Razer is in trouble with the FTC over their Zephyr mask

Posted on May 2, 2024

Remember the pandemic? Mask wearing? Months-long lockdowns? (Though in saying that, there’s still a pandemic, and we should still wear masks even though it’s not as pandemonic as it was a few years ago) Well, a certain tech company is most likely in pandemonium now: Razer, a company popular with the gamers, now owes over $1.1 million (USD) in refunds. Why?

It turns out their RGB N95 gamer masks, titled Zephyr, aren’t actually N95-certified since the company allegedly never sent the mask in for testing. In a formal complaint, United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stated that the company only backed down from the claims after “negative press coverage and consumer outrage”. And not… you know, how illegal it is to make false claims.

Back in 2020, Razer’s CEO Min-Liang Tan announced in a now-deleted post that they would donate 1M masks to health professionals all over the globe. We joked about if Razer would make masks with “Chroma lighting customisation”. But, like Apollo’s gift of prophecy, in 2021 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Razer announced Project Hazel. In the reveal video published via GameSpot, it’s stated that “the masks are classified as surgical N95 respirators”. What makes this extra hilarious (given today’s news) is one of the co-hosts also mentioning that it’s not “…something that’s just slapped on there, it’s something you can rely upon.”

Razer’s downfall was a half an hour video from tech-YouTuber, Naomi Wu. Wu said that while the mask looks great, it doesn’t pass any certification. Razer has put in the N95 filter material that most cloth masks use for added protection. It has promise, but the rubber seal can come off with slight agitation, and the filters feel like you’re “breathing through a straw”. Two months since posting the video, Wu made a post claiming that Razer would be removing any mention of N95 from marketing promotions.

Yet, days earlier, Razer announced that they’d be making the Zephyr Pro. The difference? A voice amplifier. That’s pretty much it. In a report by The Verge on the FTC filing, they claim that in the end, the Pro version never came to fruition. Due to this fallout, Razer finally acknowledged the (lack of) efficacy the Zephyr masks had. Stating that the masks “…are not medical devices, respirators, surgical masks… and are not meant to be used in medical or clinical settings”. The FTC’s press release states that Razer “falsely marketed” the masks by claiming that they’d “protect consumers from contracting COVID-19”. The N95-certification claim was also a lie, as to be N95 certified your respirators must “filter at least 95% of ambient air particles between .1 and .3 micrometres in size”.


Razer also never submitted the masks for approval from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), nor requested or received permission to use the N95 term in the marketing and selling of the masks. Because of this and due to the violations, the FTC have hit Razer with penalties. They’re banned from making claims that their products prevent or reduce COVID-19 transmissions, and they cannot represent the benefits or safety of protective goods and services unless they have scientific evidence.

On top of that, Razer cannot misrepresent goods or services connected to any government agency in their marketing and advertisement, or use any government logo or trademark when promoting products. Finally, Razer will have to give the FTC over $1 million USD in order to provide refunds, as well as a $100,000 USD civil penalty. For further details from the FTC, you can read the 32-page complaint here.

From an idea that seemed to be a Cyberpunk dream, turned into a product of misinformation. I guess it does feel somewhat fitting of the Cyberpunk genre. Maybe Razer will learn from their mistakes, but who knows? This does teach a valuable lesson: don’t put your health in the hands of tech companies.