B-125154, SEP. 8, 1955

B-125154: Sep 8, 1955

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 11. THE BIDS WERE OPENED ON APRIL 14. THE BID SUBMITTED BY THE COMPANY WAS THE NINTH BID TO BE OPENED. THIS REQUEST WAS DENIED. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED THAT SINCE THE INVITATION WAS MAILED TO PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS ON MARCH 22. IT IS APPARENT THAT BIDDERS HAD AMPLE TIME TO INSPECT THE MATERIAL. IT IS TO BE EXPECTED THAT UNDER ADVERTISEMENTS FOR SALE OF USED. THERE WILL BE A WIDER RANGE IN THE BIDS. DEPENDENT MORE OR LESS UPON THE USE TO WHICH THE PROPERTY IS TO BE PUT BY THE PARTICULAR BIDDER OR THE CHANCES OF RESALE THEREOF. WE ARE UNABLE TO HOLD THAT THE VARIATION IN THE PRICES OFFERED WAS SUFFICIENT TO CHARGE HIM WITH NOTICE OF PROBABLE ERROR.

B-125154, SEP. 8, 1955

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 11, 1955, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN--- IN VIEW OF THE BIDDER'S ALLEGATION OR ERROR--- WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN ITEMS OF A BID SUBMITTED BY M. D. GOODRICH AND COMPANY ON MISCELLANEOUS AIRCRAFT RADIO SPARE PARTS OFFERED FOR SALE BY THE NAVAL AIR STATION, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.

BY INVITATION NO. B 164-55, DATED MARCH 22, 1955, THE NAVAL AIR STATION AT SAN DIEGO OFFERED FOR SALE 31 LOTS OF MISCELLANEOUS AIRCRAFT RADIO SPARE PARTS AND M. D. GOODRICH AND COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID OFFERING TO PURCHASE CERTAIN OF THE ITEMS AT PRICES AGGREGATING APPROXIMATELY $6,000. THE BIDS WERE OPENED ON APRIL 14, 1955. THE BID SUBMITTED BY THE COMPANY WAS THE NINTH BID TO BE OPENED; HOWEVER, AFTER THE THIRD BID HAD BEEN READ A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COMPANY ASKED THAT ITS BID BE PERMITTED TO BE WITHDRAWN. THIS REQUEST WAS DENIED, AND WE BELIEVE PROPERLY SO.

IN A CONFIRMING LETTER DATED APRIL 15, 1955, THE COMPANY ADVISED, IN PERTINENT PART, THAT THERE HAD BEEN INSUFFICIENT TIME TO INSPECT MATERIAL AND EVALUATE CERTAIN LOTS. HOWEVER, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED THAT SINCE THE INVITATION WAS MAILED TO PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS ON MARCH 22, 1955, A PERIOD OF 23 DAYS PRIOR TO BID OPENING, IT IS APPARENT THAT BIDDERS HAD AMPLE TIME TO INSPECT THE MATERIAL. THE BIDDER IN ITS LETTER REQUESTED THAT RELIEF BE GRANTED OR THAT THEY BE DISQUALIFIED FROM THE BID ENTIRELY.

WHILE THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT THE PRICES QUOTED BY OTHER BIDDERS ON THE PARTICULAR ITEMS VARY CONSIDERABLY, IT IS TO BE EXPECTED THAT UNDER ADVERTISEMENTS FOR SALE OF USED, SCRAP, OR SALVAGE GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, THERE WILL BE A WIDER RANGE IN THE BIDS, DEPENDENT MORE OR LESS UPON THE USE TO WHICH THE PROPERTY IS TO BE PUT BY THE PARTICULAR BIDDER OR THE CHANCES OF RESALE THEREOF, THAN IN PRICES QUOTED ON NEW EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES, ETC., TO BE PURCHASED BY THE GOVERNMENT. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 976. SINCE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, IN HIS REPORT DATED APRIL 25, 1955, STATES HIS OPINION THAT THE PRICES BID BY THE GOODRICH COMPANY REFLECT A FAIR MARKET VALUE OF THE MATERIAL OFFERED, WE ARE UNABLE TO HOLD THAT THE VARIATION IN THE PRICES OFFERED WAS SUFFICIENT TO CHARGE HIM WITH NOTICE OF PROBABLE ERROR.

BEFORE THIS OFFICE WOULD BE WARRANTED IN AUTHORIZING THE CORRECTION OR WITHDRAWAL OF THE COMPANY'S BID, IT MUST BE ESTABLISHED BY COMPETENT EVIDENCE THAT THE BID SUBMITTED WAS NOT THAT WHICH THE BIDDER INTENDED. THE PROOF SHOULD BE OF A CONVINCING NATURE. SEE 9 COMP. GEN. 339; 14 ID. 78, 80; 16 ID. 565; 17 ID. 532. NO SUCH PROOF HAS BEEN PRESENTED IN THIS CASE, IT APPEARING, AT MOST, THAT THE FIGURES INSERTED, BY AN AGENT AUTHORIZED TO SIGN AND SUBMIT THE BID, WERE NOT AS INTENDED BY ANOTHER AGENT. EVEN THIS CLAIM IS WEAKENED BY THE FACT THAT THE PRICES ORIGINALLY INSERTED WERE INKED THROUGH AND LOWER PRICES INSERTED ON SOME OF THE ITEMS, SHOWING THAT THE PRICES QUOTED HAD BEEN WELL CONSIDERED AND WERE NOT HASTY FIRST IMPRESSIONS.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE FACTS OF RECORD IN THIS CASE ARE INSUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY THE CONCLUSION THAT M. D. GOODRICH AND COMPANY IS ENTITLED TO BE RELIEVED FROM THE OBLIGATION OF ITS BID.