Deeper into debt.

Fonction News

There has been a change in consumer behaviour as studies show that the number of Swiss facing debt and bankruptcy has increased dramatically over the past few years.

Statistics by the debt collectors' association show that 10 per cent of the country's households owe large sums of money. Debt collection firms dealt with 1.6 million cases last year. This was more than double the figure for 2002. The money owed reached a total of CHF829 million ($690 million) compared with CHF715 million the previous year.

The Swiss have been known to always pay their bills on time. However, those standards are slipping. A survey conducted by credit management company Intrum Justitia last year, revealed that the Swiss now take on average 44 days to pay bills which should be settled within 30 days.

Financial worries were given as the chief mason for late payment.

According to debt experts, changing consumer habits is exacerbating the problem.

"Some people feel they must spend money to exist, to be a...

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