B-128932, AUG. 22, 1956

B-128932: Aug 22, 1956

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NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7. BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING ONE PHOTOELECTRIC QUARTZ SPECTROPHOTOMETER. PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT AWARD WOULD BE MADE IN THE AGGREGATE TO THE LOWEST BIDDER MEETING SPECIFICATIONS. 2 AND 3 IS $2. A TIE BID DRAWING BY LOT WAS HELD ON JULY 24. BETWEEN THE CHICAGO APPARATUS COMPANY AND THE EMIL GREINER COMPANY AND THAT AS A RESULT THEREOF AN AWARD WAS RECOMMENDED TO BE MADE TO THE CHICAGO APPARATUS COMPANY. THE COMPANY WAS REQUESTED ON THE SAME DATE BY TELEPHONE TO VERIFY ITS BID AND THAT ON JULY 24. "OUR OFFER SHOULD HAVE READ. THIS ITEM PRICE AT $395.00 IS OFFERED STRICTLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR SPECIFICATIONS.

B-128932, AUG. 22, 1956

TO MR. DONALD H. WATSON, CONTRACTING OFFICER, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7, 1956, YOUR REFERENCE ZM- 1847, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR THE CHICAGO APPARATUS COMPANY ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON JULY 23, 1956.

BY INVITATION NO. 10-7-23-56, BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING ONE PHOTOELECTRIC QUARTZ SPECTROPHOTOMETER, MODEL DU, CATALOG NO. 2400 OF BECKMAN INSTRUMENTS CO., OR EQUAL, ITEM 1; ONE ULTRAVIOLET ACCESSORY SET, ITEM 2; AND ONE STORAGE BATTERY FOR USE WITH THE SPECTROPHOTOMETER, ITEM 3. PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT AWARD WOULD BE MADE IN THE AGGREGATE TO THE LOWEST BIDDER MEETING SPECIFICATIONS. IN RESPONSE THE CHICAGO APPARATUS COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID DATED JULY 16, 1956, OFFERING TO FURNISH THE SPECTROPHOTOMETER UNDER ITEM 1 AT A PRICE OF $1,750 AND THE ULTRAVIOLET ACCESSORY SET UNDER ITEM 2 AT A PRICE OF $395. IN THE SPACE FOR SHOWING THE PRICE FOR THE STORAGE BATTERY COVERED BY ITEM 3, THE COMPANY INSERTED THE WORDS "NO CHARGE.' ON THE BASIS OF THE PRICES SHOWN IN THE COMPANY'S BID, ITS AGGREGATE BID PRICE FOR ITEMS 1, 2 AND 3 IS $2,145. ALSO, IN RESPONSE TO THE SAME INVITATION, THE EMIL GREINER COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID OFFERING TO FURNISH THE EQUIPMENT REQUIRED UNDER ITEMS 1, 2 AND 3 AT THE SAME UNIT PRICES QUOTED BY THE CHICAGO APPARATUS COMPANY.

YOU STATE THAT, UPON COMPLETION OF REVIEW OF THE BIDS RECEIVED, A TIE BID DRAWING BY LOT WAS HELD ON JULY 24, 1956, BETWEEN THE CHICAGO APPARATUS COMPANY AND THE EMIL GREINER COMPANY AND THAT AS A RESULT THEREOF AN AWARD WAS RECOMMENDED TO BE MADE TO THE CHICAGO APPARATUS COMPANY; THAT ON THE SAME DAY FOLLOWING THE LOT DRAWING, THE WASHINGTON, D.C. REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CHICAGO APPARATUS COMPANY TELEPHONED THE PURCHASE SECTION TO CHECK THE TABULATION OF BIDS RECEIVED, AND THAT HE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED THIS CALL WITH ANOTHER TELEPHONE CALL TO STATE THAT THE COMPANY HAD INADVERTENTLY MADE AN ERROR IN INSERTING A "NO CHARGE" BID ON ITEM 3. ALSO, YOU STATE THAT, SINCE THE EMIL GREINER COMPANY HAD ALSO OFFERED A "NO CHARGE" BID ON ITEM 3, THE COMPANY WAS REQUESTED ON THE SAME DATE BY TELEPHONE TO VERIFY ITS BID AND THAT ON JULY 24, 1956, THE COMPANY ADVISED BY LETTER THAT ITEM 3 OF THE INVITATION HAD BEEN QUOTED CORRECTLY AS "NO CHARGE.'

BY LETTER DATED JULY 25, 1956, THE CHICAGO APPARATUS COMPANY ADVISED AS FOLLOWS:

"IN REVIEWING OUR OFFER SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO YOUR INQUIRY, INVITATION NO. 10-7-23-56, ISSUED JULY 10TH, WE FIND THAT WE INADVERTENTLY FAILED TO QUOTE CONSISTENT WITH CURRENT STANDARD PRACTICE AND IN A MANNER WHICH WOULD GIVE YOU AS A USER THE BEST POSSIBLE RESULTS.

"OUR OFFER SHOULD HAVE READ;

CHART

ITEM NO. 1

SPECTROPHOTOMETER AS DESCRIBED, MODEL DU, BECKMAN NO. 2400BUT COMPLETE WITH STORAGE BATTERY AND READY FOR USE.

CA NO. 51601B ...........$1776.00

(RATHER THAN CA NO. 51601)

ITEM NO. 2

ULTRAVIOLET ACCESSORY SET.

THIS ITEM PRICE AT $395.00 IS OFFERED STRICTLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR SPECIFICATIONS.

ITEM NO. 3

RATHER THAN INDICATED AS NO CHARGE, THE COST OF THIS ITEM IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF OUR OFFER ON ITEM NO. 1, AS INDICATED ABOVE.

"BECAUSE OF OUR FAILURE TO QUOTE STRICTLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR REQUIREMENTS AND TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT, WE ASK THAT OUR PREVIOUS OFFER BE WITHDRAWN AND THAT OUR NEW BID AS NOW PREPARED BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION.

"WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL APPROVE OF THIS SUGGESTION AND SINCERELY REGRET ANY INCONVENIENCE WHICH WE MAY HAVE CAUSED.'

THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT SEVEN OF THE 11 OTHER RESPONSIVE BIDDERS ON ITEMS 1, 2 AND 3 QUOTED AN IDENTICAL PRICE OF $1,750 FOR ITEM 1 AND AN IDENTICAL PRICE OF $26 FOR ITEM 3; AND THAT THREE OF THE FOUR OTHER RESPONSIVE BIDDERS ON ITEMS 1, 2 AND 3 QUOTED AN IDENTICAL UNIT PRICE OF $1,776 FOR ITEM 1 AND INSERTED A STATEMENT OPPOSITE ITEM 3, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE PRICE OF ITEM 3 WAS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE OF ITEM 1. THUS, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE EQUIPMENT COVERED BY ITEMS 1 AND 3 IS FAIR-TRADED AT A PRICE OF $1,776--- THE CHICAGO APPARATUS COMPANY'S ALLEGED INTENDED BID PRICE FOR THE EQUIPMENT REQUIRED UNDER THOSE ITEMS.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE COMPANY MADE AN ERROR IN ITS BID, AS ALLEGED. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE ERROR WAS ALLEGED BEFORE AWARD, THE BID OF THE CHICAGO APPARATUS COMPANY MAY BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING THE AWARD.