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I was shopping around for a tree cutting company for a $3000

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I was shopping around for a tree cutting company for a $3000 job. With one company I signed (didn't read the fine print), and then found another company that was cheaper and signed with them. When I signed with the cheaper bid I did read the fine print and i noticed that they required 100% payment if cancelled. When I pulled out the first bid's document to cancel they required a 20% penalty if cancelled. I now owe the first company $600. I am I really required by law to pay the first company $600 for doing nothing?
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good evening. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. This could be an issue and a situation where you do owe them the money. First, the contract was signed and agreed to by you. If you signed it, there is a presumption and an argument to make, that you were placed on notice of the terms and conditions, along with the potential penalties. The tree cutting company could make the argument and it may be true, that once you signed the contract and they agree to do the work, they turned away other jobs at the same time and date and/or they hired workers or incurred costs, in reliance on the contract and their obligation to perform the job. As a consumer, it is important to perform your due diligence and shop prices, to find the best rate. If you did not give them a deposit and they are not holding your money, you can certainly try and settle with them, if you want, for a lesser amount. There is no way of knowing if they would actual invest the time, effort and money in suing you for the breach but you can make them an offer for an amount less then $600, to settle this and walk away.

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I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!