B-125737, NOV. 9, 1955

B-125737: Nov 9, 1955

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TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 4. DA 49-018-ENG-1389 WAS AWARDED. THE BID OF THE CORPORATION WAS THE LOWEST OF THE SIXTEEN BIDS SUBMITTED AND AWARD OF CONTRACT DA-49-018-ENG-1389 WAS MADE ON AUGUST 22. THE CORPORATION ADVISED THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN THAT ITS INTENDED BID WAS $51.50. THAT THE PRICE OF $37.70 GIVEN IN ITS BID WAS THE PRICE INTENDED TO BE QUOTED TO ANOTHER AGENCY FOR A SMALLER SIZE BLANKET (44 1/2 INCHES BY 50 INCHES). THAT THE TWO BID PRICES WERE TRANSPOSED IN THE BIDS SUBMITTED. THE CONTRACTOR ALLEGES THAT THE PRICE PER BLANKET SHOWN ON ITS ORDER IS LESS THAN ITS ACTUAL COST AND REQUESTS THAT THE AWARD BE CANCELED.

B-125737, NOV. 9, 1955

TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 4, 1955, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY (LOGISTICS), REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN REGARDING AN ERROR THE INTERCHEMICAL CORPORATION, PRINTING INK DIVISION, 636 11TH AVENUE, NEW YORK 36, NEW YORK, ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID ON WHICH CONTRACT NO. DA 49-018-ENG-1389 WAS AWARDED.

BY INVITATION NO. ENG-49-018-56-12, DATED AUGUST 5, 1955, THE ARMY MAP SERVICE, WASHINGTON, C., REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING 68 BLANKETS, LITHOGRAPHIC, OFFSET PRESS, RED RUBBER, SIZE 52 1/2 INCHES BY 60 INCHES (FOR LSK OR J PRESS), IN ACCORDANCE WITH FEDERAL SPECIFICATIONS ZZ-B-417 AS AMENDED. IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, THE INTERCHEMICAL CORPORATION SUBMITTED A BID DATED AUGUST 19, 1955, OFFERING TO FURNISH THE BLANKETS AT A UNIT PRICE OF $37.70 PER BLANKET, 2 PERCENT--- 20 DAYS, AND A TOTAL CONTRACT PRICE OF $2,563.60. THE BID OF THE CORPORATION WAS THE LOWEST OF THE SIXTEEN BIDS SUBMITTED AND AWARD OF CONTRACT DA-49-018-ENG-1389 WAS MADE ON AUGUST 22, 1955.

IN A LETTER DATED AUGUST 25, 1955, THE CORPORATION ADVISED THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN THAT ITS INTENDED BID WAS $51.50; THAT THE PRICE OF $37.70 GIVEN IN ITS BID WAS THE PRICE INTENDED TO BE QUOTED TO ANOTHER AGENCY FOR A SMALLER SIZE BLANKET (44 1/2 INCHES BY 50 INCHES); AND THAT THE TWO BID PRICES WERE TRANSPOSED IN THE BIDS SUBMITTED. THE CONTRACTOR ALLEGES THAT THE PRICE PER BLANKET SHOWN ON ITS ORDER IS LESS THAN ITS ACTUAL COST AND REQUESTS THAT THE AWARD BE CANCELED. WHILE THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED RANGED FROM $40.35 TO $64.89, AND THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE OF COST WAS $41.69 FOR EACH BLANKET, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATES IN HIS REPORT OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1955, THAT THE CORPORATION'S INTENDED BID OF $51.50 PER BLANKET IS BORNE OUT BY THE FACT THAT IT WAS BIDDING ON A BLANKET OF U.S. RUBBER COMPANY MANUFACTURE, AND THAT THE PRICES BID BY THE TWO OTHER BIDDERS WHO OFFERED THE SAME BLANKET WERE $54.00 AND $51.14.

THERE IS NO STATEMENT IN THE FILE AS TO WHETHER THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONSIDERED THE CORPORATION'S BID AS BEING OUT OF LINE AND IT DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN IF CONSIDERATION IS LIMITED SOLELY TO PRICE. HOWEVER, SINCE THE INVITATION CALLED FOR A STATEMENT OF THE MAKE OF BLANKET OFFERED, THE DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE LOW BID AND THE TWO OTHER BIDS COVERING BLANKETS OF THE SAME MAKE IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY THE CONCLUSION THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD NOT HAVE ACCEPTED THE LOW BID WITHOUT REQUESTING THE BIDDER TO VERIFY ITS PRICE.

SINCE THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED APPEARS TO ESTABLISH THE EXISTENCE OF A MISTAKE IN BID, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED IF VERIFICATION HAD BEEN REQUESTED, THE CONTRACT MAY BE CANCELED.