Razer ordered to cough up refunds after false N95 claims

Gaming peripheral manufacturer Razer has agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after allegedly misleading customers about the effectiveness of their Zephyr face masks. The FTC alleges that Razer falsely advertised the Zephyr as an N95-grade mask, offering protection against COVID-19 it couldn’t deliver.

As part of a proposed settlement, Razer will be required to pay $1.1 million in refunds to consumers who purchased the Zephyr mask. According to the FTC, Razer never obtained the necessary certifications to make these claims. N95 masks must undergo rigorous testing via multiple government agencies, and that wasn’t the case for Razer’s face mask.

Razer Zephyr.
Razer’s 2021 mask release sure looked cool, but it also felt quite opportunistic. Image via Razer

Though negative coverage and consumer backlash forced Razer to dial down on these claims in 2021, it didn’t stop them from planning a Pro version of its mask that was marketed as being able to amplify users’ voice. The FTC’s report further details that Razer’s marketing efforts advertised the Zephyr masks as N95-equivalent, specifically mentioning COVID-19 protection in its major features. These claims were prominently displayed across the company’s marketing website as well as social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube.

Breaking down the refunds, Razer was actually fined $100,000 and the rest is Razer’s revenue from the mask sales. The $100,000 fine may seem insignificant for a large corporation like Razer, but the negative press and the public backlash may tarnish their brand image.

Razer has cultivated a reputation for putting gamers first over the years, but many are now suggesting this episode paints a picture of prioritizing profits over the wellbeing of its core audience. At the time of writing, Razer no longer lists the Zephyr Mask on its website and the product page leads users to a landing page.

If you purchased a Razer Zephyr mask, you may be eligible for a full refund. The FTC is expected to announce details on how to claim your money back soon.

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