BlackBerry returns not sky high, says analyst

While regulators investigate the legitimacy of claims that BlackBerry’s new Z10 is experiencing higher-than-average return rates – something that the company vehemently denies – at least one firm is coming to the Canadian smartphone maker’s defence.

In a report released today, Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek backs BlackBerry’s claims that the new model is on track and abnormal return rates are not an issue. He notes the device is selling well in Asia.

“Our checks indicate that builds for Q10 have kicked into high gear and led overall BB10 builds to increase from 2 million a month to 2 million plus,” he wrote. “Anecdotal Asia demand checks were positive and U.S. checks indicate that return rates are not abnormally high.”

Last week, Boston-based financial services firm Detwiler Fenton & Co. claimed U.S. retailers were experiencing an increased rate of return for Z10 handsets, in some cases with returns exceeding sales. It reported users were finding the interface unintuitive and difficult to use. The report caused BlackBerry stock to plummet.

BlackBerry disputed the report, calling it “a gross misreading of the data or a willful manipulation.” It has called for both Canadian and American officials to review the report.