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General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy

- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 20, 2014

A wave of backlash has pressured General Mills to reverse a policy change that would have prohibited customers from being able to sue the company if they "liked" any General Mills products online.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that General Mills "quietly added language" to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, "join" it in online communities, or enter company-sponsored contests.

That change prompted a firestorm of criticism by customers who said the policy trampled the First Amendment and their rights as consumers.

General Mills said in a Saturday statement that even though the policy was "largely misread" by the public, it was changing the policy back to the way it was before.

"At no time was anyone ever precluded from suing us by purchasing one of our products at a store or liking one of our Facebook pages," wrote Kirstie Foster, General Mills' director of external communications, in a online statement. "That was either a mischaracterization — or just very misunderstood. Not that any of that matters now."

"On behalf of our company and our brands, we would also like to apologize," she said. "We're sorry we even started down this path. And we do hope you'll accept our apology. We also hope that you'll continue to download product coupons, talk to us on social media, or look for recipes on our websites."

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