Razer made a million dollars selling a mask with RGB, and the FTC is not pleased

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Razer allegedly misled customers by saying its cyberpunk-style face mask was N95 grade.

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Razer will have to fork over $1.1 million in refunds to customers who purchased its RGB-clad Zephyr face mask, according to a proposed settlement announced by the Federal Trade Commission on Monday. The company claimed the face mask used N95-grade filters, but the FTC alleges Razer never submitted them for testing and only “stopped the false advertising following negative press coverage and consumer outrage at the deceptive claims.”

Razer first released its Zephyr face mask in 2021 as a nifty, cyberpunk-esque alternative to traditional face masks worn during the covid-19 pandemic. Although Razer initially marketed the $100 mask as having N95-grade filters, it scrubbed any mention of the grade after YouTuber Naomi Wu tore down the mask and found that it wasn’t N95 certified after all. N95 masks are supposed to filter out at least 95 percent of airborne particles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Razer also planned on launching a $150 Zephyr Pro with a voice amplification feature, but that never panned out. At the time, Razer addressed claims about its Zephyr masks, saying in a post on X that “the Razer Zephyr and Zephyr Pro are not medical devices, respirators, surgical masks, or personal protective equipment (PPE) and are not meant to be used in medical or clinical settings.”

The FTC alleges that Razer made misleading statements about the mask on social media and product pages and also claims Razer never had it tested by the Food and Drug Administration or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The Verge reached out to Razer with a request for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.

“These businesses falsely claimed, in the midst of a global pandemic, that their face mask was the equivalent of an N95 certified respirator,” Samuel Levine, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “The FTC will continue to hold accountable businesses that use false and unsubstantiated claims to target consumers who are making decisions about their health and safety.”

The FTC’s proposed settlement also requires Razer to pay a civil penalty of $100,000 and bans the company from making “COVID-related health misrepresentations” and other “unsubstantiated health claims.” So, if you purchased one of these masks, you might be getting your money back.

This post was originally published on The Verge

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