The next time you sign up for a rewards program offered by a retailer, or actually “like” a product on Facebook, you may be forfeiting your right to bring a lawsuit against them. According to a recent New York Times article, a growing number of companies in California and across the United States are using this tactic as a possible way to insulate themselves from the possibility of class action lawsuits.
The article highlighted the changes that Breakfast cereal giant General Mills made to the legal terms that accompany its coupons and online offerings after a California court refused to dismiss a lawsuit ostensibly based on consumer fraud. The changes require disputes related to coupon based purchases to be resolved through binding arbitration. Legal experts noted that General Mills is one of the first food companies to impose “forced arbitration” clauses on consumers who use online coupons.