B-125854, NOV. 3, 1955

B-125854: Nov 3, 1955

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TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 20. A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO THE APPROPRIATE ACTION TO BE TAKEN BY YOUR DEPARTMENT IN THE MATTER. CRAMER AND MAURER SUBMITTED BIDS FOR CERTAIN OF THE ITEMS AND THE SAME WERE ACCEPTED ON JUNE 10. ONLY ITEM 13 IS BEING CONSIDERED HEREIN SINCE THE CONTRACTOR ALLEGED THAT A MISTAKE WAS MADE. IN THAT ITS BID COVERING THAT ITEM WAS INTENDED TO COVER ITEM 11 OF THE INVITATION. THAT THE RANGE OF BIDS WAS OF SUCH WIDE VARIANCE THAT AN ALLEGED ERROR BY ANY ONE BIDDER COULD NOT BE DETERMINED. IT APPEARS FROM THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS THAT THE HIGH BID AS TO ITEM 11 WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $1. THE BID OF THE PROTESTANT WAS APPROXIMATELY 2 1/2 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF THE NEXT LOWER BID.

B-125854, NOV. 3, 1955

TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 20, 1955, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (MATERIAL), RELATING TO A MISTAKE IN BID ALLEGED BY CRAMER AND MAURER, HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA, UNDER CONTRACT NO. N209S-8827 (SALES INVITATION NO. B-35-55), ISSUED BY THE U.S. MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, MIAMI, FLORIDA, AS SET FORTH IN THE NAVY SUPPLY AND FISCAL OFFICER'S LETTER OF JULY 8, 1955, WITH ENCLOSURES. IN VIEW OF THE FACTS SET FORTH IN THE ENCLOSURES TO THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 20, 1955, A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO THE APPROPRIATE ACTION TO BE TAKEN BY YOUR DEPARTMENT IN THE MATTER.

BY INVITATION NO. B-35-55, DATED MAY 26, 1955, THE U.S. MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, MIAMI, FLORIDA, OFFERED FOR SALE CERTAIN USED VEHICLES, THE BIDS TO BE OPENED ON JUNE 9, 1955. IN RESPONSE THERETO, CRAMER AND MAURER SUBMITTED BIDS FOR CERTAIN OF THE ITEMS AND THE SAME WERE ACCEPTED ON JUNE 10, 1955, AS TO ITEMS 5, 6, 7, AND 13. ONLY ITEM 13 IS BEING CONSIDERED HEREIN SINCE THE CONTRACTOR ALLEGED THAT A MISTAKE WAS MADE, IN THAT ITS BID COVERING THAT ITEM WAS INTENDED TO COVER ITEM 11 OF THE INVITATION.

ITEM 13 COVERED A FORKLIFT TRUCK HAVING A 2,000 POUND CAPACITY, SOLID TIRES, ETC., AND HAVING AN ACQUISITION COST OF $2,000. AS TO THIS ITEM THE CONTRACTOR SUBMITTED A BID OF $1,247. IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT AT THE OPENING OF THE BIDS THE CONTRACTOR ALLEGED ERROR IN THAT HE HAD REVERSED HIS BIDS AS TO ITEMS 11 AND 13. RESPECTING THE ALLEGATION OF ERROR, THE NAVY SUPPLY AND FISCAL OFFICER STATED IN HIS LETTER OF JULY 8, 1955, THAT THE RANGE OF BIDS WAS OF SUCH WIDE VARIANCE THAT AN ALLEGED ERROR BY ANY ONE BIDDER COULD NOT BE DETERMINED.

IT APPEARS FROM THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS THAT THE HIGH BID AS TO ITEM 11 WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,617, AS COMPARED TO THE BID AMOUNTING TO $490 BY CRAMER AND MAURER. ALSO, THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THE BID OF CRAMER AND MAURER AS TO ITEM 13 AS IN THE SUM OF $1,247, AS COMPARED TO THE NEXT LOWER BID AMOUNTING TO $508. IN OTHER WORDS, THE BID OF THE PROTESTANT WAS APPROXIMATELY 2 1/2 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF THE NEXT LOWER BID. WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT A WIDE RANGE IN BIDS IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF SURPLUS PROPERTY DOES NOT NECESSARILY PLACE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF POSSIBLE ERROR, IT DOES SEEM THAT UNDER THE FACTS DISCLOSED, THE ALLEGATION OF ERROR IN THIS CASE--- MADE KNOWN PRIOR TO THE AWARD--- REQUIRED A CAREFUL EXAMINATION OF ALL THE FACTORS INVOLVED. THAT IS TO SAY, WHERE THERE IS CONSIDERED THE FACT THAT THE BIDS BY CRAMER AND MAURER AS TO ITEMS 11 AND 13, WHEN CONSIDERED IN THEIR REVERSE ORDER, WERE IN LINE WITH THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED, WHEREAS, WHEN CONSIDERED AS MADE THEY ARE WHOLLY OUT OF LINE WITH THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED, THE EXISTENCE OF AN ERROR IN THE BID APPEARS TO BE REASONABLY ESTABLISHED, AND ITS ACCEPTANCE BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AFTER HE HAD BEEN PUT ON NOTICE OF THE CLAIM OF ERROR WAS NOT JUSTIFIED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE CONTRACT AS TO ITEM 13 SHOULD BE CANCELED AND THE BID DEPOSIT REFUNDED.

THE PAPERS TRANSMITTED WITH THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 20, 1955, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE NAVY SUPPLY AND FISCAL OFFICER'S LETTER OF JULY 8, 1955, ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.