RIM’s new BlackBerry Storm — the phone Verizon Wireless is hoping will keep people away from rival AT&T (T) and the iPhone this Christmas — is still back ordered. But is it a real hit? Or are people rushing to return the phone?
Verizon (VZ) has extended its return policy through Jan. 15, 2009 for all phones purchased since Nov. 16 — before the Storm went on sale. But we’ve heard anecdotally — and seen more evidence on Twitter — that many people are already taking their Storms back.
- RobertaMurphy: Just returned from Verizon store. Traded Blackberry Storm in on the Curve. So happy to have a responsive keyboard and speed back in my life.
- davematson: Returned my blackberry storm. A counter-assault against a rare consumerist impulse purchase on my part. And a crappy product, too.
- nessenj: Returned the BB Storm last night to VZW. They can have their piece of junk back.
- dquail: Returned my crappy Blackberry storm. what a piece of junk. Guy at verizon wasn’t surprised
- icheddy: Let me know how you like the Storm. I have a friend that got one and then returned it after a week. He didn’t like it much.
- debroby: I don’t have the Storm, but I’ve talk to several people who returned within the Verizon’s 30 day return window.
This is not a scientific sample. There’s also plenty of chatter on Twitter about people returning Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone or other BlackBerry gadgets, like the Bold. But it was surprisingly easy to quickly find those six people.
And it suggests that one stat we’ve heard from mobile blogger “Boy Genius” isn’t crazy: That 40% to 50% of Storms are being returned. If that’s true — we don’t know — it’s astonishingly high.
A Verizon rep declined to offer information about the Storm’s return rate or how it compares to other BlackBerry phones that Verizon sells. (Updated: See below.) And while we hope RIM (RIMM) will address some of the Storm’s lousy reviews during tomorrow’s earnings call — join us for live coverage starting at 4 p.m. ET — we’re not holding our breath.
One bit of good news: We’ve heard from several sources that the Storm has improved significantly since Verizon issued a software update about two weeks ago.
Update: Verizon, which declined to comment yesterday, now says “The Storm has the lowest return rate of any of our PDAs and at this point in its life cycle, it has the lowest return rate of any PDA we currently sell.” Full post here.