BlackBerry has asked regulating bodies to formally investigate what it says is a “false and misleading report” claiming BlackBerry Z10 returns are in some locations exceeding sales.
The claim, made by Detwiler Fenton analyst Jeff Johnston, suggested that “key retail partners have seen a significant increase in Z10 returns to the point where, in several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before”.
That story emerged on Thursday, and unsurprisingly was widely reported, although BlackBerry had questioned its validity almost immediately.
Earlier in the week a survey had revealed that 83% of respondents in a recent US survey didn't know that BlackBerry 10 had launched at all, while a separate survey revealed 71.4% of respondents said there was nothing that could make them get a BlackBerry, versus 31.3% for an Android phone and 19.7% for an iPhone.
There's not much BlackBerry can do about the surveys, unflattering though they might appear on the surface of things, but as for the claims of high returns, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins and the company's Chief Legal Officer Steve Zipperstein are on the warpath.
“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,” Heins responded in a press release.
“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.”
You tell 'em, Thor (can we call him that?).
Over to Zipperstein: “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.”
For the record, here's the specific claim they're objecting so strongly to: “We believe key retail partners have seen a significant increase in Z10 returns to the point where, in several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before.”