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Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue 216

Posted by timothy
from the sue-you-sue-anybody dept.
sandbagger (654585) writes "The New York Times reports that General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, or 'join' it in social media communities. Who'd have imagined that clicking like requires a EULA?"
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Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

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  • by kruach aum (1934852) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:44PM (#46783109)

    They could also write in that if I click 'like' on a cereal facebook page I would have to kill myself, but that doesn't make it legally binding.

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:56PM (#46783233)

      Indeed. Good luck arguing in court that someone gave up their right to sue. The legal profession tends to be awfully sceptical of such measures, and none more so than judges. While it might stand up if, for example, all parties agreed to use some reasonable form of binding arbitration instead, it's hard to imagine the big company would get anywhere against the little customer under these conditions.

      • by tompaulco (629533) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:33PM (#46783543) Homepage Journal

        Indeed. Good luck arguing in court that someone gave up their right to sue. The legal profession tends to be awfully sceptical of such measures, and none more so than judges. While it might stand up if, for example, all parties agreed to use some reasonable form of binding arbitration instead, it's hard to imagine the big company would get anywhere against the little customer under these conditions.

        Like locks on a door, this is only to deter the casual litigant. It wouldn't stand up in court, but if someone was to express an interest in suing, GM would reply with "you signed a document saying you wouldn't", and that would be good enough for 99% of the brainless slugs.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @09:01PM (#46784529)

          ...GM would reply with "you signed a document saying you wouldn't", and that would be good enough for 99% of the brainless slugs.

          How is clicking Like akin to "signing a document"?
          Does clicking Like make a EULA popup for you to read?
          Does it even notify you that you agree to it's terms on some webpage?
          They would have to argue that anyone clicking like on anything would assume that they agree to something, which I don't think will hold up.

          What wonderful customer relations.
          You click "Like" and they respond with "Fuck You!"

          • by azadrozny (576352)

            I think that is the point the OP was trying to make. The more casual litigants would simply drop the case, either because they don't have the will power to go the distance (however short it my be) with EULA, or they are truly dumb and believe that "Like=signing a document".

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          Signed? Actually no. It's only signed if if I tick a box saying I've read it before I hit like. Simply hitting "like" can not imply that I've done anything. Even a casual litigant wouldn't be deterred by this. Sounds more like a bored legal team had nothing to do on a Friday afternoon.

      • by davecb (6526) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @07:45PM (#46784093) Homepage Journal

        The intention is to convince the reader that they can't sue for the dead rat they found in their canned corn, so they won' t try.

        A former employer shipped rat-enhanced corn once, and was both sued and fined for doing so. They became very thorough about warning the employees to watch out for furry critters in the plant (;-))

      • by Darinbob (1142669) on Friday April 18, 2014 @12:28AM (#46785393)

        Although big companies have been making inroads here against the little customer, which is indeed what has been encouraging big companies to add more and more of these ridiculous arbitration agreements. For example the article even mentions the AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion case which said that an arbitration agreement wording could be used to forbid going to arbitration as a class action.

        The trouble is that there's a growing movement of anti-legal-system thinking out there, especially on the right wing. They see lawsuits as a problem, and trial lawyers as bad people (but a trial lawyer on your side is a good guy, trial lawyers for other people are the evil ones). Combine this with a pro-corporate attitude, and this means that these sorts of arbitration agreements may have a lot of support in congress.

        • it's not anti-legal-system, it's anti-99%. They LOVE the MAFIAA being able to sue everyone purely for the sake of making money doing so, they just don't want their precious megacorporations to ever be vulnerable in return.

        • by TBone (5692)

          The ATT vs Concepcion case isn't really an appropriate basis for comparison.

          In the case of wireless service, the consumer actively signs a service contract, where these terms and conditions are laid out. In this case, what is essentially a click-through EULA, and even then for only SOME activities that GM is claiming constitute acceptance, is actively stripping the consumer of any legal remedy.

          The courts are very hesitant to allow corporate boilerplate shrink-wrap licensing terms that cause the consume

    • by nblender (741424) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:56PM (#46783237)

      so would that make you a cereal killer?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mirix (1649853)

      I imagine I would want to kill myself if spent my time liking cereal on facebook, EULA or not.

    • by mcrbids (148650)

      By reading this comment, you waive all rights to the ownership of your car...

    • by ultranova (717540)

      They could also write in that if I click 'like' on a cereal facebook page I would have to kill myself, but that doesn't make it legally binding.

      It doesn't have to be legally binding, it just has to make a court case drag on a bit longer. In a battle of attrition the company is always on high ground to mere mortals.

  • by geekoid (135745)

    yeah, that will stand up in court. Really the people who put that in there should be fired. It will only end with a lawsuit and bad PR

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CanHasDIY (1672858)

      yeah, that will stand up in court.

      It has for AT&T, Verizon, EA, Dropbox, etc. Why would General Mills' be treated any different than the other Corporate Masters?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by geekoid (135745)

        A) It hasn't.
        B) Prior expectations.

      • Why would General Mills' be treated any different than the other Corporate Masters?

        They don't pay as much for for preferential treatment as the other guys. Their only need for lobbying is to ensure farm subsidies are as high as possible to force down the market price for grain.

        • Re:so? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:31PM (#46783531) Journal

          They don't pay as much for for preferential treatment as the other guys. Their only need for lobbying is to ensure farm subsidies are as high as possible to force down the market price for grain.

          Actually, the best way to force prices for grain downwards is to *remove* government subsidies, since most of them go towards paying farmers to limit their harvest output, thereby keeping per-bushel prices high.

          Same with any other non-processed food item - dump the subsidies, and farmers will have to increase production to make up for it. This in turn will force prices down for those food items.

          • by Teun (17872)
            Uh no, not subsidies.

            If you want to force down the price of any commodity you should limit or stop demand without directly affecting production.

            For a cereal producer I would suggest to market a killer cereal, it would be squarely aimed at the intended consumer group and the chance of wasteful collateral damage would be limited.

      • How it stood up for all companies listed? Give us links to that stories!
      • by EvilSS (557649)

        yeah, that will stand up in court.

        It has for AT&T, Verizon, EA, Dropbox, etc. Why would General Mills' be treated any different than the other Corporate Masters?

        The big difference here is that the agreement is not apparent or possibly even presented to the user at the time or before hand. You can like something on facebook that a friend liked, and you would never see that agreement. Ditto if you tweeted something to their twitter account (which I assume they would include in this). Even with today's corporate friendly courts I can't see how they would not get laughed out of the courtroom for trying to pull this card out.

      • It stood up where there was an actual contract or financially backed transaction in place, not just off the back of a random click on a website.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:48PM (#46783137) Homepage Journal

    General Mills... has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, or 'join' it in social media communities

    It might even be worse than that, according to an interview I heard on NPR earlier - the language of General Mills' new terms appears to include merely purchasing any of their products as a method of forcing you to waive your right to sue.

    Of course, they also said one could "opt-out" by sending an email to the company... Anybody got a list of everybody's email addresses?

    "Everybody" as in, every-fucking-body.

    • by axlash (960838)

      I know that it's said that ignorance of a contract is no excuse for breaching it.

      But I sometimes feel that there should not be a requirement that the issuer of the contract should make it so obvious and public that there could not possibly any chance that the breacher could have acted out of ignorance.

      Say what you like about software EULAs, at least in many cases, you have to have seen the dialog box with the text before going ahead to install the software - much better than having to search for some micros

      • by Obfuscant (592200) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:08PM (#46783343)

        I know that it's said that ignorance of a contract is no excuse for breaching it.

        Of course ignorance of the existence of a contract is an excuse for "breaching" it. What you're probably thinking of is "ignorance of the law is no excuse". But just because GF says "buying a box of our cereal creates a contractual relationship" doesn't make it so.

        • by zippthorne (748122) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @08:02PM (#46784187) Journal

          ...What you're probably thinking of is "ignorance of the law is no excuse"...

          Which is it's own level of BS when you think about it. It's predicated on the idea that you're responsible for making yourself aware of the law, so that you won't violate it in ignorance. But today's body of law is so great that I'm not sure it's possible for a person to read it all within a single lifetime, let alone piece together all of the cross links and understand everything that applies to you.

          The authors and passers of the law bear some responsibility for violations when the law is so verbose and numerous as to be an impediment to understanding.

          • by s.petry (762400) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @08:23PM (#46784331)

            But today's body of law is so great that I'm not sure it's possible for a person to read it all within a single lifetime, let alone piece together all of the cross links and understand everything that applies to you.

            2,567 hours just to read the US Federal Tax law, which is 120% of a work year if your full time job was to read that Law. And just think of your joy when you find out next year laws are changed (not amended) and grows at a frightening rate. 26,300 pages in 1984, to 54,846 by 2003, to 67,204 in 2007, and 73,954 today. Reference [townhall.com].

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by wiredlogic (135348)

        Contracts have to be negotiated and signed by two parties to be valid. You have to have an opportunity to modify the terms before exchanging money. Buying commodities doesn't meet that standard. Neither do post-purchase EULAs.

        • by Kaenneth (82978)

          Correct, the legal term is 'Meeting of the Minds'

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]

        • by BarefootClown (267581) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @07:35PM (#46784019) Homepage

          Contracts have to be negotiated and signed by two parties to be valid. You have to have an opportunity to modify the terms before exchanging money. Buying commodities doesn't meet that standard. Neither do post-purchase EULAs.

          This is patently untrue, on many points.

          First, there is generally no requirement that contracts be signed, or even in writing. A very few types of contracts are governed by the Statute of Frauds [wikipedia.org], which specifies that there must be a writing signed by the party against whom a term is being used. The specifics vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but the linked Wikipedia article is reasonably representative. Outside the Statute of Frauds, there's nothing wrong with an unsigned, or even oral, contract.

          Second, you do not have to have the opportunity to modify terms period, let alone before exchanging money. Terms may be offered on a "take it or leave it" basis; the Uniform Commercial Code, section 2-207 provides for how negotiation happens, and expressly includes an option to forbid any alternate terms. At common law, the principle is the same: there need not be an opportunity to make a counteroffer.

          In this context, it would be entirely unreasonable for us to assume that respondents -- or any other cruise passenger -- would negotiate with petitioner the terms of a forum-selection clause in an ordinary commercial cruise ticket. Common sense dictates that a ticket of this kind will be a form contract the terms of which are not subject to negotiation, and that an individual purchasing the ticket will not have bargaining parity with the cruise line.

          Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute, 499 U.S. 585 (1991)

          As to "before exchanging money," it is very common for terms to be left open at the time of acceptance and tender:

          Transactions in which the exchange of money precedes the communication of detailed terms are common. Consider the purchase of insurance. The buyer goes to an agent, who explains the essentials (amount of coverage, number of years) and remits the premium to the home office, which sends back a policy. On the district judge's understanding, the terms of the policy are irrelevant because the insured paid before receiving them. Yet the device of payment, often with a "binder" (so that the insurance takes effect immediately even though the home office reserves the right to withdraw coverage later), in advance of the policy, serves buyers' interests by accelerating effectiveness and reducing transactions costs. Or consider the purchase of an airline ticket. The traveler calls the carrier or an agent, is quoted a price, reserves a seat, pays, and gets a ticket, in that order. The ticket contains elaborate terms, which the traveler can reject by canceling the reservation.

          ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg, 86 F.3d 1447 (7th Cir. 1996)
          The ProCD opinion also cited to Carnival.

          I cite specifically to ProCD because it was a post-purchase EULA case, and it directly contradicts you.

          In short, every single point you made is precisely and exactly wrong.

          • by Obfuscant (592200)

            Second, you do not have to have the opportunity to modify terms period, let alone before exchanging money. Terms may be offered on a "take it or leave it" basis;

            Which is an opportunity to modify the terms which was refused by one of the parties. The act of "tak[ing] it" is the agreement upon the terms; the act of "leav[ing] it" is the rejection. But even the party that is told "take it or leave it" has the opportunity to offer other terms, it's just very unlikely they will be accepted.

            The point was, of course, is that both parties are aware of the terms and have agreed to them, whether or not the terms are a compromise.

        • by Sique (173459)
          Contracts have not to be signed. It is sufficient if both parties have an agreement. The signed, written form makes it more easy to prove afterwards which conditions were agreed upon, but it is no requirement.
      • by Sique (173459)
        As you buy the stuff not at the company, but through a trader, the only contract which exists, is the contract between you and the trader about the transfer of money in exchange for a box of cereals. So there is no contract you could be ever ignorant off. First Sale Doctrin and all that...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:03PM (#46783285)

      Little did they know that there is a EULA that comes along with my purchase. If they sell me a product, they are agreeing to a long list of provisions which they are free to look up on my Web site.

      • This is actually a really good idea -- someone should create the OpenEULA -- a license agreement that individuals can sign on to, that indicates what conditions apply when a vendor accepts their payment. An organization that hosts the OpenEULA could even do things like get a credit card with the logo and references to the agreement on it, to make it completely legit (if the vendor accepts the card, they accept the liability should they breach the card's contract).

        Anyone up for kicking this off?

      • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex&project-retrograde,com> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @07:27PM (#46783953) Homepage

        Little did they know that there is a EULA that comes along with my purchase. If they sell me a product, they are agreeing to a long list of provisions which they are free to look up on my Web site.

        I did that for HTTP. You'll find our binding agreement in your server logs. In the HTTP user agent header:

        (By continuing to transmit information via this TCP connection beyond these HTPP headers you and the business you act in behalf of [hereafter, "you"] agree to grant the user of this connection [hereafter, "me" or "I"] an unlimited, world wide and royalty free copyright for the use and redistribution of said information for any purpose including but not limited to satire or public display, and agree that any portion of an agreement concerning waiving of my legal rights made via this connection is null and void including but not limited to agreements concerning arbitration; By accepting these terms you also acknowledge and agree that these terms supersede any further agreement you or I may enter into via this connection, and that the partial voiding of agreements will be accepted as a contractual exception regardless of statements to the contrary in further terms agreed to by you or I via this connection. If you do not agree to the terms of using this connection you must terminate the connection immediately. If you do not or can not agree to these terms you do not have permission to continue sending information to me via this connection, and continuing your transmission will be in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.)

        You can add such a clause simply by using any of the various User-Agent switchers for your favorite browser.

        • Note: When removing my name I changed the above slightly from my own agreement. Change HTPP to HTTP, the former is a completely different protocol for browsing porn...

    • by taustin (171655)

      That actually makes it better. It makes it so much more ridiculous that enforcement would be impossible even if there weren't extensive case law regarding such idiotic things. And there is. Contracts require informed consent, not one side just saying "neener neener you didn't see what I didn't show you."

      No attempt will ever, ever be made to enforce this, because no lawyer in his right mind, or with any interest in continuing to make his boat payments, will touch it even if the honchos at GM are insane enoug

    • by BronsCon (927697)
      Can I sue them over the fact that I can no longer enjoy their products, thereby reducing my quality of life? The reason, of course, being one of liability; I can not and will not take on liability for their actions and any possible disastrous consequences of failures of their quality control processes or side effects caused by their current or future products, which is precisely the choice they're giving me: "Forgo being our customer, or take liability for our actions."
  • by swschrad (312009) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:50PM (#46783171) Homepage Journal

    and this ought to cement it. nobody reads that stuff. not even the lawyers. Microsoft was forced to allow refunds. some other cases ruled that click-through terms may be invalid for some claims. keep on keeping on, and if General Mills wants to waste lawyers generating snarky comments all over the public space, have at it. you will lose face.

  • Since Facebook seems to think that "usability" is a four-letter word, I found that http://www.manageyourlikes.com [manageyourlikes.com] is an excellent way to trim your likes.

  • Companies like these are trying to take a page out of the software industry playbook. Nice Try but I doubt if I buy a Chevy in the future it will eliminate their liability should the ignition fail while driving it or I happen to use a $10 off oil change coupon at one of their dealerships. Likewise if General Mills says you can't sue them because you like them on Facebook or use a coupon won't protect them should you get poisoned from a box of Cheerios.

    • see, the bankruptcy discharge for Bad Old GM stated that it was the place to sue for defects in cars made under their watch. New GM is now testing that by petitioning the bankruptcy court to honor that agreement, since a bunch of lawyers are now circling them due to the blood in the water over the funky ignition switches and keylocks.

      there is, of course, no Bad Old GM left.

  • by PaddyM (45763) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @05:55PM (#46783231) Homepage

    IANAL, but can I send them this? Note that I would include my name and birth year per their legal requirements if I decide to send it.

    Any attempt to contact me via phone, email, or newspaper, constitutes acceptance of these legal terms. Any coupons for products produced by your company that are sent to me without my explicit request or that show up in an advertisement on the internet confirm your agreement to these terms.

    I do not agree to binding arbitration. I do not agree to any terms which General Mills has proscribed. I hereby agree to ignore any response, and only to send bills in the amount of $100,000.00 to General Mills if I receive a response. If I currently have any existing customer relationship with General Mills I hereby declare that relationship null and void. Any coupons from General Mills which arrive in my mailbox or in my email will result in a $10,000.00 per coupon recycling charge.

    ANY attempt to reply to my email will cost General Mills $100,000.00. There are no exceptions. If you disagree, if you think these terms are unfair, the only acceptable way to avoid payment of these terms that I have proscribed is to change your legal terms: http://generalmills.com/Legal_... [generalmills.com] to something compatible with US Constitutional law.

    Again, I am not bound by your legal terms. If your legal team finds some way that I am inadvertently bound by your legal terms (e.g. member of a particular website, that I was not aware was owned by General Mills), then General Mills owes me $100,000.00 and is required to remove me from that website at its own expense. If after that removal, you find that I'm still somehow related to General Mills in anyway, that will be another $100,000.00. So get it right the first time! Because I explicitly requested not to be bound by your legal terms and this notice serves as a record of that statement per your own legal terms.

    • by x0ra (1249540)
      Private companies are NOT bound, in any possible way, by the Constitution or the Bill of Rights...
    • You probably mean prescribed, not proscribed, in several places.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by PaddyM (45763)

        You mean because their medicine makes my head hurt :)

        Seriously, thank you, I did not realize the proscribe is the opposite of prescribe in terms of the law.

  • ...it just makes me want to sue them on principle.
  • This isn't news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ziggitz (2637281) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:00PM (#46783271)
    Until we hear about this actually holding up in court, which I highly doubt it will. Large companies are preemptively covering their asses in any way they can by flinging shit against the wall and seeing what sticks. I imagine that they've done this in several other ways that also wouldn't be likely to stand up in court, but if any one method does, then the payoff is huge so it makes sense to do it.
    • by NoKaOi (1415755)

      This is probably more than just shit-slinging. The more reasons they have to create more paperwork and more time in court for an individual plaintiff, the more money it costs on both sides in legal fees. How much would it cost in legal fees to fight the validity of just this point of the EULA? They don't care if they lose the individual battle, they have much deeper pockets for legal fees than an individual, or even a class in a class-action lawsuit, so delaying and/or running the plaintiff out of money

      • by causality (777677)

        This is probably more than just shit-slinging. The more reasons they have to create more paperwork and more time in court for an individual plaintiff, the more money it costs on both sides in legal fees. How much would it cost in legal fees to fight the validity of just this point of the EULA? They don't care if they lose the individual battle, they have much deeper pockets for legal fees than an individual, or even a class in a class-action lawsuit, so delaying and/or running the plaintiff out of money means winning the war.

        Am I the only one who thinks the entire notion of a "class-action lawsuit" was a bad idea?

        If a company materially harms 250,000 individuals, let them defend against 250,000 individual lawsuits. That would be a massive disincentive against harming people. Having to pay lawyers for that many separate lawsuits would be a lot more like the predicament (during a standard isolated case) of the one individual trying to have a legal battle against a huge multination corporation. Seems fair to me.

        Plus in ma

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by geekmux (1040042)

      Until we hear about this actually holding up in court, which I highly doubt it will. Large companies are preemptively covering their asses in any way they can by flinging shit against the wall and seeing what sticks. I imagine that they've done this in several other ways that also wouldn't be likely to stand up in court, but if any one method does, then the payoff is huge so it makes sense to do it.

      The problem with the shit-slinging tactic is there is not enough logic employed on either side of the bench to ensure that the shit slides off the wall, and not into a case of precedent, which is all it takes to ensure shit replaces logic perpetually and turns the entire process into a steaming pile of corruption.

      You know, kind of what we have today...

  • My rights to sue are forbidden.

    I don't have a cite but it's been challenged in court and found to be an unobtainable right (USA).

  • Since 99% of the people have never read a ToS, it's safe to assume it won't be a problem, ignorance of the law is a defense.

    • No, ignorance of the contract is a defense - without a meeting of the minds there is no contract. Ignorance of the law will still absolutely get you penalized, incarcerated, etc. if you break it. But in one case you're talking about a private party or company and yourself, in the other you're talking about your relationship to the state.
  • Send a message (Score:4, Insightful)

    by duke_cheetah2003 (862933) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:36PM (#46783565) Homepage

    Don't buy their products. Boycott.

    Corporations only listen to their bottom line, and we can make a lot of noise by simply not buying and encouraging everyone we know to do the same.

    Sadly, I was not a fan of General Mills' products to begin with. Fortunately, it'll make a boycott for me rather painless.

    But sending a message that this sort of behavior is unacceptable would be a good thing.

    • Not sure if continuing to not buy something you wouldn't buy anyway qualifies as boycott, but it's the thought that counts :)

      • Not sure if continuing to not buy something you wouldn't buy anyway qualifies as boycott, but it's the thought that counts :)

        Maybe. If I'm in the grocery store and see a General Mills' product, I'm going to keep walking, even if the product looks like something I'd like, from now on.

      • by mmell (832646)
        It's the 'encouraging everyone we know' part that makes the whole thing work. I may not have been a customer of Admiral Grain-grinders, but I'll bet I have friends that are.
    • Don't buy their products. Boycott.

      People keep suggesting things like this.

      Sony puts a rootkit on a CD? Boycott. Apple tells you you're holding your iPhone wrong? Boycott.

      Problem is it's nonsense. A boycott is the fiscal equivalence of silence. Your favorite restaurant changes the way they make ? Boycott is the equivalent of "go somewhere else." Well, that sucks. How about "tell the manager/owner you don't like the new recipe"? Try communicating that you're unhappy and why with them. Otherwise your absence means nothing. It's s

      • Don't buy their products. Boycott.

        People keep suggesting things like this.

        Sony puts a rootkit on a CD? Boycott. Apple tells you you're holding your iPhone wrong? Boycott.

        Problem is it's nonsense. A boycott is the fiscal equivalence of silence. Your favorite restaurant changes the way they make ? Boycott is the equivalent of "go somewhere else." Well, that sucks. How about "tell the manager/owner you don't like the new recipe"? Try communicating that you're unhappy and why with them. Otherwise your absence means nothing. It's statistically lost in seasonal variance, for instance.

        So, for this, send a letter to the company explaining your problem. Send them a "do not like" letter, basically. Boycott alone is meaningless.

        It's actually supposed to be a tactic used when they're NOT responding to their customer's wishes. But... no company seems to be listening to their customers? Do you seriously think sending GM a email, or even a snail mail letter is going to amount to anything other than going to /dev/null (or shredded paper)?

        Of course there is the possibility I and many of us are so convinced of this fact, we don't bother sending hate mail anymore, seems like such a waste of time and effort. Maybe a glut of hate mail wi

      • by Rick Zeman (15628)

        Don't buy their products. Boycott.

        People keep suggesting things like this.

        Sony puts a rootkit on a CD? Boycott. Apple tells you you're holding your iPhone wrong? Boycott.

        Problem is it's nonsense. A boycott is the fiscal equivalence of silence. Your favorite restaurant changes the way they make ? Boycott is the equivalent of "go somewhere else." Well, that sucks. How about "tell the manager/owner you don't like the new recipe"? Try communicating that you're unhappy and why with them. Otherwise your absence means nothing. It's statistically lost in seasonal variance, for instance.

        So, for this, send a letter to the company explaining your problem. Send them a "do not like" letter, basically. Boycott alone is meaningless.

        The problem with that in this case is then you have a relationship with them by their standard and are then bound by their TOS. :-)

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      Don't buy their products. Boycott.

      Corporations only listen to their bottom line, and we can make a lot of noise by simply not buying and encouraging everyone we know to do the same.

      Sadly, I was not a fan of General Mills' products to begin with. Fortunately, it'll make a boycott for me rather painless.

      But sending a message that this sort of behavior is unacceptable would be a good thing.

      This might work for some companies. Perhaps even most companies.

      But when you are as obtrusive as General Mills in the industry, somehow I feel the tactic of boycotting will have about as much impact as Donald Trump losing his wallet.

  • Municipalities should simply place a large tax on items sold with an arbitration clause. Then General Mills can watch what happens to there market share as people learn Tastee O's taste pretty damn similar to Cheerio's. And on another front, I guess minors will no longer be able to buy food because they are not old enough to enter binding contracts of any form?

  • It occurred to me, maybe if we, as in as many of us as possible, crafted asinine EULA's for communicating with each other, then sueing each other over breaches.. if we all started doing this, flooding the court system with all these retarded EULA's which we created just to be jerks to the system.. how do you think the legal system in the USA would respond?

    Could be interesting!

    • by PaddyM (45763)

      Have you no experience dealing with a Vogon?

      I think it is the opposite of interesting.

    • by mmell (832646)
      Ever heard of anybody being sued for filing frivolous lawsuits? If I'm not mistaken, the court itself can act as complainant in such an action.

      IANAL, so yes, I could very well be mistaken.

  • Small claims court (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @06:47PM (#46783643)

    I think small claims court is an under utilized weapon that we have. Everyone wants to sue big. We need a lot of people to start nickle and dime these companies in small claims court. In my state it costs $35 and claims could be up to $3000. The company can send only one person and it cannot be a lawyer. We can file in our local towns and they would have to travel there. Odds are, they will settle.

    • Agree 100%. Small claims courts are a powerful tool. we should use them more.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      I think small claims court is an under utilized weapon that we have. Everyone wants to sue big. We need a lot of people to start nickle and dime these companies in small claims court. In my state it costs $35 and claims could be up to $3000. The company can send only one person and it cannot be a lawyer. We can file in our local towns and they would have to travel there. Odds are, they will settle.

      The company makes $18 billion in sales and you want to "nickel and dime" them with $3000 claims.

      Yeah, they would settle. The CEO himself would show up just to visit small towns and pull that fine out of his wallet.

      Even if people somehow made a successful habit out of this, it would only end up written off as a "business expense", with some poor schlep flying all over the country as the company "litigation specialist" who merely hands out settlement checks all day long. Utterly pointless in the end, and z

  • Please, give me even more reason to not buy food-like substances. I also appreciate another reason to not use Facebook. It's time we support sustainable economies and the slow-food movement and leave prepared crap behind. These companese use legalese because their products are not real food anyway. Eat a healthy breakfast, chomp on an apple or banana if you don't have time. Just don't support these cancers to society. I am giving GNU Social a try, bring power back to the users, to the people.
  • Wasn't there a whole raft of decisions about the validity of 'click-wrap' licenses and EULA's? My memory's pretty rotten, but it seems to me that there were quite a few companies that were obliged to rethink their EULA's not that long ago for many of the same reasons that are present here.
  • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @07:37PM (#46784031)

    'nuf said.

    That's the only way to get companies to stop doing shit like this. Hit them where it hurts...the bottom line.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      'nuf said.

      That's the only way to get companies to stop doing shit like this. Hit them where it hurts...the bottom line.

      $18 billion in annual sales.

      Good fucking luck putting a dent in that bottom line. Or more to the point, finding enough consumers who actually give a shit.

      'nuff said.

      • by Rick Zeman (15628)

        'nuf said.

        That's the only way to get companies to stop doing shit like this. Hit them where it hurts...the bottom line.

        $18 billion in annual sales.

        Good fucking luck putting a dent in that bottom line. Or more to the point, finding enough consumers who actually give a shit.

        'nuff said.

        More the latter than the former. But I can do my part and sleep at night.

  • In Europe (this applies only to the 28 EU members and also EEA/EFTA members [including Switzerland]) member states this is against EU laws on consumer protection. I don't know if this is the case in the U.S since I don't understand the U.S legal system as it today.

    • by Teun (17872)
      A large section of the US population believes they will in their lifetime become multi-millionaires and know consumer protection laws would be contrary to their achieving said goal.

      By consequence they are against any ruling by the government that would endanger this beautiful American Dream.

  • by BLToday (1777712) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @08:03PM (#46784193)

    Thanks General Mills, that makes it pretty simple. I know what cereal I won't be buying.

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