an arbitration expert at the American Association for Justice, a trade group representing plaintiff trial lawyers. “It’s essentially trying to protect the company from all accountability, even when it lies, or say, an employee deliberately adds broken glass to a product.”

“When you’re talking about food, you’re also talking about things that can kill people,” Scott L. Nelson, a lawyer at non-profit advocacy group Public Citizen, told the Times. “There is a huge difference in the stakes, between the benefit you’re getting from this supposed contract you’re entering into by, say, using the company’s website to download a coupon, and the rights they’re saying you’re giving up. That makes this agreement a lot broader than others out there.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury Cases

If you are unsure of your consumer rights, and you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, by a defective product, or from a food quality problem, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills or lost wages. The experienced lawyers at Strom Law, LLC, can help. Please contact us for a free consultation regarding your personal injury case.803.252.4800.



Follow us

Sign Up For Our Newsletter!