Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u have suspended sales of Sony Ericsson’s
flagship smartphone Satio due to a high number of customer returns.
The suspension came into effect late last week and is understood
to be related to software problems.
The move is a huge blow to Sony Ericsson’s push to regain
market share and its attempts to move away from its reputation for poor
Ericsson pushed the Satio via as many distribution channels as possible.
The manufacturer launched the 12-megapixel, touch-screen, camera phone in
mid-October along with the Aino.
The handset was first available on Vodafone and has since been added to Orange and 3’s network.
Carphone Warehouse confirmed the suspension. In a statement, the firm said: 'From time to time we experience issues with new
handsets, and their software, which may result in a customer experience that is
below our usually high standards.
''We want customers to have complete confidence
and satisfaction in the handsets they buy from us, which is why we have
temporarilly withdrawn the Sony Ericsson Satio from sale. We are working
closely with Sony Ericsson to restock the Satio phone as soon as possible and
will offer any customer who returns a faulty Satio an exchange of phone.’
A Phones 4u
spokesman said: "Due to software issues experienced by a number of our
customers, we've decided to temporarily withdraw the Sony Ericsson Satio from
Phones 4u. However, we're working very closely with Sony Ericsson to
resolve these issues. In the meantime, customers who report a fault with
their Satio handset will be offered a non like-for-like exchange."
Vodafone, Orange and 3 said they have no plans to withdraw the Satio but are monitoring returns.
A Vodafone spokeswoman said: 'We have a Vodafone varient which has been through a lot of stringent testing and we have not experienced high levels of returns but we will continue to review the situation.'
Sony Ericsson UK MD Nathen Vautier introduced tougher handset quality control measures this year after mass recalls on flagship devices, the K850i, W910i
and C902 in 2008 prompted operators to seek compensation from Sony Ericsson.
At the time software freezing and speaker faults
on the C905 camera device were responsible for returns as high as 30%.
In a statement, Sony Ericsson said: 'Sony
Ericsson confirms that it has been made aware that a small number of consumers
have experienced software issues with its Satio handset when using certain
applications. Carphone Warehouse has temporarily removed the handset from sale
to ensure that future customers do not have an adverse experience. Sony
Ericsson is giving this matter its utmost priority and is working toward
solving it as soon as possible.'
Sony Ericsson is understood to be developing software update to tackle the problem 'within the next few days'.