B-125656, OCT. 6, 1955

B-125656: Oct 6, 1955

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TO THE HONORABLE POSTMASTER GENERAL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 30. OPPOSITE EACH ITEM IS A SPACE FOR THE BIDDER TO INSERT HIS UNIT PRICE AND SHIPPING WEIGHT. (PLEASE STATE) BIDDER IS REQUIRED TO STATE APPROXIMATE SHIPPING WEIGHT PER ITEM. AWARD WILL BE MADE TO THE LOWEST BIDDER IN THE AGGREGATE (FOR PM. IT IS REPORTED THAT IF "NORMAL TRANSPORTATION CHARGES OF $8. 590.50" ARE ADDED TO THE BOHN-DAVIS BID. ALTHOUGH THE ENTIRE FORMAT OF THE INVITATION IS FOR BIDS TO BE SUBMITTED ONLY ON AN F.O.B. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE INVITATION WHICH SPECIFICALLY RESTRICTED BIDDERS TO QUOTING ON THAT BASIS OR PROHIBITED BIDDERS FROM QUOTING ON AN F.O.B. ORIGIN WOULD BE EVALUATED SO FAR AS TRANSPORTATION CHARGES WERE CONCERNED.

B-125656, OCT. 6, 1955

TO THE HONORABLE POSTMASTER GENERAL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1955, FROM THE CHIEF OF PROCUREMENT, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER AN AWARD PROPERLY MAY BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE BIDS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 555, OPENED ON SEPTEMBER 23, 1955.

THE INVITATION REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING VARIOUS ITEMS OF POST OFFICE SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT, CONSISTING MOSTLY OF VARIOUS TYPES OF TABLES, DESKS, CABINETS AND CASES. OPPOSITE EACH ITEM IS A SPACE FOR THE BIDDER TO INSERT HIS UNIT PRICE AND SHIPPING WEIGHT. ON PAGE 3 OF THE INVITATION, IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE LISTING OF THE ITEMS, APPEARS THE FOLLOWING:

TABLE

"F.O.B. CARS OR WHARVES AT ------------------

(PLEASE STATE)

BIDDER IS REQUIRED TO STATE APPROXIMATE SHIPPING WEIGHT PER

ITEM.

AWARD WILL BE MADE TO THE LOWEST BIDDER IN THE AGGREGATE (FOR

PM, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON)

(NEW TERMINAL ANNEX)"

IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION BOHN-DAVIS SUBMITTED A BID IN THE AMOUNT OF $79,875, F.O.B. COLUMBUS, INDIANA, LESS A DISCOUNT OF ONE PERCENT FOR PAYMENT WITHIN 20 CALENDAR DAYS. CORBIN WOOD PRODUCTS QUOTED A PRICE OF $87,888, F.O.B. DESTINATION, LESS A DISCOUNT OF ONE PERCENT FOR PAYMENT WITHIN 20 CALENDAR DAYS. THE TWO OTHER BIDS RECEIVED QUOTED HIGHER PRICES F.O.B. LONG ISLAND CITY, NEW YORK, AND CARLISLE, PENNSYLVANIA.

IT IS REPORTED THAT IF "NORMAL TRANSPORTATION CHARGES OF $8,590.50" ARE ADDED TO THE BOHN-DAVIS BID, IT EXCEEDS THE CORBIN BID. BY LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 23, 1955, SUBMITTED AFTER THE BID OPENING, BOHN-DAVIS STATED THAT, WHILE IT DID NOT SUBMIT AN ALTERNATE BID ON A DELIVERED BASIS, THE MATERIAL COULD BE SHIPPED TO SEATTLE VIA TRUCK, IN AN UNCRATED CONDITION, FOR THE AMOUNT OF $5,490 WHICH WOULD MAKE ITS NET DESTINATION PRICE $85,016.25.

ALTHOUGH THE ENTIRE FORMAT OF THE INVITATION IS FOR BIDS TO BE SUBMITTED ONLY ON AN F.O.B. ORIGIN BASIS, THERE IS NOTHING IN THE INVITATION WHICH SPECIFICALLY RESTRICTED BIDDERS TO QUOTING ON THAT BASIS OR PROHIBITED BIDDERS FROM QUOTING ON AN F.O.B. DESTINATION BASIS. NOR DID THE INVITATION APPRISE BIDDERS OF THE BASIS ON WHICH BIDS OFFERING DELIVERY F.O.B. ORIGIN WOULD BE EVALUATED SO FAR AS TRANSPORTATION CHARGES WERE CONCERNED. THE TERM "NORMAL TRANSPORTATION CHARGES" IS ASSUMED TO HAVE REFERENCE TO THE CHARGES WHICH WOULD BE INCURRED BY SHIPMENT BY RAIL OR WATER BUT WHERE A PROCUREMENT IS SUCH THAT SATISFACTORY DELIVERY CAN BE MADE BY PRIVATE OR COMMERCIAL TRUCK, OR ANY OTHER METHOD, AT A LESSER COST, THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING STATUTES WOULD APPEAR TO REQUIRE THAT BIDS BE SOLICITED IN SUCH MANNER AS TO GIVE ALL BIDDERS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT FACT AND TO ACQUIRE FOR THE GOVERNMENT THE FULL BENEFIT OF THE CHEAPER TRANSPORTATION CHARGES. IN FACT, WHERE PREFERENTIAL RATES TO THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT AVAILABLE AND WHERE THE DESTINATION IS KNOWN, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT IN REQUESTING BIDS ON AN F.O.B. ORIGIN BASIS.

BECAUSE OF THE DEFICIENCIES REFERRED TO, THE INVITATION IN THIS CASE DID NOT OBTAIN THE REQUIRED RESULTS. IT IS ACCORDINGLY OUR VIEW THAT THE INVITATION WAS LEGALLY DEFECTIVE AND THAT ALL BIDS SHOULD BE REJECTED AND THE PROCUREMENT READVERTISED.