Consumer default frequently concern arrears in rent or mortgage payments, consumer credit, or utility payments. A European Union wide analysis identified certain risk groups, such as single households, being unemployed – even after correcting for the (significant) impact of having a low income -, being young (especially being younger than around 50 years old, with somewhat different results for the New Member States, where the elderly more often at risk as well), being unable to rely on social networks, etc. Even internet illiteracy has been associated with increased default, potentially caused by these households being less likely to find their way to the social benefits they are often entitled to. While effective non-legal debt counseling is usually the preferred -more economic and less disruptive- option, consumer default can end-up in legal debt settlement or consumer bankruptcy procedures, the last ranging from 1-year procedures in the UK to 6-year procedures in Germany.
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