The American Federal Trade Commission has fined Lumosity after they deceived consumers with unfounded claims that games helped cognitive performance.
The company told customers the “brain training” program could make them smarter and reduce or delay degenerative diseases associated with age and other serious health conditions.
Now its creator, Lumos Labs, has agreed to a settlement with the FTC that includes paying a $2 million fine (£1.4 million).
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Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, commented: “Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease. But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.”
According to the FTC’s complaint, the Lumosity program consists of 40 games purportedly designed to target and train specific areas of the brain. The company advertised that training on these games for 10 to 15 minutes three or four times a week could help users achieve their “full potential in every aspect of life.”
The FTC, however, stated the company did not have evidence to back those claims, which were widely promoted through email campaigns, social media posts and advertisements, including some that appeared on CNN.
According to its website, Lumosity has 70 million “brain trainers” across 182 countries.
The company must notify all users of the FTC settlement and offer them an easy method to cancel auto-pay subscription, which cost $14.99 (£10) per month or $299.95 (£204) for a lifetime of membership.
The proposed stipulated federal court order requires the company to have competent and reliable scientific evidence before making future claims about any benefits for real-world performance, age-related decline, or other health conditions.