Instead, any dispute would have to be resolved through binding arbitration.
I generally hate the little "accept these terms" policies anyway: they stop you in your tracks when you're trying to do something else, and they're in tiny tiny print (so you know the company is counting on your not reading them carefully, and you also know that a fast one is being pulled on you). But this seemed particularly egregious.
The company insisted later that day that their intentions had been misconstrued. On a General Mills blog, the external communications director wrote the new terms "kick in only when you engage [with the company online] and agree [to the terms], but even then, nothing in the policy precludes a consumer from pursuing a claim." (full post, here) Furthermore:
No one is precluded from suing us by purchasing our products at a store, and no one is precluded from suing us when they “like” one of our Facebook pages. That is just a mischaracterization.
But should an individual agree to the terms, they would then apply. That’s the point. But even then, the policy doesn’t preclude a consumer from pursuing a claim. It merely determines the forum.
Wait: you can sue, but we've already determined that the forum is binding arbitration? Does that sound like a suit to you? Me neither.
As Strom wrote in a follow-up article in today's New York Times, lawyers have commented on the "exceptionally broad" terms of the new policy.
Is it enforceable? This will be up to the courts to determine. Very soon.