A-89390, OCTOBER 15, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 339

A-89390: Oct 15, 1937

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IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT ONE BIDDER HAD MISPLACED THE DECIMAL POINT IN THE UNIT PRICES QUOTED. WHERE A MISTAKE IN A BID INVOLVES ONLY PLACEMENT OF A DECIMAL POINT AND THE ERROR IS APPARENT AT THE TIME OF THE OPENING OF BIDS AND IS CONFIRMED BY THE BIDDER BEFORE AWARD. AS FOLLOWS: THERE ARE TRANSMITTED HEREWITH ALL BIDS AND AN ABSTRACT THEREOF RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE DEPARTMENT'S INVITATION USDA NO. 402. FROM A COMPARISON OF THE PRICES QUOTED BY THE OTHER RESPONDING BIDDERS IT WAS READILY APPARENT TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE DECIMAL POINT IN THE UNIT PRICES QUOTED BY THIS FIRM HAD BEEN MISPLACED AND. THE BIDDER WAS REQUESTED TO VERIFY HIS PRICES. ON THE BASIS OF THE ORIGINAL PRICES QUOTED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION THIS IS THE LOWEST BID RECEIVED BUT IS NOT THE LOW BID IF CONSIDERED IN ITS CORRECTED FORM.

A-89390, OCTOBER 15, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 339

CONTRACTS - MISTAKES - BIDS - MISPLACED DECIMAL POINT - CORRECTION WITHOUT SUBMISSION TO GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WHERE, UPON THE OPENING OF BIDS, IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT ONE BIDDER HAD MISPLACED THE DECIMAL POINT IN THE UNIT PRICES QUOTED--- THE ERROR BEING APPARENT NOT ONLY ON THE FACE OF THE BID BUT FROM A COMPARISON WITH THE OTHER BIDS--- AND THE BIDDER, AFTER HAVING THE MATTER BROUGHT TO HIS ATTENTION, HAS CONFIRMED THE ERROR, THE BID MAY BE CORRECTED AND CONSIDERED ALONG WITH THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED. WHERE A MISTAKE IN A BID INVOLVES ONLY PLACEMENT OF A DECIMAL POINT AND THE ERROR IS APPARENT AT THE TIME OF THE OPENING OF BIDS AND IS CONFIRMED BY THE BIDDER BEFORE AWARD, THE CORRECTION MAY BE MADE WITHOUT SUBMITTING THE MATTER TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, OCTOBER 15, 1937:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 1, 1937, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE ARE TRANSMITTED HEREWITH ALL BIDS AND AN ABSTRACT THEREOF RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE DEPARTMENT'S INVITATION USDA NO. 402, COVERING THE PROPOSED PURCHASE OF CORRUGATED FIBER BOXES FOR DELIVERY TO THE CENTRAL SUPPLY SECTION, WASHINGTON, D.C., WITH THE REQUEST THAT THE DEPARTMENT BE ADVISED AS TO WHETHER THE BID OF THE DANBURY SQUARE BOX COMPANY, DANBURY, CONNECTICUT, MAY BE CONSIDERED IN ITS CORRECTED FORM.

THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS CALLED FOR BOTH A UNIT AND A TOTAL PRICE FOR 750 BOXES F.O.B. THE VARIOUS BIDDERS' SHIPPING POINTS OR DELIVERED PREPAID TO WASHINGTON, D.C. IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION THE DANBURY SQUARE BOX COMPANY QUOTED AS FOLLOWS:

1. F.O.B. DANBURY, CONN.; 750 EA.; UNIT PRICE, .01175; TOTAL, $88.13.

2. DELIVERED WASHINGTON, D.C.; 750 EA.; UNIT PRICE, .0139; TOTAL, $104.25.

FROM A COMPARISON OF THE PRICES QUOTED BY THE OTHER RESPONDING BIDDERS IT WAS READILY APPARENT TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE DECIMAL POINT IN THE UNIT PRICES QUOTED BY THIS FIRM HAD BEEN MISPLACED AND, THEREFORE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLE ESTABLISHED BY YOUR MANY DECISIONS ON THE SUBJECT OF MISTAKES IN BIDS, THE BIDDER WAS REQUESTED TO VERIFY HIS PRICES.

IN RESPONSE TO THE DEPARTMENT'S TELEGRAM OF SEPTEMBER 14, 1937, READING AS FOLLOWS:

"REFERENCE BID USDA FOUR NAUGHT TWO, FIBER BOXES FOR CENTRAL SUPPLY SECTION, CONFIRM UNIT PRICES, ITEMS ONE AND TWO. WIRE"---

THE BIDDER REPLIED AS FOLLOWS:

"FIRST ITEM, ELEVEN AND THREE-FOURTHS CENTS EACH; SECOND ITEM, THIRTEEN AND NINE-TENTHS CENTS EACH.'

ON THE BASIS OF THE ORIGINAL PRICES QUOTED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION THIS IS THE LOWEST BID RECEIVED BUT IS NOT THE LOW BID IF CONSIDERED IN ITS CORRECTED FORM.

IT IS, THEREFORE, REQUESTED THAT WITH THE RETURN OF THE FILE THE DEPARTMENT BE ADVISED AS TO WHETHER THE BID OF THE DANBURY SQUARE BOX COMPANY MAY BE CONSIDERED IN ITS CORRECTED FORM AND AWARD MADE TO THE EMPIRE CORRUGATED CONTAINER CORPORATION, THE OTHERWISE LOW BIDDER, OR WHETHER AWARD SHOULD BE MADE TO THE FORMER FIRM AND PERFORMANCE OF THE CONTRACT REQUIRED.

IN DECISION OF MAY 11, 1937 (16 COMP. GEN. 999), IT WAS STATED THAT WHERE THE ONLY QUESTION INVOLVED IS THE ERRONEOUS QUOTATION OF A LOWER PRICE F.O.B. DESTINATION THAN F.O.B. FACTORY--- A MERE TRANSPOSITION OF THE BID PRICES--- THE CORRECTION MAY BE MADE, AFTER CONFIRMATION BY THE BIDDER, WITHOUT SUBMITTING THE MATTER TO YOUR OFFICE. IN CASES WHERE THE ONLY QUESTION INVOLVED IS THE OBVIOUS MISPLACEMENT OF A DECIMAL POINT, CONFIRMED BY THE BIDDER--- AS IN THE CASE PRESENTED HEREIN--- IT IS FELT THAT AUTHORITY TO MAKE NECESSARY CORRECTIONS SHOULD LIKEWISE BE VESTED IN THE CONTRACTING OFFICERS WITHOUT SUBMISSION TO YOUR OFFICE. YOUR COMMENT ON THIS POINT WILL BE APPRECIATED.

ERROR WAS APPARENT ON THE FACE OF THE BID, AS THE UNIT PRICES STATED MULTIPLIED BY THE QUANTITIES GIVEN WOULD EQUAL JUST ONE-TENTH OF THE TOTALS STATED. A COMPARISON OF THE BID WITH THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED LEAVES NO ROOM FOR DOUBT THAT THE ERROR WAS IN THE UNIT PRICES AND NOT IN THE TOTALS. ACCORDINGLY, THE SAID BID MAY BE CORRECTED SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR A PRICE OF 11 3/4 CENTS EACH FOR DELIVERY F.O.B. DANBURY, CONN., AND 13 9/10 CENTS EACH DELIVERED WASHINGTON, D.C., AND AS CORRECTED THE BID SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ALONG WITH THE OTHER BIDS.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT WHERE, AS IN THIS CASE, THE ERROR IS APPARENT AT THE TIME OF OPENING OF THE BIDS, IS CONFIRMED BY THE BIDDER BEFORE AN AWARD IS MADE, AND INVOLVES ONLY PLACEMENT OF A DECIMAL POINT, THE CORRECTION MAY BE MADE WITHOUT SUBMITTING THE MATTER TO THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION.