B-128334, AUG. 10, 1956

B-128334: Aug 10, 1956

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INCORPORATED: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8. RECEIPT ALSO IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTERS OF JULY 12 AND JULY 24. YOUR BID WAS ACCEPTED BY THE ISSUANCE OF PURCHASE ORDER NO. 56D-4415-3. TO ADVISE THAT EVEN IF THE MATTER WERE SUCH AS TO WARRANT EQUITABLE CONSIDERATION. THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO SETTLE CLAIMS OF THIS KIND SOLELY ON MORAL OR EQUITABLE GROUNDS. SINCE THE PRICES OF THE TWO OTHER BIDS RECEIVED FOR ITEM NO. 17 WERE $0.364 AND $0.409 EACH AND SINCE PREVIOUS PURCHASES OF THE DUSTPANS WERE MADE DURING 1955 AT PRICES WHICH RANGED FROM $0.3435 TO $0.39 EACH. THERE WAS NOTHING ON A PRICE COMPARISON BASIS TO PLACE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE PROBABILITY OF AN ERROR IN YOUR BID PRIOR TO THE ACCEPTANCE THEREOF.

B-128334, AUG. 10, 1956

TO PATENT NOVELTY COMPANY, INCORPORATED:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1956, RELATIVE TO OUR SETTLEMENT DATED MAY 29, 1956, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $100 UNDER PURCHASE ORDER NO. 56D-4415-3, DATED NOVEMBER 16, 1955, ISSUED BY THE FEDERAL SUPPLY SERVICE, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION. RECEIPT ALSO IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTERS OF JULY 12 AND JULY 24, 1956, RELATIVE TO THE STATUS OF THE MATTER.

IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION NO. 4415, ISSUED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, IT APPEARS THAT YOU SUBMITTED A BID TO FURNISH 1,250 DUSTPANS (ITEM NO. 17) FOR $0.336 EACH, OR A TOTAL PRICE OF $420. YOUR BID WAS ACCEPTED BY THE ISSUANCE OF PURCHASE ORDER NO. 56D-4415-3, ON NOVEMBER 16, 1955. BY LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 28, 1955, YOU ADVISED THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN EXTENDING THE UNIT PRICE OF $0.336 EACH IN YOUR BID ON THIS ITEM AND REQUESTED AUTHORITY TO REVISE THE PRICE TO $0.416 EACH IN ORDER TO REFLECT THE CORRECT PRICE. UPON INSTRUCTIONS YOU FULFILLED THE ORDER AT THE ORIGINAL BID AND NOW CLAIM THE AMOUNT OF $100 AS A RESULT OF THE ERROR.

IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1956, THAT YOU DESIRE FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THIS MATTER BASED MORE ON A FAIR OR POSSIBLY EQUITABLE APPROACH THERETO WITHOUT REGARD TO THE LEGAL PRINCIPLE GENERALLY APPLICABLE UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES.

IN VIEW OF THE TENOR OF YOUR LETTER IT BECOMES NECESSARY, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, TO ADVISE THAT EVEN IF THE MATTER WERE SUCH AS TO WARRANT EQUITABLE CONSIDERATION, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO SETTLE CLAIMS OF THIS KIND SOLELY ON MORAL OR EQUITABLE GROUNDS. THEREFORE, WHILE THERE MAY BE APPRECIATED YOUR POSITION WITH RESPECT TO AN ERROR OF THIS KIND, OUR OFFICE MUST, IN ARRIVING AT A CONCLUSION IN SUCH A CASE, BE GOVERNED BY THE LEGAL ASPECTS INVOLVED.

SINCE THE PRICES OF THE TWO OTHER BIDS RECEIVED FOR ITEM NO. 17 WERE $0.364 AND $0.409 EACH AND SINCE PREVIOUS PURCHASES OF THE DUSTPANS WERE MADE DURING 1955 AT PRICES WHICH RANGED FROM $0.3435 TO $0.39 EACH, THERE WAS NOTHING ON A PRICE COMPARISON BASIS TO PLACE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE PROBABILITY OF AN ERROR IN YOUR BID PRIOR TO THE ACCEPTANCE THEREOF. THAT BEING THE CASE, IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT THE BID WAS ACCEPTED IN GOOD FAITH WHICH CONSUMMATED A VALID CONTRACT WHICH FIXED THE RIGHTS AND LIABILITIES OF THE PARTIES AND NEITHER OUR OFFICE NOR ANY OFFICER OF THE GOVERNMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO GIVE AWAY THE RIGHTS WHICH VEST IN THE GOVERNMENT UNDER SUCH A TRANSACTION.