A-28998, OCTOBER 17, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 160

A-28998: Oct 17, 1929

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CONTRACTS - RESCISSION - MISTAKE IN BID WHERE IT IS CLEARLY ESTABLISHED THAT A CONTRACTOR MADE A MISTAKE IN THE SUBMISSION OF ITS BID. TO WHICH THE ATTENTION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS INVITED BEFORE THE SIGNING OF THE CONTRACT OR THE BEGINNING OF PERFORMANCE THEREUNDER. OCTOBER 17 1929: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 1. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS FORWARDED HEREWITH A LETTER FROM CHAS. A COPY OF THE SCHEDULE USED IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS IS ALSO ENCLOSED. THE BIDS WERE OPENED AUGUST 6. IT APPEARS THAT THE ERROR IN THE QUOTATION WAS NOT DISCOVERED BY THE COMPANY UNTIL AFTER THE RECEIPT OF THE NOTICE OF AWARD. THE ERROR WAS NOT DETECTED BY THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS FOR THE REASON THAT CHAS.

A-28998, OCTOBER 17, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 160

CONTRACTS - RESCISSION - MISTAKE IN BID WHERE IT IS CLEARLY ESTABLISHED THAT A CONTRACTOR MADE A MISTAKE IN THE SUBMISSION OF ITS BID, TO WHICH THE ATTENTION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS INVITED BEFORE THE SIGNING OF THE CONTRACT OR THE BEGINNING OF PERFORMANCE THEREUNDER, THE CONTRACT MAY BE RESCINDED AND THE BIDDER RELEASED FROM ANY OBLIGATION THEREUNDER.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, OCTOBER 17 1929:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 1, 1929, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS FORWARDED HEREWITH A LETTER FROM CHAS. G. STOTT AND COMPANY (INC.), DATED SEPTEMBER 23, 1929, REPORTING AN ERROR IN THEIR QUOTATION ON 1,600 BOXES OF "HOTCHKISS" TYPE STAPLES FOR USE IN THE "HOTCHKISS" NO. 2 STAPLING MACHINE MACHINE. A COPY OF THE SCHEDULE USED IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS IS ALSO ENCLOSED.

THE BIDS WERE OPENED AUGUST 6, 1929, AND THE AWARD MADE TO CHAS. G. STOTT AND COMPANY ON SEPTEMBER 18, 1929, UNDER CONTRACT NO. 14082. THE CONTRACT HAS NOT YET BEEN SIGNED BY THE CONTRACTOR.

IT APPEARS THAT THE ERROR IN THE QUOTATION WAS NOT DISCOVERED BY THE COMPANY UNTIL AFTER THE RECEIPT OF THE NOTICE OF AWARD. THE ERROR WAS NOT DETECTED BY THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS FOR THE REASON THAT CHAS. G. STOTT AND COMPANY WAS THE ONLY BIDDER ON THIS CLASS AND THERE WERE NO OTHER BIDS BY WHICH A COMPARISON COULD BE MADE. HOWEVER, A STUDY MADE OF THESE COSTS UPON RECEIPT OF THIS LETTER DOES CLEARLY ESTABLISH THE ERROR, AND HAD IT BEEN DISCOVERED BEFORE THE AWARD THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE BID WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED.

THE LAST PURCHASE OF STAPLES OF THE REQUIRED TYPE WAS MADE IN MAY, 1928 AT A PRICE OF 60 CENTS PER BOX OF A THOUSAND STAPLES. UNDER AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS IN JANUARY, 1929, THE ONLY BID RECEIVED QUOTED UPON A VERY DIFFERENT TYPE OF STAPLE, WHICH COULD NOT BE USED IN THE NO. 2 ,HOTCHKISS" STAPLER. THE BID IN THAT CASE WAS REJECTED AND THE PRESENT SCHEDULE IS A READVERTISEMENT OF THE SCHEDULE CANCELLED AT THAT TIME.

IN VIEW OF THE MANIFEST ERROR, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT PERFORMANCE OF THE CONTRACT IN SO FAR AS IT RELATES TO THE PAPER-FASTENING STAPLES UNDER CLASS 766 BE NOT REQUIRED. THIS CLASS WILL THEN BE READVERTISED AND A SPECIAL EFFORT MADE TO SECURE WIDER COMPETITION.

THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT PROPOSALS THAT HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS MAY NOT BE WITHDRAWN AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN OPENED, EVEN BEFORE AWARDS IS MADE, AND THAT THE BIDDER IS BOUND TO ACCEPT THE AWARD. 24 COMP. DEC. 534; 6 COMP. GEN. 504.

WHILE THE FACTS AS SET FORTH IN YOUR SUBMISSION WOULD NOT AUTHORIZE A REFORMATION OF THE CONTRACT OR A PAYMENT OF ANY AMOUNT IN ADDITION TO THE BID PRICE IF THE SUPPLIES HAD BEEN FURNISHED BY THE BIDDER, SINCE IT APPEARS TO BE CLEARLY ESTABLISHED THAT THE CONTRACTOR MADE A MISTAKE IN THE SUBMISSION OF ITS BID, TO WHICH THE ATTENTION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS INVITED BEFORE THE SIGNING OF THE CONTRACT OR THE BEGINNING OF PERFORMANCE THEREUNDER, THE CONTRACT MAY BE RESCINDED AND THE BIDDER RELEASED FROM ANY OBLIGATION THEREUNDER. MOFFETT, HODGKINS, ETC., CO. V. ROCHESTER, 178 U.S. 373. THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.