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BlackBerry denies abnormally high return rate for Z10 phone

The company says reports that returns exceeded the sales rate in the U.S. are "absolutely false."

The BlackBerry Z10. Josh Miller/CNET

No, BlackBerry Z10 sales aren't falling off a cliff.

BlackBerry shares took a hit today after a few analysts criticized the tepid launch of the Z10 phone in the U.S., with one analyst claiming that the return rate was higher than the sales rate. Another said sales have dropped significantly at carrier stores.

BlackBerry, however, denied the claim, calling it "absolutely false." The company said the return rates in the U.S. and around the world have been in line or better than its internal expectations, as well as consistent with the return rates for other premium smartphones.

The performance of the Z10 is critical to the company's comeback plans, as it represents the first of a new generation of BlackBerry devices. The company has put a lot of resources behind the phone in the hope that it gets it back into the game.

Waiting in the wings is the BlackBerry Q10, which comes with the traditional physical keyboard, and is expected to launch as early as the end of this month. The Q10 is expected to draw in fans of the older BlackBerry design.

BlackBerry reported that it had shipped 1 million Z10 phones to its partners in the last quarter, but that didn't include U.S. sales, which began late last month. All eyes will be on BlackBerry's next earnings report for a more accurate tally of the Z10's performance.

Here's BlackBerry's full statement:

BlackBerry wishes to respond to media coverage today regarding speculation that there have been abnormally high levels of returns of BlackBerry Z10 devices. This is absolutely false. Our data shows that return rates for BlackBerry Z10 devices both in the U.S. and on a global basis are in line with or better than our expectations and are consistent with return rates for other premium smartphones in the market today.
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