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General Mills Reverses Legal Terms After Controversy

General Mills Headquarters Ahead Of Earnings Figures
Ariana Lindquist—Bloomberg/Getty Images General Mills world headquarters in Golden Valley, MN, March 15, 2014.

The food giant reversed itself regarding widely criticized new legal terms on its website that some said could prevent customers from suing the company over downloading coupons, joining its online communities or interacting with the company

General Mills announced it was removing controversial legal terms from its website on Saturday following an uproar over the changes.

“Because our concerns and intentions were widely misunderstood, causing concerns among our consumers, we’ve decided to change them back to what they were,” company spokesman Mike Siemienas wrote in an email obtained by the New York Times.

The New York Times reported last week that General Mills had added new legal terms to its website that could force customers to surrender their right to sue the company if they downloaded coupons, joined its “online communities” or interacted with the company in a variety of other ways. Instead, the Times said, customers would have to submit complaints through arbitration or “informal negotiation.”

The company later clarified that “online communities” did not include its Facebook or Twitter profiles.

The surprising reversal follows criticism from both consumers and legal experts, who questioned the breadth and enforceability of such terms.

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