<UPDATE>
Finnish electronics store Verkkokauppa.com provides us with return rates of their products. Therefore we now know that return rates are:
1.34%
for Lumia 800
2.33%
for Nokia N9
and… (drum roll)
4.76%
for Pureview 808
Keep this in mind when you read over and over the “Nokia’s biggest return rates ever” sentence.
</UPDATE>

Once again after Ahonen’s claims. He uses high return rates of Windows Phones as a root cause of the global resales boycott. And this is something he has been going on for lot:

“Lumia is having Nokia’s biggest return rates ever seen!!!” [1]

“it is setting a Nokia record in return rates by dissatisfied customers” [2]

“the return rates of Lumia are the highest ever recorded by any Nokia smartphones” [3]

“being rejected by consumers and witnessing Nokia’s biggest return rates ever.” [4]

EDIT:
This is not me picking up on old stuff. This is fresh from Tomi:

the Lumia line had the worst return rates and held the worst resale value of any Nokia branded smartphones ever seen.” [8] August 1st 2012 and still no base for the claim!!!

It feels as if he is certain about this, but unfortunately only case I can find where he has provided a source for the claim is this:

Lumia is being returned at catastrophic levels, such as we hear from Russia right now” [5]

This is where Mr. Ahonen refers to Eldar Murtazin article in Russian. [6] (I have to give Mr. Ahonen credit on his skills with cyrillic alphabets – I was lost with that article!)
Now the startup is bad if you expect to find truth here. There is no reason to expect objective data from Mr. Murtazin when it’s related to Nokia, but since we have the page let’s still try to get something out of that. Google Translate gives us at least rough view on what is going on in the article – or then not. Frankly, I could find only one case where there is a mention about return rates and it’s this one (I’m now taking the Google translations as is and apologize my lack of skills in Russian):
“It is essential that the buyer was happy and did not return the phone, otherwise the seller will lose your bonus.”
Fair enough. I think we can all agree on that one. But it’s not saying there would be high return rates for WP in any form, it’s just one plausible reason for low sales.
Edit: I have to give credit to loyal reader here. “CN” posted a comment here. My previous text still stays as it is in line with his findings, but he does rather interesting notice on the dates:

  1. It’s still only reference from Tomi Ahonen so far.
  2. It is highly unlikely that those returned devices would’ve been Lumias as they were sold for so short time.
  3. There was no english version available when Mr. Ahonen wrote his blog.

That was not really helping Tomi Ahonen here. Thanks CN for nice additional info.
In contrast, I tried to Google around the web for return rates of Windows Phone, return rates of Nokia Lumia, whatever would be even slightly close to subject. I get exactly three types of pages:

  1. Blog posts of Tomi Ahonen
  2. Webpage referring to blog posts of Tomi Ahonen
  3. One article from May 2011, saying “In the UK one of the heads of a mobile operator company said to me a couple of weeks ago that they’ve seen the lowest return rates on Windows Phone of any phone.” [7]

So truth on my behalf is that I can not find any direct evidence on either direction. The generic data indicates the high rates, but it all results to articles of Tomi Ahonen, which makes them worth of one single reference multiplied around the web. I find this even more alerting due to the fact that discussion forums were filled with “HAS HIGHEST RETURN RATES EVER FOR A NOKIA PHONE” comments…
…only to refer to Ahonen’s Blog.

I have to reckon Ahonen IS one of the top influencers in mobile area. I wish he would use his powers for some good instead.

Now I challenge you Tomi Ahonen: Where is your proof on high return rates of Windows Phone?
I will gladly correct this posting the minute I get to see some. (Assuming the proof can stand light of day, that is.) Until that I’m going to call that claim also FUD and intentional push of misinformation to the masses.

EDIT:

Just to give contrast to “worst return rates and held the worst resale value of any Nokia branded smartphones ever seen“, [8] I’m proposing this MyNokiaBlog article (about Nokia N97):

http://mynokiablog.com/2012/04/23/reader-generated-n97-and-symbian3-in-hindsight/

Especially interesting is this one:

I got to know the staff at my local West London Carphone Warehouse (nearest Nokia Service Point) pretty well and in this largish store they had had every N97 bar one that they had sold returned by customers – I’ll just repeat that so it sinks in for the fanbois EVERY SINGLE N97 except one sold by a large West London phone shop had been returned because the customers were so dissatisfied with it – and according to the store staff 9 in 10 of them went on to buy the new iPhone 3GS.

Now how bad return rates does Lumia line have if it has “the highest ever recorded by any Nokia smartphones”? [3]

REFERENCES:

[1] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/04/these-steps-or-nokia-is-no-more-the-way-back-to-profits-and-growth.html

[2] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/04/certain-road-to-death-and-definition-of-insanity.html

[3] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/05/what-do-we-now-know-after-nokia-shareholder-meeting-that-the-future-is-far-worse-than-we-thought.html

[4] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/06/smartphone-markets-shares-in-2012-some-relevant-illustrations-to-understand-the-bloodbath.html

[5] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/04/nokia-profit-warning-again-here-is-what-you-need-to-know-why-it-is-actually-far-worse.html

[6] http://mobile-review.com/articles/2012/wp7-1.shtml

[7] http://www.knowyourmobile.com/features/909796/microsoft_volume_shipments_of_new_nokia_handsets_in_the_new_year.html

[8] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/08/lenovo-so-the-rumors-start-some-idle-speculation-about-nokia-buyers-and-reasons.html

Guideline for commenting:
I hate the way Tomi Ahonen deletes criticizing comments from his blog. However, I plan to follow three of his principles: I’ll delete comments that are

  1. Personal insults to someone
  2. Duplicates
  3. Spam

Everything else gets to stay. And I try to comment back. Just wait.

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