04/12/2013 19:36 EDT | Updated 06/12/2013 05:12 EDT

BlackBerry disputes 'misleading' report of smartphone returns

BlackBerry will file a formal complaint with Canadian and U.S. authorities about a "false and misleading" analyst report that alleged consumers are returning the company's new Z10 touchscreen smartphones in large numbers.

On Thursday, analyst firm Detwiler Fenton alleged in a research note to clients that customers were returning their Z10 units in abnormally high numbers to U.S. carrier Verizon.

In several cases, the returns exceeded sales, analyst Jeff Johnson wrote in the note.

Detwiler issued a press statement on Friday to clarify that "neither the research analyst for any officer or director of [the company] has any financial interest in BlackBerry," a pushback against any suggestion the company was financially profiting from short-selling or betting against BlackBerry shares.

The research firm refused to make either its report to investors or its methodology available to BlackBerry, even after the company said the firm’s findings were "absolutely false."

- A by-the-numbers look at how Canadians use their smartphones

BlackBerry claims it and its shareholders have been harmed, and will call for an immediate investigation by authorities.

"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," said BlackBerry chief legal officer Steve Zipperstein.

BlackBerry shares lost more than eight per cent in trading on the TSX on Thursday. On Friday, they had regained a bit of that, up more than two per cent to trade just over $14.

"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."

Neither organization would comment on whether it planned to take action, with the SEC saying it never confirms whether an investigation is ongoing, while the OSC did not immediately have a comment.