B-124760, AUG. 24, 1955

B-124760: Aug 24, 1955

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TO SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JULY 20. ADVISED THAT THE UNIT PRICE HE QUOTED FOR EACH OF THESE FIVE ITEMS OF HIS BID WAS INTENDED AS THE TOTAL PRICE FOR THE ITEM. THE BID FORM TENDED TO INDICATE THAT ONLY UNIT PRICES WERE DESIRED ON SUCH ITEMS. WAS MORE READILY SUBJECT TO MISINTERPRETATION THAN IF SPACE HAD BEEN PROVIDED FOR BOTH UNIT AND TOTAL PRICES. SINCE THE DIFFERENCE IS CONSIDERABLE AND SINCE THE BID DEPOSIT OF $140. WHICH WAS REQUIRED TO BE 20 PERCENT OF/THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE ENTIRE BID. WAS CORRECT ONLY ON THE BASIS OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE BID ($701.50) AS ALLEGEDLY INTENDED. INCLUDING THE EXTENDED AMOUNTS OF THE ELEVEN ITEMS BID ON WHERE THERE ARE MORE THAN ONE UNIT).

B-124760, AUG. 24, 1955

TO SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JULY 20, 1955, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY (LOGISTICS AND R AND D), REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN--- IN VIEW OF THE BIDDER'S ALLEGATION OF ERROR--- WITH RESPECT TO THE CONTRACT RESULTING FROM THE ACCEPTANCE OF CERTAIN ITEMS OF AN UNDATED BID SUBMITTED BY JOSEPH S. GORDIN, WHEREIN HE OFFERED TO PURCHASE 38 OF THE 276 ITEMS OF USED GOVERNMENT-OWNED PROPERTY OFFERED FOR SALE AT FORT BELVOIR, VIRGINIA, UNDER INVITATION NO. 44-008-S- 55-40, AS AMENDED.

AFTER RECEIVING NOTICE OF AWARD DATED MAY 10, 1955, AS TO ITEMS NOS. 40, 83, 93, 105 AND 164, MR. GORDIN, BY LETTER DATED MAY 17, 1955, ADVISED THAT THE UNIT PRICE HE QUOTED FOR EACH OF THESE FIVE ITEMS OF HIS BID WAS INTENDED AS THE TOTAL PRICE FOR THE ITEM, RATHER THAN "PER EACH" UNIT OF THE RESPECTIVE ITEM. A COMPARISON OF HIS BIDS WITH THE UNIT PRICE BIDS RECEIVED ON THESE ITEMS FROM OTHER BIDDERS DISCLOSES THE FOLLOWING VARIANCES:

TABLE

ITEM UNITS BIDS RECEIVED

NO. 40 5 $12.50 (GORDIN); 12 RANGING FROM $0.50 TO

$3.21, AND ONE $6.

NO. 83 6 $7.20 (GORDIN); $1.11 AND $2.34.

NO. 93 2 $5 (GORDIN); SIX OTHERS RANGING FROM $1

TO $3.60.

NO. 105 10 $15 (GORDIN); SEVEN OTHERS RANGING FROM

$0.51 TO $2.06.

NO. 164 6 $9 (GORDIN); ONLY OTHER BID $2.25.

CONSIDERED AS TOTAL LOT BIDS, AS ALLEGEDLY INTENDED, THE GORDIN BID WOULD NO LONGER BE THE HIGHEST BID RECEIVED ON ANY OF THE FIVE ITEMS.

BY DELETING THE AREA, OR SPACE, IN WHICH THE EXTENDED AMOUNT WOULD ORDINARILY BE INSERTED IN THE "TOTAL PRICE BID" COLUMN FOR ALL ITEMS CONSISTING OF MORE THAN ONE UNIT AND HAVING "EACH" SHOWN AS THE UNIT, THE BID FORM TENDED TO INDICATE THAT ONLY UNIT PRICES WERE DESIRED ON SUCH ITEMS, BUT WAS MORE READILY SUBJECT TO MISINTERPRETATION THAN IF SPACE HAD BEEN PROVIDED FOR BOTH UNIT AND TOTAL PRICES.

ORDINARILY A MERE DIFFERENCE IN THE PRICES QUOTED FOR THE SALE OF USED OR SALVAGE GOVERNMENT-OWNED PROPERTY WOULD NOT NECESSARILY PLACE A CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF ERROR, AS WOULD A LIKE DIFFERENCE IN PRICES QUOTED ON NEW EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES, ETC., TO BE FURNISHED TO THE GOVERNMENT. SEE 16 COMP. GEN. 596; 17 ID. 388; ID. 601; 28 ID. 261; ID. 550. HOWEVER, IN THE PRESENT CASE, SINCE THE DIFFERENCE IS CONSIDERABLE AND SINCE THE BID DEPOSIT OF $140, WHICH WAS REQUIRED TO BE 20 PERCENT OF/THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE ENTIRE BID, WAS CORRECT ONLY ON THE BASIS OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE BID ($701.50) AS ALLEGEDLY INTENDED, AND OBVIOUSLY INADEQUATE IF COMPARED WITH THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE BID AS SUBMITTED ($1,499.50, INCLUDING THE EXTENDED AMOUNTS OF THE ELEVEN ITEMS BID ON WHERE THERE ARE MORE THAN ONE UNIT), THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD HAVE TAKEN NOTICE OF PROBABILITY OF ERROR AND OFFERED THE BIDDER AN OPPORTUNITY TO VERIFY HIS BID PRIOR TO AWARD.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THERE APPEARS TO BE LITTLE, IF ANY, DOUBT THAT A BONA FIDE ERROR WAS MADE AS ALLEGED AND SINCE THE PROPERTY INVOLVED IS STILL IN THE GOVERNMENT'S POSSESSION, THE AWARD MAY BE CANCELLED AND THE BID DEPOSIT RETURNED TO THE BIDDER AS ADMINISTRATIVELY RECOMMENDED.

THE BID OF JOSEPH S. GORDIN IS RETURNED. THE OTHER PAPERS TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR REQUEST FOR A DECISION ARE BEING RETAINED IN OUR OFFICE FILES, SUBJECT TO YOUR APPROVAL.