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BlackBerry goes nuclear over 'false' Z10 returns report

BlackBerry is so upset that an analyst said more Z10s are being returned by customers than are being bought, it's ordered an investigation.

BlackBerry is so upset that an analyst said more Z10 phones were being returned to shops by customers than were being bought every day that it's ordered an investigation.

The report, by Detwiler Fenton's Jeff Johnston, said: "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."

This was widely reported in the US tech press late yesterday, with BlackBerry issued a statement calling the report "false and misleading". Return rates for the phone, CEO Thorsten Heins says, "are at or below our forecasts and right in line with the industry."

"Such a conclusion is absolutely without basis and BlackBerry will not leave it unchallenged," the BlackBerry boss fumed.

The Canadian phone-maker has now requested the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Ontario Securities Commission, which regulate stock markets, investigate the report on the grounds the analyst refused to reveal how it came to its conclusion. It's a serious matter to try to manipulate share prices with false information, and equally serious to accuse someone else of doing so.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion about the merits of the many competing products in the smart phone industry, but when false statements of material fact are deliberately purveyed for the purpose of influencing the markets a red line has been crossed," said BlackBerry's chief lawyer Steve Zipperstein.

BlackBerry has sold 1 million Z10s so far, turning a decent profit, but the company's sales are down on last year -- although the Z10 didn't reach the US until last month. Even so, early indications were that it hadn't made much of an impact Stateside.

Whenever we've written about the Z10 not selling well, we've had a bunch of people commenting that they love it. Does that match your experience, or have you had to return yours? Do you think BlackBerry's in trouble? Let me know in the comments below, or over on our best-selling Facebook page.