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Razer, Inc. penalized into making payment of over $1.1 million for falsely representing the effectiveness and performance of their alleged "N95-Grade" Zephyr Face Masks


The defendants started off by deceptively promoting their Zephyr masks as N95 or N95-equivalent masks that would safeguard consumers against COVID-19.



In a recent announcement, the Federal Trade Commission revealed that the sellers of a face mask called the Zephyr, claiming to be N95-grade, have agreed to a proposed settlement. As part of the settlement, they will be paying over $1.1 million to provide full refunds to customers across the country.


Additionally, Razer, Inc. and its affiliated entities involved in the development, marketing, and sale of the Zephyr will be prohibited from making false or unsupported health claims related to COVID-19 protective equipment. They will also be required to pay a civil penalty of $100,000.


The FTC revealed that Razer marketed the Zephyr masks as N95-grade without actually sending them for testing to the FDA or NIOSH, and they were never officially certified as N95. Allegations state that Razer ceased the misleading advertising only after facing backlash from the public and media. The Department of Justice took action after being informed by the FTC.


“These businesses falsely claimed, in the midst of a global pandemic, that their face mask was the equivalent of an N95 certified respirator,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “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 complaint alleges the defendants deceptively advertised Razer’s Zephyr mask as an N95-equivalent, COVID-protective product. They offered the standard Razer Zephyr, consisting of one Zephyr mask and three sets of filters, for $99.99; the Razer Zephyr Starter Pack, consisting of one Zephyr mask and 33 sets of filters, for $149.99; and a Razer Zephyr Filter Pack, containing 10 sets of filters, for $29.99.



In October 2021, the defendants kicked off their sales of the Razer Zephyr and the Razer Zephyr Filter Pack to U.S. consumers. These products were made available both online and in three physical stores located in Seattle, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. As the month progressed, they introduced the Razer Zephyr Starter Pack to U.S. consumers through exclusive online "drops."


The defendants started off by deceptively promoting their Zephyr masks as N95 or N95-equivalent masks that would safeguard consumers against COVID-19. These misleading advertisements were predominantly found online, spanning across various platforms such as the defendants' website, social media posts, and videos on TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Discord, and YouTube.


The lawsuit claims that the defendants falsely advertised the Razer Zephyr as a mask equivalent to the N95, which is approved by NIOSH and meets its standards. According to the definition, N95 masks must effectively filter out a minimum of 95 percent of airborne particles ranging from .1 to .3 micrometers in size, with even greater filtration for larger particles. Although respirators and masks serve different functions, N95 respirators are often colloquially referred to as N95 masks.


The defendants advertised the Zephyr mask as an N95 facemask without ever obtaining approval from NIOSH for certification. Despite their claims, Razer did not submit the facemask for any type of certification, and NIOSH never certified it as an N95 respirator. Additionally, the defendants did not seek permission to use the term N95 in their marketing materials.

DA

The order presented to settle the complaint effectively tackles every alleged violation of the FTC Act. Initially, it prohibits Razer from making any claims, without prior FDA approval, that their products can prevent or reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, lessen the severity or duration of the virus, or provide any cure, mitigation, or treatment for COVID-19.



The suggested order further bars the defendants from making any claims about the health advantages, effectiveness, performance, safety, or potential side effects of protective products and services (as defined in the suggested order), unless they possess credible and dependable scientific evidence to substantiate such assertions. Additionally, the suggested order also forbids the Razer defendants from engaging in specific misleading marketing and advertising practices, such as falsely implying any affiliation, endorsement, certification, clearance, authorization, approval, registration, or connection with any government entity.


Furthermore, the order explicitly forbids them from engaging in any misleading practices by utilizing government logos or trademarks to create a false sense of affiliation. It also prohibits them from making false assertions about their products meeting government-established standards, when in reality they do not.


Additionally, the order mandates that they must not misrepresent any crucial information to consumers, including the total cost of the product and any aspect of its performance, efficacy, or other key characteristics.


In the end, the ruling enforces a $100,000 fine on the accused parties and mandates them to hand over $1,071,254.33 to the United States, mirroring Razer's earnings from the masks. The FTC plans to utilize this sum to reimburse deceived customers, ensuring full refunds for those who bought the misleadingly advertised items.




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