B-127481, APR. 18, 1956

B-127481: Apr 18, 1956

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REGION 3: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 30. BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR THE PURCHASE FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF USED OFFICE FURNITURE. THE TOTAL OF WHICH WAS SHOWN AS BEING $716. THE CORRECT TOTAL OF THE PRICES SET FORTH OPPOSITE THOSE ITEMS IS $116. WAS LEFT BLANK BY THE CITY OF HENDERSON. AS WERE THE SPACES FOR PRICES ON ITEMS 23 AND 35 THROUGH 39. THE BID OF THE MUNICIPALITY WAS ACCOMPANIED BY A BID GUARANTEE DEPOSIT IN THE AMOUNT OF $179. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE ORIGINAL ACQUISITION COST OF THE MACHINE WAS $3. 058.56 AND THAT THE APPRAISED VALUE OF THE USED MACHINE IS $400. $34 AND $28.95 WERE RECEIVED ON ITEM 40. 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.

B-127481, APR. 18, 1956

TO MR. W. H. TAYLOR, CONTRACTING OFFICER, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, REGION 3:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 30, 1956, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR THE CITY OF HENDERSON, NEVADA, ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON MARCH 12, 1956.

BY INVITATION NO. 300-23-S-81, BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR THE PURCHASE FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF USED OFFICE FURNITURE, ITEMS 1 TO 39, INCLUSIVE, AND OF ONE USED BURROUGHS UTILITY BILLING MACHINE, ITEM 40. IN RESPONSE, THE CITY OF HENDERSON, NEVADA, SUBMITTED A BID OFFERING TO PURCHASE ITEMS 1 TO 22 AND 24 TO 34, INCLUSIVE, AT THE PRICES SET FORTH OPPOSITE EACH ITEM, THE TOTAL OF WHICH WAS SHOWN AS BEING $716. THE CORRECT TOTAL OF THE PRICES SET FORTH OPPOSITE THOSE ITEMS IS $116. THE SPACE FOR QUOTING A PRICE FOR ITEM 40, A BILLING MACHINE, WAS LEFT BLANK BY THE CITY OF HENDERSON, AS WERE THE SPACES FOR PRICES ON ITEMS 23 AND 35 THROUGH 39. THE BID OF THE MUNICIPALITY WAS ACCOMPANIED BY A BID GUARANTEE DEPOSIT IN THE AMOUNT OF $179.

YOU STATE THAT ON MARCH 12, 1956, THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, CITY OF HENDERSON, TELEPHONED AND INQUIRED AS TO THE OUTCOME OF THE SALE; THAT UPON BEING INFORMED OF THE DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE CORRECT TOTAL OF THE PRICES OF THE ITEMS BID UPON AND THE TOTAL SHOWN IN THE MUNICIPALITY'S BID, THE DIRECTOR ALLEGED THAT AN ERROR OF OMISSION HAD BEEN MADE IN TRANSFERRING THE BID PRICES FROM THE RETAINED OFFICE COPY TO THE BID SUBMITTED, AND THAT IT HAD BEEN HIS INTENTION TO BID $600 FOR THE BILLING MACHINE COVERED BY ITEM 40. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE ORIGINAL ACQUISITION COST OF THE MACHINE WAS $3,058.56 AND THAT THE APPRAISED VALUE OF THE USED MACHINE IS $400. FOUR BIDS IN THE AMOUNTS OF $56.40, $38.26, $34 AND $28.95 WERE RECEIVED ON ITEM 40.

BY LETTERS DATED MARCH 12 AND 26, THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE CONFIRMED HIS VERBAL ALLEGATION OF ERROR AND IN SUPPORT THEREOF SUBMITTED HIS RETAINED COPY OF THE BID WHICH SHOWS A PRICE OF $600 FOR ITEM 40.

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. CORRECTION OF AN ERRONEOUS BID MAY BE PERMITTED BEFORE AWARD IF THE ERROR AND THE INTENDED BID ARE ESTABLISHED BY EVIDENCE SO CONCLUSIVE AS TO LEAVE NO REASONABLE DOUBT AS TO THE BIDDER'S INTENTION. THE DIFFICULTY IN THE PRESENT SITUATION IS THAT ON THE FACE OF THE BID FORM SUBMITTED BY THE CITY THERE IS NO BID ON SEVEN OF THE 40 ITEMS INVOLVED, AND TO PERMIT ONE TO BE INSERTED ON ONE OF THOSE ITEMS WOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO RECEIVING A BID AFTER THE BID OPENING, RATHER THAN CORRECTING AN ERROR IN A BID SUBMITTED.

ON THE RECORD, WE RELUCTANTLY CONCLUDE THAT THE FACTS DO NOT JUSTIFY DEPARTURE FROM THE GENERAL RULE THAT A BID MAY NOT BE RECEIVED AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE CITY OF HENDERSON MAY NOT BE PERMITTED TO INSERT A BID OF $600 FOR ITEM 40 OF THE INVITATION.

WHETHER THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE ALLEGED INTENDED BID OF THE MUNICIPALITY ON ITEM 40, THE APPRAISED VALUE THEREOF, AND THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED ON THAT ITEM, WOULD JUSTIFY THE REJECTION OF ALL BIDS ON THAT ITEM AND A READVERTISING FOR NEW BIDS IS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATION AND ..END :