A-11248, NOVEMBER 16, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 348

A-11248: Nov 16, 1925

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CONTRACTS - MISTAKE IN BID WHERE THE TOTAL PRICE QUOTED IN A PROPOSAL TO FURNISH A VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL WITH 12 DOZEN CANS OF ASPARAGUS TIPS DID NOT CORRESPOND WITH THE UNIT PRICE QUOTED PER DOZEN THE APPARENT MISTAKE WAS SUFFICIENT TO PUT THE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE THAT EITHER THE UNIT PRICE OR THE TOTAL PRICE WAS IN ERROR. AS NO PRICE LOWER THAN THE ACTUAL COST TO THE CONTRACTOR FOR FURNISHING THE ASPARAGUS WAS RECEIVED FROM ANY OTHER BIDDER. CLAIMANT'S PROPOSAL WAS ACCEPTED SEPTEMBER 15. INCLUDED AMONG THOSE ACCEPTED WAS THE ITEM. CLAIMING THAT IT HAD ALREADY FURNISHED MORE THAN WAS CALLED FOR THEREIN. CONTENDING ALSO THAT THE UNIT PRICE $1.45 PER DOZEN TYPEWRITTEN IN ITS ACCEPTED PROPOSAL WAS A TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR.

A-11248, NOVEMBER 16, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 348

CONTRACTS - MISTAKE IN BID WHERE THE TOTAL PRICE QUOTED IN A PROPOSAL TO FURNISH A VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL WITH 12 DOZEN CANS OF ASPARAGUS TIPS DID NOT CORRESPOND WITH THE UNIT PRICE QUOTED PER DOZEN THE APPARENT MISTAKE WAS SUFFICIENT TO PUT THE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE THAT EITHER THE UNIT PRICE OR THE TOTAL PRICE WAS IN ERROR, AND AS NO PRICE LOWER THAN THE ACTUAL COST TO THE CONTRACTOR FOR FURNISHING THE ASPARAGUS WAS RECEIVED FROM ANY OTHER BIDDER, ADDITIONAL PAYMENT MAY BE ALLOWED IT, UNDER THE CONTRACT AS ACCEPTED, IN AN AMOUNT REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PRICE QUOTED PER UNIT AND THE ACTUAL COST FOR FURNISHING THE ASPARAGUS.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, NOVEMBER 16, 1925:

CLAYTON-HUGHES CO. APPLIED AUGUST 15, 1925, FOR REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 091007, DATED AUGUST 4, 1925, DISALLOWING ITS CLAIM FOR $29.70, REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $1.45 AND $2.12 1/2 PER DOZEN FOR 44 DOZEN CANS ASPARAGUS TIPS FURNISHED UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL NO. 88, MEMPHIS, TENN., DURING OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, AND DECEMBER, 1924.

BY CIRCULAR PROPOSAL (FORM 130--- REV.MAR., 1923) DATED SEPTEMBER 4, 1924, SUBJECT TO THEREIN ADVERTISED CONDITION, AMONG OTHERS, THAT THE BUREAU RESERVED THE RIGHT TO REJECT ANY PART OF A BID, CLAIMANT PROPOSED TO FURNISH TO SAID HOSPITAL DURING THE QUARTER ENDING DECEMBER 31, 1924, CERTAIN SUPPLIES AT THE CHARGES SET OPPOSITE EACH ITEM. CLAIMANT'S PROPOSAL WAS ACCEPTED SEPTEMBER 15, 1924, AS TO CERTAIN OF THE ITEMS AS BEING THE LOWEST OF THE BIDS RECEIVED. INCLUDED AMONG THOSE ACCEPTED WAS THE ITEM---

UNIT PRICE TOTAL PRICE 12 DOZ. ASPARAGUS, NO. 1 LIBBY OR EQUAL

DEL MONTE --------------------------------- $1.45 $29.40

TO BE DELIVERED AT SUCH TIMES AND IN SUCH QUANTITIES AS REQUIRED.

IT APPEARS THAT ON DECEMBER 18, 1924, CLAIMANT PROTESTED AGAINST FILLING A FURTHER ORDER FOR ASPARAGUS UNDER ITS CONTRACT, CLAIMING THAT IT HAD ALREADY FURNISHED MORE THAN WAS CALLED FOR THEREIN, AND CONTENDING ALSO THAT THE UNIT PRICE $1.45 PER DOZEN TYPEWRITTEN IN ITS ACCEPTED PROPOSAL WAS A TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR, ITS CORRECT BID PRICE BEING $2.45 PER DOZEN. THE HOSPITAL AUTHORITIES CONTENDED THAT THE CONTRACT BORE ON ITS FACE THE QUALIFICATION "ESTIMATE QUANTITY," AND THEREFORE THAT A QUANTITY IN EXCESS OF 12 DOZEN WAS WITHIN THE PROVISION STATED AT THE CLOSE OF THE ITEMS,"TO BE DELIVERED AT SUCH TIMES AND IN SUCH QUANTITIES AS MAY BE REQUIRED.' THE CAPTION "ESTIMATE QUANTITY" OVER THE ITEMS DOES APPEAR IN CLAIMANT'S CONTRACT FOR SUPPLIES FOR THE QUARTER ENDING MARCH 31, 1925, BUT NOT IN THE CONTRACT HERE IN QUESTION, UNDER WHICH DELIVERY APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN MADE OF 44 DOZEN CANS OF ASPARAGUS TIPS, FOR WHICH PAYMENT WAS MADE AT THE RATE OF $1.45 PER DOZEN, THE CONTRACT PRICE AS INTERPRETED BY THE HOSPITAL AUTHORITIES. WITH REFERENCE TO THE QUANTITY ORDERED AND SUPPLIED THE OFFICER IN CHARGE STATES THAT SEVERAL THOUSAND MORE MEALS WERE FURNISHED IN OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, AND DECEMBER, 1924, THAN HAD BEEN THE CASE IN ANY PREVIOUS QUARTER.

THE QUOTED UNIT PRICE OF $1.45 PER DOZEN FOR THE 12 DOZEN AS IT APPEARS IN THE PROPOSAL WOULD MAKE THE TOTAL PRICE FOR THE ITEM $17.40, WHEREAS THE TOTAL PRICE STATED THEREIN FOR THE ITEM IS $29.40, WHICH WOULD BE AT THE RATE OF $2.45 PER DOZEN. THERE ARE THEREFORE TWO PRICES STATED IN THE CONTRACT FOR THE ITEM WHICH RESULTS IN AN AMBIGUITY IN THE CONTRACT TERMS, REQUIRING AN EXPLANATION, AND SUFFICIENT TO PUT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE THAT ONE OR THE OTHER OF THE PRICES QUOTED MUST BE AN ERROR. THE CONTRACTOR CONTENDS THAT THE UNIT PRICE OF $1.45 PER DOZEN WAS A TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR MADE IN COPYING FROM ITS PENCILED FIGURES AND THAT THE CORRECT UNIT PRICE BID IS $2.45. THIS CONTENTION APPEARS TO BE BORNE OUT BY THE TOTAL PRICE STATED. SEE DECISION OF JANUARY 14, 1925, A-7101, AND CITATIONS THEREIN. IN THIS CONNECTION IT IS NOTED THAT IN THE CLAIMANT'S PROPOSAL FOR SUPPLIES FOR THE QUARTER ENDING JUNE 30, 1924, THE UNIT PRICE FOR 12 DOZEN OF LIKE ASPARAGUS IS $4.25, TOTAL PRICE $57, AND IN ITS PROPOSAL FOR THE QUARTER ENDING MARCH 31, 1925, THE UNIT PRICE FOR 18 DOZEN IS "$2.60 PER DOZEN," NO TOTAL GIVEN, BUT THAT NEITHER ITEM IN SAID PROPOSALS WAS ACCEPTED.

THE CLAIM IN THE AMOUNT OF $29.70 REPRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PRICE $1.45 PER DOZEN PAID CLAIMANT FOR THE 44 DOZEN CANS OF ASPARAGUS TIPS FURNISHED THE HOSPITAL DURING THE QUARTER ENDED DECEMBER 31, 1924, AND THE PRICE OF $2.12 1/2 PER DOZEN WHICH CLAIMANT ALLEGES WAS THE ACTUAL COST TO IT FOR THE SAME. IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT ANY PRICE LOWER THAN $2.12 1/2 PER DOZEN WAS RECEIVED FROM ANY OTHER BIDDER.