Maker of Brain Games Lumosity Settles FTC Charges

Lumos Labs, the creators of Lumosity, will pay $2 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges.

Lumos Labs, the creators of Lumosity, will pay $2 million to settle the alleged Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges of deceiving consumers with claims that Lumosity games could sharpen performance at work in school, and reduce or delay cognitive impairment associated with age and other serious health conditions. 

The Lumosity program is comprised of 40 games intended to target and train specific areas of the brain. The company claimed that training through these games for 10-15 minutes 3 or 4 times a week could help consumers achieve their “full potential in every aspect of life.” Their online and mobile app subscription options ranged from monthly ($14.95) to lifetime ($299.95) memberships. 

The Company stated that the following claims associated with Lumosity training were backed by scientific data, however no such data existed: 

  • Improve performance on everyday tasks, in school, at work, and in athletics; 
  • Delay age-related cognitive decline and protect against mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease; 
  • Reduce cognitive impairment associated with health conditions, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, ADHD, the side effects of chemotherapy, and Turner syndrome

The FTC complaint also cited the defendants failing to disclose that some user testimonials featured on the website were solicited through contests that promised prizes such as a free iPad, a lifetime Lumosity subscription, and a round-trip to San Francisco.

Subscribers who signed up for auto-renewal plans between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2014 will be provided with easy means to cancel their subscription and avoid future billing. In addition, the court order requires the Company and individual defendants to have reliable scientific data before making future claims about any benefits for real-world performance, age-related decline, or other health conditions.

“Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.”

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This article originally appeared on MPR