B-125597, SEP. 29, 1955

B-125597: Sep 29, 1955

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PUBLIC PRINTER: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28. BIDS WERE REQUESTED ON THE BASIS OF A PRICE PER 100 POUNDS. THAT $53.998 WAS INTENDED AS A PRICE PER TON RATHER THAN A PRICE PER 100 POUNDS AND THAT. THE QUESTION OF WHETHER A BIDDER MAY CHANGE HIS BID AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED BECAUSE OF AN ERROR ALWAYS PRESENTS A MATTER OF SERIOUS CONCERN. NOT ONLY THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE. WHAT PRICE THE BIDDER WOULD HAVE QUOTED BUT FOR THE ERROR. IT CAN ONLY BE ASSUMED THAT THE QUOTED PRICE WAS INTENDED TO BE $53.998 PER TON. THIS IS NOT ESTABLISHED TO BE A FACT. IT IS AT LEAST POSSIBLE THAT A DIFFERENT PRICE WAS INTENDED BUT NOT QUOTED BECAUSE THE DECIMAL POINT WAS MISPLACED OR THAT THE QUOTED PRICE WAS INTENDED TO BE APPLICABLE TO SOME QUANTITY OTHER THAN A TON.

B-125597, SEP. 29, 1955

TO HONORABLE RAYMOND BLATTENBERGER, PUBLIC PRINTER:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1955, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN REGARDING AN ERROR THE GOOD PACK COMPANY ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON SEPTEMBER 23, 1955.

THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, BY INVITATION DATED SEPTEMBER 9, 1955, REQUESTED BIDS FOR THE PURCHASE OF AN ESTIMATED 2,500,000 POUNDS OF UNSORTED GRADES OF WASTE PAPER TO BE REMOVED FROM THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE PREMISES AND OTHER PREMISES DURING THE PERIOD FROM OCTOBER 1 TO DECEMBER 31, 1955. BIDS WERE REQUESTED ON THE BASIS OF A PRICE PER 100 POUNDS. IN RESPONSE, THE GOOD PACK COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID QUOTING THE FIGURE OF 53.998 IN THE PRICE COLUMN, THE DOLLAR SIGN BEING OMITTED.

UPON BEING REQUESTED TO VERIFY ITS BID, THE GOOD PACK COMPANY ADVISED BY LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 23, 1955, THAT $53.998 WAS INTENDED AS A PRICE PER TON RATHER THAN A PRICE PER 100 POUNDS AND THAT, ON THE BASIS OF THE PER- TON PRICE, THE PRICE FOR 100 POUNDS WOULD BE $2.6999.

THE QUESTION OF WHETHER A BIDDER MAY CHANGE HIS BID AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED BECAUSE OF AN ERROR ALWAYS PRESENTS A MATTER OF SERIOUS CONCERN. IN A FACTUAL SITUATION SUCH AS PRESENT IN THIS CASE, A CHANGE IN PRICE PROPERLY MAY BE AUTHORIZED ONLY IF THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD CONCLUSIVELY ESTABLISHES, NOT ONLY THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE, BUT, ALSO, WHAT PRICE THE BIDDER WOULD HAVE QUOTED BUT FOR THE ERROR. HERE, IT CAN ONLY BE ASSUMED THAT THE QUOTED PRICE WAS INTENDED TO BE $53.998 PER TON. THIS IS NOT ESTABLISHED TO BE A FACT. IT IS AT LEAST POSSIBLE THAT A DIFFERENT PRICE WAS INTENDED BUT NOT QUOTED BECAUSE THE DECIMAL POINT WAS MISPLACED OR THAT THE QUOTED PRICE WAS INTENDED TO BE APPLICABLE TO SOME QUANTITY OTHER THAN A TON. THE RECORD PRESENTED IS THEREFORE NOT CONSIDERED SUFFICIENT TO WARRANT A DEPARTURE FROM THE BASIC RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 575 AND 23 ID. 596, 599.

HOWEVER, THE BID OF THE GOOD PACK COMPANY IN THE AMOUNT OF $53.998 PER 100 POUNDS IS ENTIRELY OUT OF LINE WITH THE FIVE OTHER BIDS RANGING FROM $2.6125 TO $1.375 PER 100 POUNDS. IT BEING THUS APPARENT THAT THE COMPANY MADE AN ERROR IN ITS BID, AS ALLEGED, AND SINCE THIS FACT WAS CONFIRMED BY THE COMPANY PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF THE GOOD PACK COMPANY MAY BE DISREGARDED WITHOUT FORFEITURE OF BID SECURITY.