B-124361, JUL. 21, 1955

B-124361: Jul 21, 1955

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BUREAU OF MINES: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 16. STATED TO BE DUE BY REASON OF AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN QUOTING ON ITEM 2 OF ITS BID ON WHICH CONTRACT NO. 14-09-020-1005 WAS AWARDED. PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT BIDS BASED ON DELIVERY F.O.B. WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED UNLESS BIDDER INDICATED IN HIS BID FOR EACH ITEM THE F.O.B. IN ITS LETTER THE CORPORATION STATED THAT IT WAS QUOTING F.O.B. SHIPPING POINT INASMUCH AS SUFFICIENT TIME WAS NOT GIVEN BETWEEN OPENING AND CLOSING DATE OF BID INVITATION TO PERMIT IT TO PROPERLY DETERMINE THE FREIGHT CHARGES. YOU STATE THAT NO AWARD WAS MADE ON THE BASIS OF INVITATION NO. 102 55 FOR THE REASON THAT THE ONLY BIDDER. THAT INVITATION WAS CANCELED.

B-124361, JUL. 21, 1955

TO MR. W. RULON LEE, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, BUREAU OF MINES:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 16, 1955, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF PHILIPP BROTHERS, INC., NEW YORK, NEW YORK, FOR $1,580.12, STATED TO BE DUE BY REASON OF AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN QUOTING ON ITEM 2 OF ITS BID ON WHICH CONTRACT NO. 14-09-020-1005 WAS AWARDED.

THE BUREAU OF MINES, BY INVITATION NO. 102-44, REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING A QUANTITY OF TANTALUM-COLUMBIUM SLAGS F.O.B. ALBANY, OREGON. PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT BIDS BASED ON DELIVERY F.O.B. POINT OTHER THAN F.O.B. U.S. BUREAU OF MINES, ALBANY, OREGON, WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED UNLESS BIDDER INDICATED IN HIS BID FOR EACH ITEM THE F.O.B. POINT, AUTO TRUCK PREVAILING FREIGHT RATE, AND SHIPPING WEIGHT. RESPONSE THERETO, PHILIPP BROTHERS, INC., SUBMITTED A LETTER QUOTATION DATED FEBRUARY 21, 1955, IN WHICH IT OFFERED TO FURNISH 10 TONS OF TANTALUM-COLUMBIUM SLAGS AT A PRICE OF $1.45 PER POUND F.O.B. BALTIMORE OR NEW YORK. IN ITS LETTER THE CORPORATION STATED THAT IT WAS QUOTING F.O.B. SHIPPING POINT INASMUCH AS SUFFICIENT TIME WAS NOT GIVEN BETWEEN OPENING AND CLOSING DATE OF BID INVITATION TO PERMIT IT TO PROPERLY DETERMINE THE FREIGHT CHARGES.

YOU STATE THAT NO AWARD WAS MADE ON THE BASIS OF INVITATION NO. 102 55 FOR THE REASON THAT THE ONLY BIDDER, PHILIPP BROTHERS, INC., HAD FAILED TO FURNISH THE REQUESTED INFORMATION REGARDING SHIPPING COSTS AND, THEREFORE, THAT INVITATION WAS CANCELED. INVITATION NO. 109-55 WAS THEN ISSUED REQUESTING BIDS UNDER ITEM 2 FOR FURNISHING THE SAME TYPE OF MATERIAL IN THE SAME QUANTITY AS SPECIFIED IN THE PREVIOUS INVITATION, AND IN RESPONSE THERETO, PHILIPP BROTHERS, INC., SUBMITTED THE ONLY BID WHICH WAS DATED MARCH 11, 1955, OFFERING TO FURNISH 10 TONS OF THE MATERIAL REQUIRED UNDER ITEM 2 AT A PRICE OF $1.46 PER POUND F.O.B. ALBANY, OREGON. THE BID OF THE CORPORATION WAS ACCEPTED AS TO ITEM 2 ON MARCH 24, 1955.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE MATERIAL WAS DELIVERED BY PHILIPP BROTHERS, INC., AND THAT SHORTLY AFTER RECEIVING PAYMENT THEREFOR, THE CORPORATION ADVISED BY LETTER DATED MAY 17, 1955, THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN ITS BID OF MARCH 11, 1955, IN THAT IT HAD FAILED TO INCLUDE THE CORRECT FREIGHT CHARGES IN ITS BID PRICE FOR ITEM 2. IT STATED THAT INSTEAD OF ADDING THE FREIGHT EQUIVALENT OF $0.65 PER POUND TO THE F.O.B. SHIPPING POINT PRICE OF $1.45 PER POUND, IT INADVERTENTLY ADDED ONLY $0.0065 PER POUND TO THE SHIPPING POINT PRICE TO ARRIVE AT ITS BID PRICE OF $1.46 PER POUND, AND THAT THE CORRECT PRICE FOR THE MATERIAL FOR DELIVERY TO ALBANY, OREGON, IS $2.10 PER POUND. IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR THE CORPORATION SUBMITTED A PHOTOSTATIC COPY OF A PAID FREIGHT BILL IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,596.93.

ORDINARILY, WHEN ONLY ONE BID PRICE IS RECEIVED ON AN ITEM, AS IN THE PRESENT CASE, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR A COMPARISON OF BIDS; HENCE, THERE IS NOTHING TO PLACE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR IN THE BID. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 560; AND 26 ID. 415. HOWEVER, THERE WAS OF RECORD A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 21, 1955, FROM PHILIPP BROTHERS, INC., TO THE SAME CONTRACTING OFFICER WHO ISSUED INVITATION NOS. 102-55 AND 109-55, IN WHICH THE CONTRACTOR SUBMITTED A BID FOR DELIVERY OF THE MATERIAL F.O.B. BALTIMORE OR NEW YORK, WHICH BID IS ONLY ONE CENT PER POUND LESS THAN THE PRICE QUOTED IN THE SUBJECT BID ON IDENTICAL MATERIAL WHICH IS TO BE DELIVERED F.O.B. ALBANY, OREGON. IN VIEW OF THE NATURE OF THE ITEM AND THE FACT THAT THE ITEM WAS TO BE TRANSPORTED FROM THE EAST COAST TO THE WEST COAST, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE SMALL DIFFERENCE OF ONLY ONE CENT BETWEEN THE CORPORATION'S F.O.B. SHIPPING POINT PRICE AND THE DELIVERED PRICE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT TO HAVE PLACED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF A PROBABLE ERROR IN THE BID; HENCE, THE BID SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED WITHOUT AFFORDING THE CORPORATION AN OPPORTUNITY TO VERIFY THE SAME. ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR DOUBT THAT THE CORPORATION MADE AN ERROR IN ITS BID AS ALLEGED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER, UPON WHICH A REFERENCE TO THIS DECISION SHOULD BE MADE, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,580.12.

THE VOUCHER AND ACCOMPANYING PAPERS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE CONTRACTOR'S LETTER OF MAY 17, 1955, AND THE COPY OF THE PAID FREIGHT BILL, ARE RETURNED.