We have talked quite a bit about the internet and tech companies, and what they mean in the business world. Today, we will look at it from a slightly different angle: the strategies that businesses may use when handling their online presence.
This idea of “forced arbitration,” which General Mills calls binding arbitration, started when a judge refused to dismiss a case against General Mills. Implementing such a strategy was strengthened with a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that allowed companies to block consumers from “joining together in a single arbitration.”
Obviously, this is a critical issue. On the one hand, businesses would be wise to use every legal element they can to protect their business. But in this case, it does seem like a sneaky strategy that will only upset consumers. We’re talking about food items with General Mills. Under this policy, it is conceivable that a consumer would be unable to pursue litigation against the company if they mislabeled a product and someone died of an allergic reaction while eating said product.
It all goes back to the idea that businesses need to have a firm grasp of the laws that apply to them, and the legal implications of the rules and policies they roll out.
Source: New York Times, “When ‘Liking’ a Brand Online Voids the Right to Sue,” Stephanie Strom, April 16, 2014