ADR Chatroom

Snap Crackle and Popped : General Mills arbitration submission


Our Hong Kong face, Sala Sihombing writes that after a stunning announcement on 16 April, General Mills in the US has reversed itself within a week.  Earlier in the week, General Mills had announced that any customer who participated in any coupon offering or who joined an online campaign or signed up for an email alert were doing more than celebrating their favourite breakfast cereal.  As the New York Times reported, General Mills through an online popup was deeming such participation to be acceptance of a new dispute policy which called for arbitration for any disputes. Whilst there has long been controversy about what constitutes appropriate submission to arbitration for consumer contracts, this was a quantum leap in submission strategy.  Apparently, it was a leap too far.  By 20 April, the New York Times was reporting that General Mills had reversed itself on the basis that their ‘concerns and intentions had been widely misunderstood’. Was such a pop up even enforceable?  would it have constituted valid submission? these questions will need to wait a test case, but it seems as if arbitration lawyers will need to consider the validity of how we submit to arbitration in an electronic age.

© Conflict Change Consulting Ltd.  2014