BlackBerry wants probe of ‘false’ report about BlackBerry Z10 return rates

12 Apr 2013

The BlackBerry Z10 smartphone

BlackBerry is to ask securities regulators in Canada and the US to review what it says is a “false and misleading” report about retail return rates for its new Z10 smartphone.

The smartphone maker is to make its formal request to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Ontario Securities Commission in the next several days, BlackBerry chief legal officer Steve Zipperstein said.

BlackBerry said research and investment firm Detwiler Fenton had said Z10 smartphones were being returned in unusually high numbers, and had refused to share its report or methodology with BlackBerry.

“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,” Zipperstein said.

“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 president and CEO Thorsten Heins said BlackBerry Z10 sales are meeting expectations and the data the company has collected from its retail and carrier partners indicates 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,” Heins said. 

“To suggest otherwise is either a gross misreading of the data or a wilful manipulation. Such a conclusion is absolutely without basis and BlackBerry will not leave it unchallenged.” 

The BlackBerry Z10 went on sale in Ireland on 1 March, in Canada on 9 February, and in the US in mid-March.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic