"I don't think there is a bigger endeavor that an auto finance company can do than to convert all of their servicing systems into one in one fell swoop," he said. "It was as big a project as we could have ever taken on. We knew we would have some issues."
A small number of customers with automatic payment plans — less than 1 percent of GM Financial's portfolio — were undercharged or overcharged on their payments in January. The average error was $20 above or below the customer's monthly payment, Beatty said.
"We take this very seriously, he said. "Customers will be getting refunds of any overage that we withdrew from their accounts, and we'll work with customers on the ones where we withdrew too little."
GM Financial found several hundred accounts affected on every due date in January. Beatty said the lender would be able to identify all affected customers by Jan. 30, the last due date of the month.
GM Financial sent a letter to customers explaining intermittent system and phone outages after the system upgrade that began in late December. The phone system and website were scheduled to be shut down from Dec. 29 to Jan. 5, but the shutdown was extended until Jan. 8. Because customers couldn't make payments between Dec. 30 and Jan. 8, any payment received from Jan. 8 to Jan. 12 was posted with an effective date of Jan. 1, Beatty said.
GM Financial will correct inaccurate late fees and interest charges and prevent negative credit bureau reports that were driven by the system outage. "No customer is going to be negatively impacted as a result of our technology challenges," Beatty said.
As of Thursday, Feb. 1, the lender was still having problems with the phone system, Beatty said. Call volume Tuesday was 300 percent higher than average. "We have to begin the work of regaining a lot of our customers' confidence," he said.
Beatty said the staff is working around the clock to fix the intermittent phone problems and he is confident they will be resolved "in short order."