B-126281, DEC. 9, 1955

B-126281: Dec 9, 1955

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TO SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 6. IS BASED. THE BID OF THE CORPORATION WAS ACCEPTED AS TO ITEMS 3C TO 3L. SHOULD HAVE BEEN $0.36 PER POUND INSTEAD OF $0.27 PER POUND AND POINTED OUT THAT THE FACT THAT IT HAD QUOTED A PRICE OF $0.36 PER POUND FOR THE SAME TYPE OF SEED UNDER ITEMS 3A AND 3B WOULD SUBSTANTIATE THAT THE CORRECT PRICE FOR THE SEED COVERED BY ITEMS 3C TO 3L. IS $0.36 PER POUND. THE SEED COVERED BY ITEMS 3A AND 3B IS IDENTICAL IN EVERY RESPECT WITH THE SEED COVERED BY ITEMS 3C TO 3L. ALL OF THE SEED IS TO BE DELIVERED TO VARIOUS DESTINATIONS WITHIN THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI. IT IS NOTED THAT SIX OF THE OTHER BIDDERS QUOTED ONE PRICE ON ITEMS 3A TO 3L.

B-126281, DEC. 9, 1955

TO SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 6, 1955, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN RELATIVE TO AN ERROR THE BINGHAM SEED COMPANY, INC., JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID ON WHICH UNNUMBERED CONTRACT (PURCHASE ORDER NO. 569-SCS-56) DATED NOVEMBER 10, 1955, IS BASED.

THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE, WASHINGTON, D.C., BY INVITATION NO. SCS-10 -56, REQUESTED BIDS--- TO BE OPENED NOVEMBER 8, 1955--- FOR FURNISHING, AMONG OTHER ITEMS, VARIOUS QUANTITIES OF HULLED BERMUDA SEED FOR DELIVERY TO TEN DIFFERENT DESTINATIONS IN THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, ITEMS 3A TO 3L, INCLUSIVE. IN RESPONSE, THE BINGHAM SEED COMPANY, INC. SUBMITTED A BID DATED NOVEMBER 4, 1955, OFFERING TO DELIVER HULLED BERMUDA SEED TO THE DESTINATIONS SET FORTH OPPOSITE ITEMS 3A AND 3B AT A PRICE OF $0.36 PER POUND AND TO DELIVER THE SAME TYPE OF SEED TO THE DESTINATIONS SET FORTH OPPOSITE ITEMS 3C TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, AT A PRICE OF $0.27 PER POUND. THE EIGHT OTHER BIDDERS ON ITEMS 3A TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, QUOTED PRH RANGING FROM $0.359 PER POUND TO $0.408 PER POUND. THE BID OF THE CORPORATION WAS ACCEPTED AS TO ITEMS 3C TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, ON NOVEMBER 10, 1955.

BY LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 16, 1955, THE CORPORATION ADVISED THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN ITS BID IN THAT THE PRICE OF THE SEED COVERED BY ITEMS 3C TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, SHOULD HAVE BEEN $0.36 PER POUND INSTEAD OF $0.27 PER POUND AND POINTED OUT THAT THE FACT THAT IT HAD QUOTED A PRICE OF $0.36 PER POUND FOR THE SAME TYPE OF SEED UNDER ITEMS 3A AND 3B WOULD SUBSTANTIATE THAT THE CORRECT PRICE FOR THE SEED COVERED BY ITEMS 3C TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, IS $0.36 PER POUND.

THE BINGHAM SEED COMPANY, INC. QUOTED A PRICE OF $0.36 PER POUND FOR THE HULLED SEED COVERED BY ITEMS 3A AND 3B, AND FOR THE HULLED SEED COVERED BY ITEMS 3C TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, IT QUOTED A PRICE OF $0.27 PER POUND--- A DIFFERENCE OF $0.09 PER POUND. THE SEED COVERED BY ITEMS 3A AND 3B IS IDENTICAL IN EVERY RESPECT WITH THE SEED COVERED BY ITEMS 3C TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, AND ALL OF THE SEED IS TO BE DELIVERED TO VARIOUS DESTINATIONS WITHIN THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI. IT SEEMS OBVIOUS THAT THE CORPORATION DID NOT INTEND TO QUOTE A SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER PRICE FOR THE SEED COVERED BY ITEMS 3C TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, THAN FOR THE IDENTICAL SEED COVERED BY ITEMS 3A AND 3B. IT IS NOTED THAT SIX OF THE OTHER BIDDERS QUOTED ONE PRICE ON ITEMS 3A TO 3L, INCLUSIVE. YOU STATE THAT A BALTIMORE VENDOR INTERESTED IN BID PRICES, INFORMED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ORALLY SUBSEQUENT TO THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT THAT THERE MUST BE SOME MISTAKE IN THE PRICE QUOTED BY THE BINGHAM SEED COMPANY, INC. FOR ITEMS 3C TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, BECAUSE THE SEED MARKET WOULD NOT PERMIT A $0.27 PER POUND PRICE UNLESS IT WAS FOR UNHULLED SEED. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT APPEARS THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD HAVE BEEN AWARE OF THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR IN THE CORPORATION'S BID OF $0.27 PER POUND FOR ITEMS 3C TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, AND CONSEQUENTLY THE BID SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED WITHOUT REQUESTING THE CORPORATION TO VERIFY ITS BID.

ALTHOUGH THERE APPEARS LITTLE ROOM FOR DOUBT THAT THE CORPORATION MADE A BONA FIDE ERROR ON ITEMS 3C TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, OF ITS BID, AS ALLEGED, IF THE BID ON THOSE ITEMS BE INCREASED TO THE AMOUNT ALLEGEDLY INTENDED, IT WILL NOT BE THE LOWEST BID ON THOSE ITEMS. YOU STATE THAT DUE TO THE URGENT NEED FOR THE SEED, THE BINGHAM SEED COMPANY, INC. HAS BEEN NOTIFIED TO PROCEED WITH DELIVERY OF THE SEED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONTRACT. ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE UNDER ITEMS 3C TO 3L, INCLUSIVE, OF THE CONTRACT IN THE AMOUNT OF THE NEXT LOWEST CORRECT BID ON THOSE ITEMS.

A REFERENCE TO THIS DECISIONS SHOULD BE MADE ON THE CONTRACT.