High returns of the BlackBerry Z10 in the US ‘absolutely false’

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Manufacturer vigorously denies claim made by research firm Detwiler Fenton, and is seeking a US and Canadian review of the report

BlackBerry has denied reports there have been abnormally high returns of its Z10 smartphone in the US, labelling them “absolutely false”.

Research firm Detwiler Fenton claimed some retailers are seeing a significant increase in returning the Z10 because they find the interface intuitive. It added: “In several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before.”

BlackBerry vigorously denied the claim,  stating it was “absolutely false”. It said Detwiler Fenton refused to make either its report to investors or its methodology available to it, even after its rejection of the company’s claims.

The manufacturer said it would now seek a review by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Ontario Securities Commission of the “false and misleading report”.

BlackBerry president and CEO Thorsten Heins said: “Sales of the BlackBerry Z10 are meeting expectations and the data we have collected from our retail and carrier partners demonstrates that customers are satisfied with their devices. Return rate statistics show that we are at or below our forecasts and right in line with the industry.  To suggest otherwise is either a gross misreading of the data or a willful manipulation. Such a conclusion is absolutely without basis and BlackBerry will not leave it unchallenged.”

The manufacturer’s chief legal officer Steve Zipperstein said: “These materially false and misleading comments about device return rates in the United States harm BlackBerry and our shareholders, and we call upon the appropriate authorities in Canada and the United States to conduct an immediate investigation.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion about the merits of the many competing products in the smartphone industry, but when false statements of material fact are deliberately purveyed for the purpose of influencing the markets a red line has been crossed.”

BlackBerry’s share price fell 7.88 per cent yesterday to close at $13.52 on the Nasdaq Stock Market at close yesterday, its biggest decline since February 13. However, today it rose to $13.94.

The Z10, the first device to run the BlackBerry 10 operating system, was unveiled on January 30 and went on sale in the UK the following day. It went on sale in the US on March 22.

BlackBerry’s second BB10 device and the first on the platform to feature a QWERTY keypad, the Q10, is due for global release later this month.

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