B-129351, OCT. 9, 1956

B-129351: Oct 9, 1956

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 26. PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE REQUESTED TO QUOTE PRICES ON THREE ITEMS NUMBERED 1. BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT SINCE IT WAS BELIEVED THAT NO FIRM WOULD BE ABLE TO MEET THE DAILY PRODUCTION REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT THE PUBLIC PRINTER RESERVED THE RIGHT TO MAKE MULTIPLE AWARDS. THE PRICES QUOTED FOR EACH OF THE ITEMS LISTED UNDER "QUOTATIONS" WILL BE APPLIED TO THE UNITS OF PRODUCTION LISTED HEREINAFTER WHICH ARE THE ANTICIPATED PRODUCTION FOR ONE MONTH OF THIS CONTRACT. BIDS WILL BE CONSIDERED IN THE AGGREGATE. RESULTS IN THE LOWEST BID WILL BE DECLARED THE LOW BIDDER. WILL ALSO BE DETERMINED IN LIKE MANNER AND AWARDS MADE ACCORDINGLY.

B-129351, OCT. 9, 1956

TO HONORABLE RAYMOND BLATTENBERGER, PUBLIC PRINTER, UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 26, 1956, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER AN AWARD OF A CONTRACT MAY BE MADE TO BUSINESS SERVICE AS THE LOWEST BIDDER IN RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS ON THE PRINTING OF CARDS ON INDEX STOCK FROM DIRECT IMAGE PAPER OFFSET MASTERS, ON DAILY ORDERS DURING THE YEAR COMMENCING OCTOBER 1, 1956.

PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE REQUESTED TO QUOTE PRICES ON THREE ITEMS NUMBERED 1, 2 AND 3 AS LISTED ON PAGES 11 AND 12 OF THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS. BIDDERS WERE ADVISED THAT SINCE IT WAS BELIEVED THAT NO FIRM WOULD BE ABLE TO MEET THE DAILY PRODUCTION REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT THE PUBLIC PRINTER RESERVED THE RIGHT TO MAKE MULTIPLE AWARDS, AND THAT---

"IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH MULTIPLE AWARD CONTRACTS AND DETERMINE THE SEQUENCE OF BIDDERS, THE PRICES QUOTED FOR EACH OF THE ITEMS LISTED UNDER "QUOTATIONS" WILL BE APPLIED TO THE UNITS OF PRODUCTION LISTED HEREINAFTER WHICH ARE THE ANTICIPATED PRODUCTION FOR ONE MONTH OF THIS CONTRACT. BIDS WILL BE CONSIDERED IN THE AGGREGATE. THE BIDDER WHOSE PRICES, WHEN SO APPLIED, RESULTS IN THE LOWEST BID WILL BE DECLARED THE LOW BIDDER. THE SECOND LOW BIDDER, THIRD, ETC., IN THEIR ORDER, WILL ALSO BE DETERMINED IN LIKE MANNER AND AWARDS MADE ACCORDINGLY.

"ITEM 1 - 27,300 MASTERS

ITEM 2 - 100 RETYPED MASTERS

ITEM 3 - 40 SETS OF CARDS"

BIDDERS WERE ADVISED ALSO THAT THE GOVERNMENT GUARANTEED TO SUPPLY A MINIMUM OF 3 PRINT ORDERS EACH WORKING DAY AND THAT EACH PRINT ORDER WOULD COVER THE REPRODUCTION OF CARDS OF 200 MASTERS.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT 8 BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND THAT THEY WERE OPENED ON SEPTEMBER 13, 1956, AS SCHEDULED IN THE REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS. BUSINESS SERVICE OF ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, SUBMITTED THE LOWEST BID ON ITEMS 1 AND 2 BUT DID NOT QUOTE A PRICE ON ITEM NO. 3, WHICH CONSISTED OF STRIKING IN ON THE CARDS THE FEDERAL ITEM IDENTIFICATION NUMBER WHEN NOT PRINTED FROM THE MASTERS. WHEN THIS BIDDER WAS REQUESTED BY TELEPHONE TO STATE WHY A PRICE HAD NOT BEEN QUOTED ON THAT ITEM, IT REPORTED THAT IT WAS BECAUSE IT WAS THE INTENTION TO PERFORM THIS PARTICULAR OPERATION WITHOUT CHARGE, AND THAT THIS INTENTION WOULD BE CONFIRMED AT A LATER DATE. BY LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 17, 1956, HOWEVER, THIS BIDDER STATED THAT IT WOULD SCRIBE IN WITHOUT CHARGE UP TO 5 SETS IN ANY ONE PRINT ORDER WITHOUT CHARGE, AND FOR ANY ABOVE 5 IT WOULD CHARGE 30 CENTS A SET. TWO TELEGRAMS WERE RECEIVED ON SEPTEMBER 25, 1956, STATING IN EFFECT THAT IN REFERENCE TO ITEM NO. 3 THE BIDDER WOULD SCRIBE IN THE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER FREE, SINCE THE BIDDER HAD BEEN PERFORMING THIS OPERATION UNDER ITS PRESENT CONTRACT.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT ONLY 480 OF THE UNITS COVERED BY ITEM NO. 3 WILL BE ORDERED DURING THE CONTRACT PERIOD BEGINNING OCTOBER 1, 1956, AND ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 1957; THAT THE COST OF THIS QUANTITY BASED ON A PRICE OF 50 CENTS EACH QUOTED BY THE NEXT LOW BIDDER WOULD AMOUNT TO APPROXIMATELY $240; AND THAT "A STUDY BASED UPON THE REQUISITIONING DEPARTMENT'S ANTICIPATED REQUIREMENTS SHOWS THAT IF AN AWARD COULD BE MADE TO BUSINESS SERVICE, A SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT OF $4,290.00 WOULD RESULT.'

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED HERE A COPY OF A LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 25, 1956, FROM BUSINESS SERVICE TO MR. CHRISTOPHANE OF YOUR AGENCY IN WHICH IT IS CLAIMED THAT NO PRICE WAS QUOTED FOR ITEM NO. 3 BECAUSE THE BIDDER COULD SEE NO REASON FOR DOING SO PARTICULARLY SINCE THE ITEM IS "OF A MEDIOCRE NATURE" AND THE BIDDER HAD BEEN PERFORMING THE OPERATION COVERED BY THAT ITEM WITHOUT CHARGE. IT IS CONTENDED THAT ANY DECISION TO DISREGARD THE BID UPON THE GROUND THAT A PRICE FOR ITEM NO. 3 WAS NOT QUOTED WOULD BE DISHONEST AND DISCRIMINATORY. THE BASIS FOR THIS CONTENTION HOWEVER IS NOT CLEAR IN VIEW OF THE PLAIN TERMS OF THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS.

AS INDICATED ABOVE BIDDERS WERE EXPRESSLY REQUESTED TO SUBMIT AN ALL INCLUSIVE PRICE PER SET OF UP TO 65 CARDS UNDER ITEM NO. 3, THE PRICE QUOTED TO INCLUDE ALL MATERIALS AND SERVICES WHICH MAY BE REQUIRED. OBVIOUSLY, THE BID IS INCOMPLETE BY VIRTUE OF THE OMISSION OF THE PRICE ON THAT ITEM, AND ACCEPTANCE OF THE BID AS SUBMITTED WOULD NOT CREATE A CONTRACT REQUIRING PERFORMANCE UNDER ITEM 3. IT IS THEREFORE CLEAR THAT THE BIDDER'S OFFER, AFTER THE BID OPENING DATE, TO PERFORM THE OPERATIONS COVERED BY THE ITEM EITHER FREE OR FOR A CONSIDERATION, CONSTITUTED A NEW AND DIFFERENT BID, AND WOULD BE UNFAIR TO OTHER BIDDERS WHO OFFERED TO CONFORM STRICTLY WITH THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS. FURTHERMORE, THE OMISSION CANNOT BE LOOKED UPON AS A MINOR INFORMALITY WHICH MAY BE WAIVED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, BECAUSE IT GOES TO THE SUBSTANCE OF THE CONTRACT TO BE AWARDED. THE FACT THAT A SAVING MIGHT RESULT FROM THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT TO THE LOWEST BIDDER IS NOT A SUFFICIENT JUSTIFICATION FOR DISREGARDING LONG ESTABLISHED PROCEDURES DESIGNED FOR THE PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM.

ACCORDINGLY, ON THE RECORD HERE IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE LOW BID SHOULD BE DISREGARDED. THE PROTESTING BIDDER MAY BE SO ADVISED.

THE ENCLOSURES WITH YOUR LETTER EXCEPT THE TWO TELEGRAMS AND LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 17, 1956, ARE RETURNED IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR REQUEST.