A-18696, JUNE 4, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 786

A-18696: Jun 4, 1927

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ADVERTISING - BIDS - MISTAKE - WITHDRAWAL WHERE BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR THE FURNISHING OF A SPECIFIED QUANTITY OF POSTAGE-STAMP AND INTERNAL-REVENUE PAPER FOR USE OF THE BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING AND THE BIDDERS WERE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT BIDS QUOTING THEIR PRICES BOTH UNDER THE SEPARATE ITEMS AND AS A WHOLE. A BIDDER MAY NOT WITHDRAW HIS BID AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED. BEFORE AWARD IS MADE. ON THE GROUND OF ALLEGED MISTAKE IN THAT IN SUBMITTING ITS BID IS HAD INTENDED TO QUOTE PRICES ON THE WHOLE AND NOT ON A PART OF THE CONTRACT. 1927: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 18. THAT BIDDERS WERE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT THEIR QUOTATIONS AS FOLLOWS: 1. IN RESPONSE TO SAID ADVERTISING SIX BIDS WERE RECEIVED AS FOLLOWS: CHART 1.

A-18696, JUNE 4, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 786

ADVERTISING - BIDS - MISTAKE - WITHDRAWAL WHERE BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR THE FURNISHING OF A SPECIFIED QUANTITY OF POSTAGE-STAMP AND INTERNAL-REVENUE PAPER FOR USE OF THE BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING AND THE BIDDERS WERE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT BIDS QUOTING THEIR PRICES BOTH UNDER THE SEPARATE ITEMS AND AS A WHOLE, A BIDDER MAY NOT WITHDRAW HIS BID AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED, BUT BEFORE AWARD IS MADE, ON THE GROUND OF ALLEGED MISTAKE IN THAT IN SUBMITTING ITS BID IS HAD INTENDED TO QUOTE PRICES ON THE WHOLE AND NOT ON A PART OF THE CONTRACT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JUNE 4, 1927:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 18, 1927, TRANSMITTING THE PAPERS IN CONNECTION WITH THE BIDS RECEIVED PURSUANT TO PROPOSALS SENT OUT BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING ON MARCH 24, 1927, INVITING BIDS FOR POSTAGE-STAMP AND INTERNAL-REVENUE PAPER, AND REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN CONNECTION THEREWITH THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT FOR ALL PAPER MAY BE MADE TO THE AETNA PAPER CO.

IT APPEARS THAT UNDER DATE OF MARCH 24, 1927, THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING ADVERTISED FOR BIDS TO BE OPENED APRIL 28, 1927, FOR THE FURNISHING OF A QUANTITY OF POSTAGE-STAMP PAPER AND INTERNAL- REVENUE PAPER, AND THAT BIDDERS WERE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT THEIR QUOTATIONS AS FOLLOWS:

1. QUOTATION FOR BOTH CLASSES OF REVENUE-STAMP PAPER (ITEMS 1 AND 2, 1,860,000 POUNDS).

2. QUOTATION FOR BOTH CLASSES OF POSTAGE-STAMP PAPER (ITEMS 3 AND 4, 1,638,000 POUNDS).

3. QUOTATION FOR BOTH CLASSES OF INTERNAL-REVENUE-STAMP PAPER AND BOTH CLASSES OF POSTAGE-STAMP PAPER (ITEMS 1, 2, 3, AND 4, 3,498,000 POUNDS).

IN RESPONSE TO SAID ADVERTISING SIX BIDS WERE RECEIVED AS FOLLOWS:

CHART 1. AETNA PAPER CO ------------------ $0.0639 $0.0639 $0.0639 2. BARTON, DUER AND KOCH P. CO ----- .0669 .0648 ----- 3. AMERICAN WRITING PAPER CO ------- .0891 .0799 .0848 4. CHAMPION COATED PAPER CO -------- .0683 .0623 .0623 5. KALAMAZOO PAPER CO -------------- ----- ----- .0644 6. BRYANT PAPER CO ----------------- ----- .075 IN SHEETS.

.065 IN ROLLS.

THE LOWEST BID RECEIVED ON ITEMS 1 AND 2 WAS THAT OF THE AETNA PAPER CO. WHO QUOTED A PRICE OF $0.0639 PER POUND WHILE THE BID OF THE CHAMPION COATED PAPER CO. OF $0.0623 PER POUND WAS THE LOWEST ON ITEMS 3 AND 4.

IT APPEARS THAT IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE OPENING OF THE BIDS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE AETNA PAPER CO., WHO WAS PRESENT AT THE OPENING, STATED THAT IT WAS THE INTENTION OF THE AETNA PAPER CO., IN SUBMITTING ITS BID, TO BID ON THE WHOLE AND NOT ON A PART OF THE CONTRACT AND THAT IF THEY BE AWARDED THE CONTRACT FOR ITEMS 1 AND 2 AT $0.0639 PER POUND WITHOUT THE AWARD OF ITEMS 3 AND 4 AT THE SAME PRICE THEY WOULD SUFFER A FINANCIAL LOSS; THAT IT WAS THEIR INTENTION TO QUOTE ONLY A FLAT PRICE FOR ITEMS 1, 2, 3, AND 4, COLLECTIVELY; THAT THE PRICE PER POUND WAS INSERTED UNDER THE SPACE PROVIDED FOR OTHER ITEMS ONLY BECAUSE IT WAS THOUGH NECESSARY TO HAVE ALL SPACES FILLED IN ORDER TO SECURE THE CONTRACT; THAT UNLESS HIS COMPANY WAS AWARDED THE WHOLE CONTRACT AT THE FLAT RATE OF $0.0639 PER POUND THAT THE SAID COMPANY BE ALLOWED TO WITHDRAW ITS BID OR RATHER THAT IT BE EXCUSED FROM MANUFACTURING ANY PORTION OF THE PAPER. THIS STATEMENT WAS CONFIRMED BY LETTER DATED APRIL 3, 1927, FROM THE AETNA PAPER CO. WHEREIN IT WAS REQUESTED THAT THEIR BID ON ITEMS 1 AND 2 BE ELIMINATED AND THAT THEIR BID FOR ITEMS 1, 2, 3, AND 4 ONLY BE CONSIDERED.

THE GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS WHICH WERE MADE A PART OF THE ADVERTISING FOR BIDS PROVIDED AS FOLLOWS:

28. THE RIGHT IS RESERVED TO REJECT ANY OR ALL BIDS OR PARTS OF BIDS, AND WAIVE INFORMALITIES IN CASE IT SHALL BE DEEMED TO THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT TO DO SO.

40. PROPOSALS MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A GUARANTY BOND, OR BY CERTIFIED CHECK MADE PAYABLE TO THE ORDER OF THE DISBURSING AGENT OF THE BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING, OR BY LIBERTY BONDS, OTHER BONDS OF THE UNITED STATES UNDER PROVISIONS OF TREASURY DEPARTMENT REQUIREMENTS, IN AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO TWO PERCENT OF THE TOTAL ESTIMATE AMOUNT OF THE BID, PROVIDED IT EXCEEDS $500. SHOULD THE BIDDER WITHDRAW ANY SUCH PROPOSAL WITHIN THE PERIOD SPECIFIED THEREIN, OR FAIL TO GIVE A SATISFACTORY BOND FOR THE FAITHFUL AND PROPER FULFILLMENT OF THE CONTRACT, WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER NOTICE OF ACCEPTANCE, AS HEREINAFTER REQUIRED, THE SAID PROPOSAL BOND SHALL BECOME PAYABLE TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, OR IN CASE THE BIDDER'S PROPOSAL BE ACCOMPANIED BY A CERTIFIED CHECK OR BONDS OF THE UNITED STATES, THE SAME SHALL LIKEWISE BE FORFEITED AS LIQUIDATED DAMAGES FOR SUCH FAILURE.

THE AETNA PAPER CO. DID NOT SPECIFY THAT THE PRICES QUOTED UNDER THE DIFFERENT ITEMS WERE CONDITIONED UPON ITS BEING AWARDED THE ENTIRE CONTRACT. IT SPECIFICALLY QUOTED A PRICE ON ITEMS 1 AND 2, 3 AND 4, AND 1, 2, 3, AND 4. THERE APPEARS NO MISTAKE ON THE FACE OF THE BID. THE GOVERNMENT HAD THE RIGHT UNDER THE FORM OF BIDS REQUESTED TO ACCEPT A FLAT PRICE BID OR BIDS UPON ITEMS SEPARATELY AS THEY GAVE LOWEST PRICES IN AMOUNT. THE SHOWING MADE BY THE DIRECTOR, TOP OF PAGE 3 OF HIS LETTER, TO YOU SHOWS NO COMBINED OR FLAT PRICE BID OPEN TO ACCEPTANCE UNDER THE BIDS AS MADE. THE VERY PURPOSE OF ASKING BIDS UNDER SEPARATE ITEMS AND AS A WHOLE WAS IN ORDER THAT AWARD OF THE CONTRACT COULD BE MADE ON ITEMS SEPARATELY OR COMBINED AS THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES MIGHT REQUIRE. IF THE AETNA PAPER CO. HAD NOT SUBMITTED SEPARATE BIDS ON ITEMS 1 AND 2 AND 3 AND 4, BUT HAD SUBMITTED A SINGLE BID ON ITEMS 1, 2, 3, AND 4, SAID BID WOULD HAVE BEEN FOR ACCEPTANCE ONLY IF THE TOTAL AMOUNT THEREOF WERE LOWER THAN THE TOTAL OF ANY COMBINATION OF THE OTHER BIDS.

PROPOSALS THAT HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS MAY NOT BE WITHDRAWN AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN OPENED, EVEN BEFORE AWARD IS MADE AND THE BIDDER IS BOUND TO ACCEPT THE AWARD, 24 COMP. DEC. 534; 6 COMP. GEN. 504; 21 OP.ATTY.GEN. 56. THE ONLY EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE IS WHERE THERE IS CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE OF A MUTUAL MISTAKE OR WHERE THERE WAS A MISTAKE BY THE BIDDER THAT IS SO APPARENT THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER MUST BE PRESUMED TO HAVE KNOWN THAT THE BID IS NOT AS INTENDED BY THE BIDDER. ON FACTS PRESENTED IT MUST BE HELD THAT THERE WAS NO SUCH MISTAKE IN THE BID IN THIS CASE. THE MERE STATEMENT BY A BIDDER AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED THAT A MISTAKE HAS BEEN MADE IN THE SUBMISSION OF ITS BID IS NOT SUFFICIENT JUSTIFICATION TO ALLOW WITHDRAWAL THEREOF.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT AWARD OF THE CONTRACT FOR ALL OF THE PAPER IN QUESTION TO THE AETNA PAPER CO. IS NOT AUTHORIZED. THE CONTRACT FOR ITEMS 1 AND 2, INTERNAL REVENUE PAPER, SHOULD BE AWARDED TO THE SAID AETNA PAPER CO. AND CONTRACT FOR ITEMS 3 AND 4, POSTAGE STAMP PAPER, SHOULD BE AWARDED TO THE CHAMPION COATED PAPER CO., THE LOW BIDDERS, RESPECTIVELY, UPON EACH OF THE ITEMS. IN EVENT OF THE REFUSAL OF THE AETNA PAPER CO. TO ACCEPT AWARD OF THE CONTRACT ON ITEMS 1 AND 2 THE MATTER WOULD BE FOR PROPER ACTION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 40 OF THE GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS QUOTED, SUPRA, IT BEING ASSUMED THAT THE SAID COMPANY HAS COMPLIED WITH THE REQUIREMENTS THEREOF.

THE TELEGRAM OF THE CHAMPION COATED PAPER CO. TO THE DIRECTOR, MAY 26, 1927, OFFERING TO TAKE AWARD OF THE REVENUE PAPER AT $0.0639 IF ACCEPTED BY MAY 31, 1927, PRESENTS NOTHING DIFFERENT FROM THE BID OF AETNA AS TO THIS PAPER AND IS NOT OPEN FOR CONSIDERATION AT THIS TIME, THE AETNA BEING PROPERLY HELD TO FURNISH THE REVENUE PAPER AT ITS PRICE OF $0.0639.