The next time you plan on “liking” a particular company on Facebook, you might want to think twice because thanks to certain legal wordings, it seems that by doing so, you could be giving up the right to sue the company for any wrongdoing. This does not mean that you cannot have complaints about the company’s products or services, it’s just that if you wanted to sue them because of it, you can’t.
It depends from company to company, but it has recently been noticed that General Mills, the company behind cereals such as Cheerios and Chex, as well as other brands like Bisquick and Better Crocker, have recently updated their privacy. The new policy indicates that if a customer has a dispute with them and who has ever received anything that could be construed as a benefit, like an online discount code/coupon, their right to sue is essentially waived.
Instead customers are expected to submit their complaints via information negotiation via email, or go through arbitration to seek relief. According to General Mills, “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 those unfamiliar with the process of arbitration, it’s because where any disputes one party has with another is resolved through discussions by presenting the side of their story to an arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators, after which the arbitrator will decide on who wins the dispute, kind of like a judge, except that this does not take place in the courts.
This isn’t the first time that companies have employed such tactics, tactics which General Mills believes are reasonably sound. “While it rarely happens, arbitration is an efficient way to resolve disputes — and many companies take a similar approach. We even cover the cost of arbitration in most cases. So this is just a policy update, and we’ve tried to communicate it in a clear and visible way.”
However it does give you something to think about the next time you like a brand/company’s Facebook page, or decided to use one of its online discount codes or coupons towards your next purchase.