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I recently accepted an offer and performed the background and drug tests. I even agreed on a start date.

But my current employer worked really hard to retain me and they could place me in a more appealing project (I'm a contractor).

Thus, I need to reach out to the other company where I am supposed to start in a few days and "cancel" the entire process.

My question is - would there be any consequences for this, of any kind? Could the other company, for example, require me to pay the fees of the background check or drug test?

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    What state or country try are you in? – user1666620 Aug 15 '18 at 21:36
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Unless you signed a contract stating you would pay fees to the company in the event of turning them down, then you shouldn't be charged anything.

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would there be any consequences for this

Until you sign a contract you're not under any obligations. But this sort of thing is not good for your reputation at that company, so probably a waste of time applying there again in future.

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The company will be rightfully annoyed with you. You turned out to be a waste of time and money. Don’t even think about applying there again in the next ten years.

Depends on what “I accepted an offer” means, and how angry the relevant people in the company are. They can easily send you a bill for the fees, that’s zero effort for them, and you either pay that bill or pay a lawyer.

In the end, you are not starting with them, so you can just wait and see what happens.

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