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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