B-124033, SEP. 9, 1955

B-124033: Sep 9, 1955

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 28. THE BID WAS ACCEPTED AS TO THIS ITEM ON THE BASIS OF THE UNIT PRICE OF 6 CENTS PER POUND. AFTER BIDS WERE OPENED. IT IS APPARENT FROM THE BID THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE AS TO ITEM NO. 39. IT APPEARS THAT THE SAME IS TRUE WITH RESPECT TO SEVERAL OTHER ITEMS AS TO WHICH PRICES WERE QUOTED IN THE BID. IN EACH INSTANCE WHERE THE UNIT PRICE DID NOT AGREE WITH THE EXTENDED TOTAL PRICE THE TOTAL PRICE WAS CORRECTED TO SHOW THE CORRECT TOTAL ON THE BASIS OF THE UNIT PRICE STATED AND THE QUANTITIES SPECIFIED. IT IS INDICATED THAT THE TOTALS WERE EXTENDED BY AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE RECORD FAILS TO ESTABLISH THAT THE INITIALS WERE WRITTEN BY HIM.

B-124033, SEP. 9, 1955

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 28, 1955, TRANSMITTING THE FILE OF THE ARMED SERVICES BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS IN THE MATTER OF THE REQUEST OF CHARLES E. CARLOW FOR RELIEF FROM CONTRACT NO. O.I. 590 54, COVERING ITEM NO. 39 OF HIS BID FOR THE PURCHASE OF VEHICULAR PARTS. YOU RECOMMEND THAT THE BIDDER BE RELIEVED OF HIS OBLIGATION UNDER THE CONTRACT ON THE BASIS THAT HE MADE A BONA FIDE MISTAKE IN HIS BID ON THE SAID ITEM NO. 39.

BY INVITATION NO. 41-177-S-54-19, THE SALVAGE BRANCH, RED RIVER ARSENAL, TEXARKANA, TEXAS, REQUESTED BIDS FOR THE PURCHASE OF 90 ITEMS OF SURPLUS PROPERTY FROM THE GOVERNMENT. IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, CHARLES E. CARLOW SUBMITTED A BID DATED MARCH 2, 1954, OFFERING TO PURCHASE, AMONG OTHER ITEMS, AN ESTIMATED QUANTITY OF 20,000 POUNDS OF VEHICULAR PARTS DESCRIBED UNDER ITEM NO. 39 AT A PRICE STATED IN THE UNIT COLUMN AS 6 CENTS PER POUND, BUT EXTENDED IN THE TOTAL PRICE BID COLUMN AS $128.12. THE BID WAS ACCEPTED AS TO THIS ITEM ON THE BASIS OF THE UNIT PRICE OF 6 CENTS PER POUND, MAKING A TOTAL OF $1,200 FOR THE ITEM.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT, AFTER BIDS WERE OPENED, THE BIDDER ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER BY TELEPHONE THAT HE HAD BID $128,12 FOR ITEM NO. 39. THEREAFTER, BY LETTER DATED APRIL 3, 1954, THE BIDDER STATED THAT HE INSPECTED THE PROPERTY DESCRIBED UNDER ITEM NO. 39 BEFORE HE SUBMITTED A BID AND "VALUED THE LOT AT $128.' IN LETTER DATED APRIL 24, 1954, THE BIDDER'S ATTORNEY STATED THAT IN BIDDING ON THIS PARTICULAR ITEM HE INTENDED TO BID .6 CENT PER POUND AND THAT THE AMOUNT SET OUT IN THE "TOTAL PRICE BID" COLUMN OF $128 WOULD CERTAINLY INDICATE THAT HE DID NOT INTEND TO BID 6 CENTS PER POUND. IN AN AFFIDAVIT SWORN TO BEFORE A NOTARY PUBLIC DATED MAY 12, 1954, THE BIDDER AGAIN STATED THAT HE INTENDED TO BID SIX-TENTHS OF ONE CENT PER POUND AND THAT HE ATTEMPTED TO PLACE THAT FIGURE IN THE PROPER COLUMN.

IT IS APPARENT FROM THE BID THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE AS TO ITEM NO. 39, SINCE THE UNIT PRICE FOR THE ITEM WHEN MULTIPLIED BY THE ESTIMATED QUANTITY SPECIFIED DOES NOT EQUAL THE AMOUNT INSERTED IN THE TOTAL AMOUNT COLUMN. IT APPEARS THAT THE SAME IS TRUE WITH RESPECT TO SEVERAL OTHER ITEMS AS TO WHICH PRICES WERE QUOTED IN THE BID. IN EACH INSTANCE WHERE THE UNIT PRICE DID NOT AGREE WITH THE EXTENDED TOTAL PRICE THE TOTAL PRICE WAS CORRECTED TO SHOW THE CORRECT TOTAL ON THE BASIS OF THE UNIT PRICE STATED AND THE QUANTITIES SPECIFIED.

THE INITIALS "C. C.' APPEAR OPPOSITE THE CORRECTION IN EACH CASE. ALTHOUGH NOT DEFINITELY SO STATED, IT IS INDICATED THAT THE TOTALS WERE EXTENDED BY AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT; THE BIDDER FLATLY DENIES THAT HE APPROVED OR KNEW OF THE CORRECTIONS; AND THE RECORD FAILS TO ESTABLISH THAT THE INITIALS WERE WRITTEN BY HIM.

WHILE THE INVITATION TO BID PROVIDED THAT IN CASE OF ERROR IN EXTENSION UNIT PRICES WOULD GOVERN, AND WHILE IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THERE IS NO DUTY UPON THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO COMPUTE THE EXTENSIONS OF UNIT PRICES CONTAINED IN BIDS IN ORDER TO DETERMINE THE CORRECTNESS OF SUCH EXTENSIONS, THAT PRINCIPLE CLEARLY WAS NOT FOR APPLICATION WHERE, AS HERE, THERE WAS SUCH AN OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE UNIT AND EXTENDED PRICES, WHICH COULD NOT HAVE RESULTED FROM A MERE MATHEMATICAL INACCURACY. COMP. GEN. 746. WE CONCLUDE THAT THIS WAS SUFFICIENT TO PUT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF ERROR AND TO REQUIRE VERIFICATION OR EXPLANATION OF THE BID BEFORE IT COULD PROPERLY BE ACCEPTED.

ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE THE VALIDITY OF THE PURPORTED CORRECTION IS NOT ESTABLISHED, MR. CARLOW MAY BE RELEASED FROM HIS OBLIGATIONS UNDER CONTRACT NO. O.I. 590-54 WITH REGARD TO ITEM NO. 39, AS RECOMMENDED BY YOU, AND SUCH AMOUNT AS MAY REMAIN DUE FROM HIS DEPOSIT OF $2,000 RETURNED TO HIM.