B-124285, JUN. 22, 1955

B-124285: Jun 22, 1955

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TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 13. THE BIDS WERE OPENED ON JUNE 2. ONE OF THESE BIDDERS WAS THE SHARPLES CORPORATION. THE MANUFACTURER AND SUPPLIER FROM WHOM CHEMICAL RUBBER RECEIVED THE QUOTATION ON WHICH ITS BID WAS BASED. WHEREAS IT LATER WAS DISCOVERED THAT THE TELEGRAM ACTUALLY SENT QUOTED A PRICE OF $285 EACH. A COPY OF THE TELEGRAM AS RECORDED ON THE TELEFAX MACHINE WAS FURNISHED CLEARLY AS SHOWING THE IRREGULARITY TO BE AS ALLEGED. THE SECOND DIGIT OF THE PRICE QUOTED THEREON WAS REGISTERED SO AS TO SHOW ONLY SLIGHTLY OVER HALF OF THE FIGURE "8" AND TO GIVE THE APPEARANCE OF THE FIGURE "3.'. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT A BONA FIDE ERROR WAS MADE IN SUBMITTING THE BID OF $235 EACH ON ITEM NO. 1.

B-124285, JUN. 22, 1955

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 13, 1955, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO A BID DATED MAY 27, 1955, SUBMITTED BY THE CHEMICAL RUBBER CO. IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION NO. ARS-838-B-55, IN VIEW OF THE BIDDER'S ALLEGATION OF ERROR.

THE BIDS WERE OPENED ON JUNE 2, 1955. THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT CHEMICAL RUBBER BID $235 PER ITEM AND THE 11 OTHER BIDDERS EACH QUOTED A PRICE OF $285 PER ITEM. ONE OF THESE BIDDERS WAS THE SHARPLES CORPORATION, THE MANUFACTURER AND SUPPLIER FROM WHOM CHEMICAL RUBBER RECEIVED THE QUOTATION ON WHICH ITS BID WAS BASED. BY TELEGRAM OF JUNE 6 AND CONFIRMING LETTER OF JUNE 7, 1955, THE COMPANY CLAIMED AN ERROR IN ITS BID DUE TO A FAULT IN THE TYPED COPY OF A TELEGRAM, RECEIVED ON ITS TELEFAX MACHINE, FROM ITS SUPPLIER WHICH SHOWED THE SUPPLIER'S QUOTATION TO BE $235 EACH, WHEREAS IT LATER WAS DISCOVERED THAT THE TELEGRAM ACTUALLY SENT QUOTED A PRICE OF $285 EACH. A PHOTOSTATIC COPY OF THE ORIGINAL TELEGRAM AND A LETTER DATED JUNE 7, 1955, FROM ITS SUPPLIER, SUPPORT THE BIDDER'S CONTENTION AS TO THE CORRECT PRICE. A COPY OF THE TELEGRAM AS RECORDED ON THE TELEFAX MACHINE WAS FURNISHED CLEARLY AS SHOWING THE IRREGULARITY TO BE AS ALLEGED. THE SECOND DIGIT OF THE PRICE QUOTED THEREON WAS REGISTERED SO AS TO SHOW ONLY SLIGHTLY OVER HALF OF THE FIGURE "8" AND TO GIVE THE APPEARANCE OF THE FIGURE "3.' A READER IN THE EXERCISE OF ORDINARY CARE WOULD SO INTERPRET THE FIGURE AND CONSEQUENTLY CONSIDER THE TELEGRAPHED QUOTATION TO BE $235 INSTEAD OF THE SUPPLIER'S INTENDED PRICE OF $285.

OBVIOUSLY, THE COMPANY WOULD NOT INTENTIONALLY QUOTE A UNIT PRICE $500 LESS THAN THE PRICE WHICH ITS SUPPLIER ASKED IN ITS OWN BID FOR FURNISHING THE COMMODITY REQUIRED. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT A BONA FIDE ERROR WAS MADE IN SUBMITTING THE BID OF $235 EACH ON ITEM NO. 1. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE ERROR WAS ALLEGED AND EXPLAINED BY THE BIDDER PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF THE CHEMICAL RUBBER CO. SHOULD BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING THE AWARD.