General Mills Abandons Mandatory Arbitration After Consumer Outcry

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General Mills Inc., the maker of Cheerios, reversed a recent change in its online legal policy that could have required that disputes with consumers be decided in arbitration instead of in court. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

General Mills Inc., maker of Cheerios and other grocery staples, has reversed a recent change to its online legal policy after an outcry by consumers.

The policy had been quietly updated last week to include terms under which any dispute with the company would have to be decided through arbitration, a change first reported by the New York Times last week.

Critics and legal experts said the new terms could cost consumers their right to sue in court if they merely “liked” General Mills’ social media pages, downloaded coupons from its website or entered any company-sponsored contests.

General Mills initially criticized the media reports on the policy, saying they had mischaracterized it. The company also defended arbitration as “a straightforward and efficient way to resolve such disputes — and many companies take the same approach. We even cover the cost of arbitration in most cases.”

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.