General Mills Inc. (NYSE:GIS) will apparently allow people who "like" the company's products on social media to sue it after all.
The Minneapolis-based consumer goods company was at the center of a minor uproar last week when reports emerged in the New York Times and elsewhere interpreting its new legal terms as barring customers from suing the company if they happen to like any of its products on social media.
General Mills, whose brands include Cheerios, Chex, Pillsbury and Yoplait, posted a statement on Saturday to its official blog, clarifying that the language was never intended to bar such legal action and announcing that it would return to the previous legal terms.
"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 revised legal terms established an arbitration process to deal with customer complaints, "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."
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The idea that liking a General Mills product or brand on Facebook would have precluded consumers from suing the company was "either a mischaracterization -- or just very misunderstood," the statement says. Still, General Mills determined that it was worth reverting to its previous terms in order to head off any further outrage and eliminate any confusion.