Legal Terms
Apr 17, 2014 • By

Explaining our website privacy policy and legal terms

Editor’s note: We’re changing back. Consumers asked us to go back to our old legal terms, and we did. See our explanation – and apology – here.

The discussion about the changes to our online privacy policy and legal terms is being pretty broadly mischaracterized. Even Forbes acknowledges this.

No one is precluded from suing us merely by purchasing our products at the store or liking one of our brand Facebook pages.

Here’s an explanation, as we do want everyone to understand our policy as you visit and interact with us on our websites.

When you visit one of our websites, such as GeneralMills.com, you’ll see the following message pinned to the top of the page:

“We’ve updated our Privacy Policy. Please note we also have new Legal Terms which require all disputes related to the purchase or use of any General Mills product or service to be resolved through binding arbitration. For more information on these changes, please click here.”

When consumers interact with us online, such as subscribing to an online publication, entering a sweepstakes, or downloading coupons from websites such as Pillsbury.com or BettyCrocker.com, we list the legal terms guiding that interaction. These terms kick in only when you engage and agree, but even then, nothing in the policy precludes a consumer from pursuing a claim.

No one is precluded from suing us by purchasing our products at a store, and no one is precluded from suing us when they “like” one of our Facebook pages. That is just a mischaracterization.

But should an individual agree to the terms, they would then apply. That’s the point. But even then, the policy doesn’t preclude a consumer from pursuing a claim. It merely determines the forum.

It rarely happens actually. But if it does, arbitration is 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.

So that’s it. This is a policy update and an update of our legal terms, and we’ve tried to communicate it in a clear and visible way. That attracted attention, which is good actually. Because we want people to know and understand our approach. But some of the comments that followed were just incorrect.

One more quick thing: We also provide the opportunity to opt out. Just notify us by email of your wishes. Downloading coupons, entering sweepstakes or subscribing to publications is entirely up to you. We’re just explaining our terms for those types of transactions.

And no. Nothing about this would impact current or pending lawsuits. It just wouldn’t. And social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have their own policies and terms of use, which is why “liking” one of our Facebook pages is entirely unrelated to this entire discussion.

We hope this helps explain what we’re doing. Because there’s a lot of misinformation out there today.