I interviewed for company A, received an offer letter, accepted and signed it. The offer letter didn't specify any legal obligations, just salary and starting date.

I then got a better offer at company B which I want to accept.

I know this question has been asked before, but the special thing about my situation is that company A has made train and hotel bookings for my first week at work (I would be getting training in a different city during the first week). Rejecting the offer now means company A loses part or all of the money for those bookings. Can they force me to pay those expenses?

This is based in Spain.

closed as off-topic by nvoigt, OldPadawan, gnat, Jenny D, The Wandering Dev Manager Jul 4 at 15:23

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  • 2
    "Can they force me to pay those expenses? If that is all your question is, then this might be more of a legal question depending on the contract and local law. – PagMax Jul 4 at 11:22
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    You need a lawyer. From an amateur point of view, they should be able to recoup their losses from you breaking a contract... I mean what else is a contract good for? But for your specific situation, you need to get a lawyer. – nvoigt Jul 4 at 11:25
  • I'm not familiar enough with Spanish employment law to say for sure one way or the other (certainly in the UK you could be held liable) - it would probably come down to whether either the formal acceptance of the offer counted as an employment contract (as in the UK) or whether verbally agreeing to work there constituted a verbal employment contract under Spanish law (which do exist). – motosubatsu Jul 4 at 11:38

Talk to your recruiter and hiring manager. If it's a reasonably large and healthy company, they are likely to be accommodating.

Be honest and transparent about why you have decided against starting work. Let them know you prefer working with "B" and be prepared for them to possibly attempt to negotiate a better offer at "A" for you.

Apologize for the short notice. Recruiters and managers understand that hiring is a market and sometimes they don't get the candidates they want, so they are unlikely to give you a hard time.

Expect that you will have to return any signing bonus or relocation allowance.

Avoid bringing up the hotel and flight expenses - they are likely refundable anyway.

We can't advise on what is legally enforceable in Spain - for that, you should try out Law.SE or speak with a lawyer.


An offer letter, accepted or not, is nothing but a letter. It is not enforceable legally, as far as I can tell.

The real question is: did you sign a contract? Is there in the contract any clause related to those expenses, and if those expenses must be supported by yourself in the case of cancelling?

One way or another, you will have to communicate with company A that you want to go to company B. Especially if there is no contract, you may want talk to the company directly about the situation.

What is more interesting, and in your favor, is that many bookings can be cancelled for free, with no actual cost to anyone.

An additional practical idea: evaluate our worst case (financial) situation. Evaluate the cost of train+hotel, and calculate the difference of salaries. Estimate in how many months you cover those expenses only from the salary difference.

Note: I am not at all suggesting to pay money if you can avoid paying. Just be prepared for the worse. Anything else will be just better.

The safest course of action: discuss all the situation with a lawyer. Be aware that the cost of the lawyer can be significantly higher than just paying for the hotel+train.

  • I didn't sign the contract yet, I just signed the offer letter. The letter only specifies that company A wants to hire me, the salary and the start date. – StackerGuest Jul 4 at 11:39
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    I am not a lawyer but I do not believe this is correct. A contract is not defined by its formatting, whether it's a letter or not. It's if you have an offer and acceptance. – mcknz Jul 4 at 12:07
  • According to the OP, the letter only states the desire of cooperation, salary and the start date of the job. Which of these can be "dangerous"? Is there a statement in the letter that OP has to pay XYZ amount of money if he cancels? I highly doubt it. – virolino Jul 4 at 12:10

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