A-13895, APRIL 23, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 848

A-13895: Apr 23, 1926

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ADVERTISING - ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID THE ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNLESS IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT THE ARTICLES OFFERED AT THE LOWER BID DO NOT MEET THE ACTUAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE SERVICE OR THAT THE ALLEGED SUPERIORITY OF THE HIGHER-PRICED ARTICLES WILL BE OF MORE BENEFIT TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE DIFFERENCE IN PRICE. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 7. REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID IS AUTHORIZED. THE DETAILED REQUIREMENTS WERE FULLY SET FORTH IN THE REQUEST FOR BIDS AND ARE AS FOLLOWS: CABINETS. TWO BIDS WERE SUBMITTED AS FOLLOWS: ACME CARD SYSTEM COMPANY . BE ACCEPTED FOR THE REASON THAT THEY ARE THE LOWEST BIDDERS MEETING THE SPECIFICATIONS.

A-13895, APRIL 23, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 848

ADVERTISING - ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID THE ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNLESS IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT THE ARTICLES OFFERED AT THE LOWER BID DO NOT MEET THE ACTUAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE SERVICE OR THAT THE ALLEGED SUPERIORITY OF THE HIGHER-PRICED ARTICLES WILL BE OF MORE BENEFIT TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE DIFFERENCE IN PRICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, APRIL 23, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 7, 1926, TRANSMITTING A FILE SUBMITTED TO YOU BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF PRINTING AND ENGRAVING WITH REFERENCE TO THE PURCHASE OF CERTAIN FILING CABINETS AND EQUIPMENT, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID IS AUTHORIZED.

IT APPEARS THAT ON MARCH 3, 1926, THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF PRINTING AND ENGRAVING, ADVERTISED FOR BIDS ON SEVEN FILING CABINETS AND EQUIPMENT AND SEVEN STEEL STANDS EQUIPPED WITH DISAPPEARING WORK SHELF TO HOLD SAID CABINETS, EQUAL IN ALL RESPECTS TO THOSE MANUFACTURED BY THE KARDEX-RAND CORPORATION. THE DETAILED REQUIREMENTS WERE FULLY SET FORTH IN THE REQUEST FOR BIDS AND ARE AS FOLLOWS:

CABINETS, COMPLETE WITH AUTOMATIC BOTTOM STOPS, AND EQUIPPED WITH 8 INCH BY 5 INCH POCKETS, WITH TRANSLOID PROTECTED TIPS TO PROTECT CARDS FROM SOILING, AND WITH HINGE AT LOWER EDGE TO PERMIT POSTING OR REFERENCE TO REVERSE SIDE WITHOUT REMOVING CARD. CABINETS TO BE ELECTRICALLY WELDED AND TO BE CONSTRUCTED WITH SEPARATE STEEL FLOOR PARTITIONS BETWEEN EACH SLIDE * * *.

TWO BIDS WERE SUBMITTED AS FOLLOWS: ACME CARD SYSTEM COMPANY ------ ----- ------------------------- $1,049 KARDEX-RAND SALES CORPORATION -- -------- --------------------- 1,525

THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR--- ADMINISTRATIVE--- BUREAU OF PRINTING AND ENGRAVING, IN HIS MEMORANDUM OF APRIL 3, 1926, TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE SAID BUREAU RECOMMENDS THAT THE BID OF THE KARDEX-RAND SALES CORPORATION, THE HIGHEST BID, BE ACCEPTED FOR THE REASON THAT THEY ARE THE LOWEST BIDDERS MEETING THE SPECIFICATIONS; THAT THE LOWEST BIDDER, THE ACME CARD SYSTEM CO., FAILED TO MEET THE SPECIFICATIONS IN THAT THEIR CARDS ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH TRANSLOID PROTECTED TIPS AND THEIR CABINETS ARE NOT CONSTRUCTED WITH SEPARATE STEEL PARTITIONS BETWEEN EACH SLIDE.

IN CONSIDERING THE QUESTION OF ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID IT WAS SAID IN 5 COMP. GEN. 547 THAT:

THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTES REQUIRING COMPETITION IS PRIMARILY TO GIVE THE UNITED STATES THE ADVANTAGE OF THE LOWEST AVAILABLE PRICE FOR THE MATERIAL OR THE SERVICE DESIRED AND PRESUPPOSES THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWEST BID CONFORMING TO THE STIPULATED CONDITIONS. THERE MAY BE REASONS IN PARTICULAR INSTANCES WHY ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWEST BID IS NOT IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. HOWEVER, A HIGHER BID MAY NOT PROPERLY BE ACCEPTED AND HIGHER COST BE THUS PAID UNLESS THE REASONS FOR THE REJECTION OF A LOWER BID ARE OF SUCH MATERIAL CHARACTER AS TO FULLY WARRANT SUCH ACTION AS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST. COMPETITIVE BIDDERS AS WELL AS THE PUBLIC IN GENERAL ARE CONCERNED IN THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWEST BID, AND IF IT APPEARS THAT THE REJECTION IS UPON INSUFFICIENT FACTS THERE ARISES A PROPER QUESTION FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF THIS OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN ACCEPTING THE HIGHER BID. 5 COMP. GEN. 330.

IT IS APPARENT THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE DRAWN WITH REFERENCE TO THE KARDEX SYSTEM RATHER THAN WITH REFERENCE TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SERVICE. A MERE PREFERENCE FOR ONE STYLE OF CABINET OVER THE OTHER DOES NOT JUSTIFY BUYING THE HIGHER-PRICED CABINET AT AN INCREASED EXPENDITURE OF NEARLY 50 PERCENT. ACCORDINGLY, UNLESS IT CAN BE SHOWN WHEREIN THE LOWER-PRICED EQUIPMENT WILL FAIL TO MEET THE ACTUAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, OR HOW THE ALLEGED SUPERIORITY OF THE HIGHER-PRICED EQUIPMENT WILL BE OF MORE BENEFIT TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE DIFFERENCE IN PRICE, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID IS NOT AUTHORIZED.