A-91029, JANUARY 6, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 546

A-91029: Jan 6, 1938

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CONTRACTS - MISTAKES - BIDS - ALLEGATION AFTER ACCEPTANCE IN GOOD FAITH WHERE ERROR IN BID WAS NOT ALLEGED UNTIL AFTER ITS ACCEPTANCE IN GOOD FAITH AND THE GOVERNMENT INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS AND THERE WAS NOTHING ON FACE OF THE BID TO SUGGEST ERROR. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ACCEPTED BID AND THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED WAS NOT SO GREAT THAT IT MUST BE PRESUMED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER KNEW AT THE TIME OF ACCEPTANCE THAT THE BID WAS NOT AS INTENDED. THE ERROR WAS NOT MUTUAL AND THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF ANY AMOUNT IN ADDITION TO THE BID PRICE. NOT WHETHER AN ERROR WAS MADE IN THE BID. A LEGAL AND VALID CONTRACT WAS FORMED BY THE ACCEPTANCE. IN ADDITION TO THE CONTRACT PRICE YOU HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED FOR SAW HANDLES DELIVERED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

A-91029, JANUARY 6, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 546

CONTRACTS - MISTAKES - BIDS - ALLEGATION AFTER ACCEPTANCE IN GOOD FAITH WHERE ERROR IN BID WAS NOT ALLEGED UNTIL AFTER ITS ACCEPTANCE IN GOOD FAITH AND THE GOVERNMENT INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS AND THERE WAS NOTHING ON FACE OF THE BID TO SUGGEST ERROR, AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ACCEPTED BID AND THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED WAS NOT SO GREAT THAT IT MUST BE PRESUMED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER KNEW AT THE TIME OF ACCEPTANCE THAT THE BID WAS NOT AS INTENDED, THE ERROR WAS NOT MUTUAL AND THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF ANY AMOUNT IN ADDITION TO THE BID PRICE, THE QUESTION BEING, NOT WHETHER AN ERROR WAS MADE IN THE BID, BUT WHETHER, NEVERTHELESS, A LEGAL AND VALID CONTRACT WAS FORMED BY THE ACCEPTANCE, AND THERE BEING NO AUTHORITY FOR RELIEF FOR A UNILATERAL MISTAKE OF FACT UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE BONIFIELD HARDWARE CO., JANUARY 6, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 22, 1937, REQUESTS REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT DATED OCTOBER 6, 1937, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $11.28, IN ADDITION TO THE CONTRACT PRICE YOU HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED FOR SAW HANDLES DELIVERED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE, UNDER AN UNNUMBERED CONTRACT DATED MARCH 30, 1937. YOUR CLAIM RESTS ON AN ALLEGED MISTAKE IN THE PREPARATION OF YOUR BID.

IT APPEARS THAT IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION TO BID NO. 0-4-15, YOU AGREED TO FURNISH, AMONG OTHER ITEMS, 24 APPLEWOOD SAW HANDLES AT A PRICE OF 20 CENTS EACH, LESS 2 PERCENT DISCOUNT FOR PAYMENT WITHIN 10 DAYS. THIS BID WAS ACCEPTED BY THE GOVERNMENT ON MARCH 30, 1937. THEREAFTER YOU ALLEGED THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN THE BID. THE QUESTION NOW, OF COURSE, IS NOT WHETHER YOU MADE AN ERROR IN YOUR BID, BUT WHETHER, NEVERTHELESS, A LEGAL AND VALID CONTRACT WAS FORMED BY THE ACCEPTANCE OF YOUR BID. THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE ITEM ON WHICH THE ALLEGED ERROR OCCURRED WERE CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS AND THERE WAS NOTHING ON THE FACE OF YOUR BID INDICATING ERROR. NEITHER WAS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR BID AND THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED SO GREAT THAT IT MUST BE PRESUMED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER KNEW AT THE TIME OF ACCEPTANCE THAT THE BID WAS NOT AS INTENDED.

THE ERROR WAS NOT MUTUAL AND YOUR BID WAS ACCEPTED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IN GOOD FAITH PRIOR TO YOUR ALLEGATION OF MISTAKE. THERE CAN BE NO RELIEF GRANTED FOR A UNILATERAL MISTAKE OF FACT UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES. THE ELLICOTT MACHINE COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 44 CT.CLS. 127; AMERICAN WATER SOFTENER COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 50 CT.CLS. 209.

SINCE YOU HAVE BEEN PAID THE AGREED CONTRACT PRICE THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR PAYMENT OF ANY ADDITIONAL AMOUNT. ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM MUST BE, AND IS, SUSTAINED.