BlackBerry Tour 9630 returns high as 50% claims analyst [UPDATED]

According to research done by analyst David Eller at TownHall Investment Research, return rates of BlackBerry Tour 9630 handsets to Sprint and Verizon might be as high as 50-percent.  The most frequent complaint is believed to be problems with the QWERTY smartphone's trackball, but somewhat bizarrely Eller also claims that people are "complaining about the sensitivity of the touch screen".  We'd suggest that's probably because the Tour doesn't actually have a touchscreen.

The trackball issue appears to manifest as extreme undersensitivity, with almost frantic scrolling required to move the on-screen cursor only minimally.  There are some reports of multiple replacement handsets showing the same issues, while others are resorting to DIY modifications in order to address the problem.

Sprint released a comment suggesting that while an early fault was identified, the carrier "worked closely with our partners at RIM to resolve the problem quickly"; Verizon, meanwhile, has not yet commented, and nor have RIM.  According to the analyst, Verizon are looking to take out their frustration on RIM by prioritizing future rival devices: "Verizon is angry about this recurring trackball problem and is telling its retailers to expect strong support for the new Motorola phone," Eller claims.

UPDATE : Verizon has responded to our inquiry regarding this issue.

Early on there was an issue that affected a small percentage the early production units — far less than industry norms. The issue was detected early, addressed immediately and is no longer an issue. Returns on this device are some of the lowest among any of our smart phones and far less than what was referenced in that study.

[via Gear Diary]