A-17268, FEBRUARY 12, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 526

A-17268: Feb 12, 1927

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IN WHICH THE UNIT PRICE WAS STATED AND THE TOTAL IN DOLLARS AND CENTS WAS CARRIED OUT IN FIGURES. SAID BID WAS NOT UNREASONABLY LOW WHEN COMPARED WITH OTHER BIDS SUBMITTED. IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT THE MISTAKE WAS MUTUAL AND THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IN ACCEPTING THE BID KNEW THAT A MISTAKE HAD BEEN MADE AND HAD SOUGHT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE THEREOF. WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED ITS CLAIM FOR $65.32. THE CLAIMANT'S BID FOR THE PROPERTY WAS AS FOLLOWS: 150 UNIONS. $72.68 THE FOREGOING BID WAS ON A FORM PREPARED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT AND SUBMITTED TO THE BIDDER WITH ONLY THE PRICE TO BE FILLED IN BY THE BIDDER. THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS RECEIVED ON SAID ITEM IS AS FOLLOWS: TABLE ITEM NO. THE CLAIMANT WAS AWARDED THE CONTRACT AND ON DECEMBER 16.

A-17268, FEBRUARY 12, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 526

CONTRACTS - MISTAKE IN BID WHERE A VENDOR SUBMITTED A BID FOR THE FURNISHING OF CERTAIN ARTICLE TO THE GOVERNMENT, IN WHICH THE UNIT PRICE WAS STATED AND THE TOTAL IN DOLLARS AND CENTS WAS CARRIED OUT IN FIGURES, AND SAID BID WAS NOT UNREASONABLY LOW WHEN COMPARED WITH OTHER BIDS SUBMITTED, SUCH VENDOR MAY NOT, AFTER HIS BID HAS BEEN ACCEPTED, AVOID THE OBLIGATION BY ALLEGING A MISTAKE, IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT THE MISTAKE WAS MUTUAL AND THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IN ACCEPTING THE BID KNEW THAT A MISTAKE HAD BEEN MADE AND HAD SOUGHT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE THEREOF.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, FEBRUARY 12, 1927:

THE WALWORTH CO. REQUESTED DECEMBER 29, 1926, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 022800, DATED DECEMBER 22, 1926, WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED ITS CLAIM FOR $65.32, ON ACCOUNT OF ALLEGED ERROR IN QUOTING PRICE OF 150 STANDARD, GALVANIZED UNIONS, DELIVERED ON FEBRUARY 18, 1926, TO THE PANAMA CANAL STORE, NEW YORK, N.Y., UNDER PROPOSAL ACCEPTED DECEMBER 16, 1925.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THE FACTS TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

ON NOVEMBER 21, 1925, THE GENERAL PURCHASING OFFICER, PANAMA CANAL, WASHINGTON, D.C., ADVERTISED (CIRCULAR NO. 1711-CLASS 30), FOR BIDS TO BE RECEIVED AT SAID OFFICE NOT LATER THAN 10.30 A.M. DECEMBER 12, 1925, THE ARTICLES TO BE PROPERLY PACKED AND SECURED FOR OCEAN SHIPMENT AND DELIVERED FREE OF ALL CHARGES, TO THE PANAMA CANAL STORE, 146 THIRTEENTH AVENUE, NEW YORK, N.Y., FOR 150 UNIONS, FLANGED, MALLEABLE IRON, 1 1/4 INCHES, GALVANIZED, STANDARD.

THE CLAIMANT'S BID FOR THE PROPERTY WAS AS FOLLOWS: 150 UNIONS, FLANGED, MALLEABLE IRON, 1 1/4 INCHES, GALVANIZED, STANDARD (WT. EACH ----------- LBS.) EACH .4845 ------------------------ $72.68

THE FOREGOING BID WAS ON A FORM PREPARED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT AND SUBMITTED TO THE BIDDER WITH ONLY THE PRICE TO BE FILLED IN BY THE BIDDER.

THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS RECEIVED ON SAID ITEM IS AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE ITEM NO. ARTICLE UNIT PRICE TOTAL PRICE BIDDERS 144 --- 150 UNIONS --- 0.4845 CENTS $72.68 WALWORTH CO. DO. --- ---- DO. --- .92 138.00 THE MANHATTAN SUP.CO. DO. --- ---- DO. --- .96 144.00 JOHN MANEELY CO. DO. --- ---- DO. --- 1.10 165.00 IRA C. ROGERS CO. DO. --- ---- DO. --- 1.56

234.00 CRANE CO.

THE CLAIMANT WAS AWARDED THE CONTRACT AND ON DECEMBER 16, 1925, WAS GIVEN AN ORDER FOR THE SUPPLIES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROPOSAL AND ACCEPTANCE. ON DECEMBER 17, 1925, THE CLAIMANT ADDRESSED A LETTER TO THE GENERAL PURCHASING OFFICER FOR THE PANAMA CANAL, AS FOLLOWS:

WE ARE TAKING THE LIBERTY OF ATTACHING TO THIS LETTER AN ORDER WHICH YOU SENT US FOR GALVANIZED MALLEABLE FLANGED UNIONS, ASKING IF IT WILL BE POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO SEND IT TO THE NEXT LOWEST BIDDER.

OUR REASON FOR SO DOING IS DUE TO THE FACT THAT WE HAVE MADE A VERY BAD ERROR IN QUOTING ON THIS MATERIAL. THE PRICE WE NAMED YOU APPLIES ON BLACK INSTEAD OF GALVANIZED, WHICH MEANS A LOSS TO US OF ABOUT $73.00. THIS CAN BE VERIFIED BY REFERRING TO THE OTHER BIDDERS' PRICES ON THE SAME MATERIAL.

WE ARE VERY SORRY THIS ERROR HAS OCCURRED AND HOPE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO HELP US OUT IN THIS INSTANCE.

IN REPLY TO SAID LETTER, THE GENERAL PURCHASING OFFICER, BY LETTER DATED DECEMBER 18, 1925, ADVISED IN SUBSTANCE THAT THE REQUEST COULD NOT BE GRANTED; THAT THE UNIONS SHOULD BE FURNISHED; THAT THEY WOULD BE PAID FOR AT THE BID PRICE; AND THAT THE MATTER AS TO ANY RELIEF ON ACCOUNT OF THE ALLEGED MISTAKE SHOULD BE MADE THE BASIS OF A CLAIM TO BE FILED IN THIS OFFICE.

THE CLAIMANT DOES NOT STATE WHAT ITS BID SHOULD HAVE BEEN, BUT STATES THAT THE PRICE QUOTED, $72.68, WOULD MEAN A LOSS OF ABOUT $73.

IT IS NOTED THAT THE BID OF THE WALWORTH CO. WAS ACCEPTED AND AWARD MADE BEFORE THERE WAS ANY DISCOVERY OR ALLEGATION OF ERROR. THE BID WAS NOT ONLY STATED PER UNIT PRICE BUT THE TOTAL IN DOLLARS AND CENTS WAS CARRIED OUT IN FIGURES, AND THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE BID TO INDICATE THAT A MISTAKE HAD BEEN MADE.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CLAIMANT'S BID AND THAT OF THE NEXT LOWEST BIDDER IS $65.32, THE BASIS OF THIS CLAIM. IT IS NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT THE DIFFERENCE IN BID OF THE NEXT LOWEST AND THE HIGHEST BIDDER IS $96, AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BID OF THE NEXT HIGHEST AND THAT OF THE HIGHEST BIDDER IS $69.

THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT WHEN THERE HAS BEEN A MISTAKE IN THE SUBMISSION OF A BID ON WHICH A CONTRACT IS BASED, THE CONTRACTOR MUST BEAR THE CONSEQUENCES THEREOF. IN ORDER TO AUTHORIZE RELIEF ON ACCOUNT OF A MISTAKE IN AN ACCEPTED BID, IT MUST APPEAR EITHER THAT THE MISTAKE WAS MUTUAL, OR THAT THE ERROR WAS SO APPARENT THAT IT MUST BE PRESUMED THE ACCEPTING OFFICER KNEW OF THE MISTAKE AND SOUGHT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE THEREOF. 26 COMP. DEC. 286; 2 COMP. GEN. 503; 3 ID. 821. NO SUCH SHOWING HAS BEEN MADE IN THIS CASE. WHILE CLAIMANT'S BID WAS MUCH LOWER THAN ANY OF THE OTHERS, THERE IS NOTHING THEREIN FROM WHICH KNOWLEDGE ON THE PART OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT A MISTAKE HAD BEEN MADE MAY BE PRESUMED. NOR DOES A COMPARISON OF CLAIMANT'S BID WITH THE OTHER BIDS DISCLOSE ANY MISTAKE. THE BID WAS CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS ON ITS FACE. IT MAY BE NOTED THAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BID PRICE OF $72.68 AND $138, THE NEXT HIGHER BID, IS NOT AS GREAT AS THE DIFFERENCE IN BID BETWEEN THAT OF THE NEXT LOWEST AND THE HIGHEST BIDDER, OR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BID OF THE NEXT HIGHER AND THAT OF THE HIGHEST. ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT IN EXCESS OF THE BID PRICE IN THIS CASE IS NOT AUTHORIZED. 20 COMP. DEC. 304; 24 ID. 534; 25 ID. 37; 4 COMP. GEN. 911; 5 ID. 781; 6 ID. 504; A 15671, DATED OCTOBER 1, 1926; A-16327, DECEMBER 14, 1926.