FTC orders Razer to pay $1.1m in refunds for Zephyr mask

UPDATE 30/04/24: Razer has since provided a statement to Esports Insider and the article was edited to include the statement in its entirety.

Razer Zephyr facemask
Image credit: Razer

Hardware and peripherals brand Razer is to pay more than $1m (~£800,000) in refunds and $100,000 (~£80,000) in civil penalties due to ‘falsely claiming’ that its line of face masks, called Zephyr, are N95-rated.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the masks were never subjected to testing and received no certification. The FTC proposed a settlement which, if agreed upon, will see the money paid used to refund customers who bought the masks.

ESI Lisbon 2024

The Razer Zephyr face masks were released in 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The masks received widespread attention due to their unusual appearance and the inclusion of RGB lighting and were sold as bundles with filters or separate products.

At the time, Razer claimed that the masks were N95-rated, meaning that the mask could filter up to 95% of harmful particles. To acquire an official N95 certification in the United States, a company must submit its products to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which the FTC claims Razer did not do.

According to the commission, the Department of Justice filed the Razer case upon ‘notification and referral’ from the FTC.

In the announcement, Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, commented: “These businesses falsely claimed, in the midst of a global pandemic, that their face mask was the equivalent of an N95 certified respirator.

“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.”

Razer reached out to Esports Insider with a statement on the FTC ruling: “We disagree with the FTC’s allegations and did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. It was never our intention to mislead anyone, and we chose to settle this matter to avoid the distraction and disruption of litigation and continue our focus on creating great products for gamers. Razer cares deeply about our community and is always looking to deliver technology in new and relevant ways.

“The Razer Zephyr was conceived to offer a different and innovative face-covering option for the community. The FTC’s claims against Razer concerned limited portions of some of the statements relating to the Zephyr. More than two years ago, Razer proactively notified customers that the Zephyr was not an N95 mask, stopped sales and refunded customers.”

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.