Editors Blog


Skaer-Tactics: Those Amish Sure Are Tricky...

March 6, 2008
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I have to admit, the full-page ad is attractive, and especially with the headline “Amish man’s new miracle idea helps home heat bills hit rock bottom.”

Another draw is a smaller headline within the ad: “How to get 2 free heaters.”

Don’t buy it.

Free is never free.

Did your local newspaper have this same full-page ad, touting the Heat Surge ™ miracle heater? If you want to find out more about this Heat Surge roll-n-Glow™ Amish Fireplace, go to www.amishfireplaces.com. Not sure about all of the company’s claims, but from a marketing standpoint, these people inspired a curious editor.

These “miracle” fireplaces have what’s being called the “Fireless Flame” technology, designed to give homeowners, as it states in the ad, “the peaceful flicker of a real fire but without any flames, fumes, smells, ashes, or mess.” And, all you have to do is plug in the thing.

The biggest claim it makes is that this piece of equipment uses about the same energy as a coffee maker - and how in the heck they can prove that, I’ll never know. Anyway, it is supposed to kick out an amazing 5,119 Btus. In the ad, it states “an onboard powerful hi-tech turbine silently forces hot air out into the room so you feel the bone-soothing heat instantly.”

Here’s a plus: It is UL-listed and comes with a full year money back guarantee.

What hit me most was the fact it said you could get two free heaters. Well, I called the national toll free hotline, but the kicker was that you had to pay $249 to cover the cost of the mantles for each “free” heater!

Huh?

I was not about to argue with the person on the other line, but let’s just say the wording in the ad is very deceiving! It exactly states: “All those who beat the 48 hour order deadline to cover the Amish made Fireplace Mantles and shipping get the Heat Surge miracle heaters free.”

Translation: You get the guts free. However, you have to pay for the material that covers the guts.

I’m just wondering if anyone out there saw this same ad - and, again, it was a full-page ad - in your local newspaper? Better yet, I’m wondering if anyone out there got sucked in and paid for one of these “free miracle” heaters that can, apparently, save on heating bills, roll anywhere, and is soft to the touch (meaning it won’t burn your hand when you touch it, unlike most portable heaters). I want to hear from you.

If enough of you got burned by this ad, legal action could be taken.

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Amish Mantle and Miracle Invention...

Marg Graham
August 20, 2008
Hi Mark. I have been researching this "miracle". A full page add just ran in the Owen Sound Sun Times - Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. I just about bought into the sales pitch. Then I started reading the comments on the internet. You know the old saying.. if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! They're not getting my money!

Amish miracle heater

Diane
September 15, 2008
After researching the heaters I know I will not be buying one, or is it two? There is not enough information for me to pay that much for an electric heater. Thank you for the info you had, wish it were more.

Amish Heater

Diane E.
September 22, 2008
There is a woman I work for that ordered hers on Monday and got it on Friday.They did a test on low and the meter didn't increase but it did on high.It will do fine for her since it sits right next to her chair but I'm not to sure if it will do the whole room on low.Time will tell I guess. The cherry mantle is $40 more and the remote about $13 more.

full page ad run in Peterborough

Sean Arthur
September 23, 2008
A full page for this 'product' ran in the Peterborough paper, The Examiner, tues sept 23 2008. Two things to find out. 1. which Amish community is supposedly making these mantels. 2. who is behind placing the adds? Similar products are available in local stores...

amish mantle &miracle heater

dottie jackson
October 18, 2008
are they being produced by the amish people? I keep thinking that they are being produced in china.

Amish mantle miracle heater

Marianne
October 23, 2008
Thanks for the information. I have seen the ad many times in USA Today and recently in the Parade magazine that we get with our Sunday Union-Trib. I was about to give this info. to our daughter, but decided to research it first-- and I'm glad I did. Thanks.

Amish mantle miracle

cozy in dc
November 3, 2008
The ad was fine to me. First of all, eventhough it said 'free' I really didn't expect to get something for nothing. I agree it is a misleading ad but that's why you have to read everything and not just stop at the first couple of paragraphs. I understood after reading the ad that the heater was free but that the frame would cost $249. Nothing in life is free except the air you breathe. After researching other electric fireplaces, this is a good price. Electric fireplaces are running anywhere from $400 to over $1000 bucks. It's ok for the money. I don't know about the miracle part but then I didn't expect one.

Amish Miracle Heater

Linda
December 26, 2008
The ad came out in today's (12-26-08) Press Democrat in Santa Rosa CA. I was curious enough to check it out online. Glad I did. Thanks, Mark, for letting folks know things are not necessarily as they appear to be.

Amish Heaters

Polly
February 2, 2009
Was ready to place my order....and, started thinking about your Skaer-Tactiks and I got second thoughts. I don't think these fireplaces would provide a nice looking piece of furniture .... and, supply the proper source of heat. I'm questioning the location of building these items. We had an Amish storage building built in Ohio, and the work was one to be proud of.......and, this fireplace is one of many questions????

Amish Mantle and heater

Susan Black "The doubting Thomas of the Family"
February 11, 2009
I think if you read between the lines, it makes sense. The mantles may very well be made by the Amish. That doesn't mean that they are the ones selling this contraption. Anyone who wholesales heaters could buy the mantles, add the heaters, and package up the 2for price. You can buy an electric heater from anywhere from %25.00 to $500.00. I doubt they are the $500.00 ones. The picture on the face of the mantle is probably just that. A picture of the flames. It is "Fireless" and looks like a "flame" with a tiny lightbulb behind it that flickers through. So think real hard, what you're getting is a hand made "box" with a flame design that flickers from a light bulb, and a heater of questionable capacity....even the size is distorted in the picture. The one being worked on looks to be about 3 ft. high.......next to it is one of a different scale looking to be about 18 inches high..... I pegged it right away as one more of those come on's. This guy with the heaters, was smart enough to buy, or get the Amish to make the "mantles", maybe $30.00 worth of lumber........ Someone let me know if I'm wrong.... Just a hunch.

Amish Mantle and heater

Susan Black "The doubting Thomas of the Family"
February 11, 2009
I think if you read between the lines, it makes sense. The mantles may very well be made by the Amish. That doesn't mean that they are the ones selling this contraption. Anyone who wholesales heaters could buy the mantles, add the heaters, and package up the 2for price. You can buy an electric heater from anywhere from %25.00 to $500.00. I doubt they are the $500.00 ones. The picture on the face of the mantle is probably just that. A picture of the flames. It is "Fireless" and looks like a "flame" with a tiny lightbulb behind it that flickers through. So think real hard, what you're getting is a hand made "box" with a flame design that flickers from a light bulb, and a heater of questionable capacity....even the size is distorted in the picture. The one being worked on looks to be about 3 ft. high.......next to it is one of a different scale looking to be about 18 inches high..... I pegged it right away as one more of those come on's. This guy with the heaters, was smart enough to buy, or get the Amish to make the "mantles", maybe $30.00 worth of lumber........ Someone let me know if I'm wrong.... Just a hunch.

I've seen one

David Clow
July 5, 2009
My aunt & uncle in Florida purchased 2 of them. They work great in their home, keeping in mind that freezing temps are rare. However, it'll take a 50 degree room to the 70's pretty quickly. Anyone who is concerned about the "free" simply has too read the ad. Seemed pretty clear to me. Common sense hould tell you they can't be free. By the way, the flame looks pretty real. I'm getting one for this winter.

Believe it or NOT

Susan Martin
October 25, 2009
I was going to purchase 2 of these heaters for my family living in Indiana. Since I was in business for 25 yrs & dealt with the Amish all that time ,I trusted the workmanship to be great. Since reading all the skeptical remarks you'all have said I have learned absoulutely nothing bad about the whole deal.I will let you'all know after I purchase 2 of them. By the way I would have 1 myself if I didn't live in Ft Myers Beach,

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