BBB Warns of Deceptive ‘Free Heater’ Advertising

January 19, 2011
Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is alerting consumers to Heat Surge LLC, an Ohio-based business that has been peppering the country with misleading advertisements claiming consumers can receive a free heater.

The ads, which have appeared on television, in local publications across the nation, and in national publications, such as Newsweek, claim consumers can receive a free heater if they’re one of the first 17,247 people to call to beat the company’s order deadline.

“The free claims for the product in the ad are false,” said Kim States, BBB President. “The company also states a time sensitive deadline that adds pressure for individuals to act, and many consumers have told BBB that they regret placing that order.”
Complaints regarding service, advertising, product issues, and a host of other concerns have been filed with BBB. Consumers that called for their free heater tell BBB they were shocked to find themselves caught in a sales pitch about materials for the heater case and finishes used and ended up being charged about $300 to $400 hundred dollars.
Use of the word “free” in advertising comes with clear guidelines for businesses and is outlined in BBB's code of advertising. The word “free” can only be used in advertising when the advertiser is offering an unconditional gift. If there is a cost to receive the free gift, the advertiser must clearly and conspicuously disclose the conditions.
“BBB frowns on deceptive advertising tactics,” States said
The BBB’s National Advertising Division (NAD) reviews national advertising for truthfulness, accuracy and to foster public confidence in the credibility of advertising. BBB’s often cite advertisers for their claims and businesses are asked to substantiate their offers promptly to the BBB. If you have an advertising claim that you’d like the BBB to review, you can send it to