B-129620, NOV. 9, 1956

B-129620: Nov 9, 1956

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 24. WAS AWARDED. IT WAS STATED THAT AWARD WAS MADE TO MOTOROLA COMMUNICATIONS AND ELECTRONICS. THERE WAS RECEIVED THE BID OF THE SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC AND EQUIPMENT COMPANY OF OMAHA. THAT THIS BID WAS OPENED AFTER A DETERMINATION BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE LATE ARRIVAL OF THE BID WAS DUE SOLELY TO A DELAY IN THE MAILS FOR WHICH THE BIDDER WAS NOT RESPONSIBLE. STATING THAT NO OTHER WORK PAPERS WERE USED. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT AT THE TIME THE AWARD WAS MADE ONLY ONE BID HAD BEEN RECEIVED ON THE RADIO SETS. WHERE ONLY ONE BID IS RECEIVED ON AN ITEM. THERE IS NO BASIS FOR COMPARISON OF BIDS. THERE IS NOTHING TO PLACE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR.

B-129620, NOV. 9, 1956

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 24, 1956, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR MOTOROLA COMMUNICATIONS AND ELECTRONICS, INC., DENVER, COLORADO, ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID ON WHICH CONTRACT NO. 14-06-D-2109, DATED JULY 25, 1956, WAS AWARDED.

BY INVITATION NO. (D) B-5697-A, AS AMENDED, THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, DENVER, COLORADO, REQUESTED BIDS, TO BE OPENED ON JULY 24, 1956, FOR FURNISHING FOUR MOBILE VHF RADIO TRANSMITTER-RECEIVER SETS FOR THE MINIDOKA PROJECT, BURLEY, IDAHO. IN RESPONSE MOTOROLA COMMUNICATIONS AND ELECTRONICS, INC., SUBMITTED A BID DATED JULY 24, 1956, OFFERING TO FURNISH THE RADIO SETS AT A UNIT PRICE OF $390 EACH OR FOR A TOTAL PRICE OF $1,560, F.O.B. CARS AT BURLEY, IDAHO.

IN A MEMORANDUM DATED AUGUST 29, 1956, FROM THE CONTRACTING OFFICER,IT WAS STATED THAT AWARD WAS MADE TO MOTOROLA COMMUNICATIONS AND ELECTRONICS, INC., ON JULY 25, 1956; THAT THEREAFTER, ON THE SAME DAY, THERE WAS RECEIVED THE BID OF THE SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC AND EQUIPMENT COMPANY OF OMAHA, NEBRASKA, QUOTING A TOTAL F.O.B. SHIPPING POINT PRICE OF $2,076, RESULTING IN A DELIVERED PRICE OF $2,112.93 FOR COMPARISON; THAT THIS BID WAS OPENED AFTER A DETERMINATION BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE LATE ARRIVAL OF THE BID WAS DUE SOLELY TO A DELAY IN THE MAILS FOR WHICH THE BIDDER WAS NOT RESPONSIBLE; AND THAT ON JULY 26, 1956, IMMEDIATELY UPON RECEIPT OF THE NOTICE OF AWARD, MOTOROLA COMMUNICATIONS AND ELECTRONICS, INC., ADVISED BY TELEPHONE THAT A TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN ITS BID.

IN A NOTARIZED CONFIRMING LETTER DATED JULY 26, 1956, THE CORPORATION REQUESTED THAT THE UNIT PRICE OF THE RADIO SETS BE INCREASED FROM $390 EACH TO $490 EACH AND STATED THAT IN VIEW OF THE URGENT NEED FOR THE RADIO SETS, IT HAD ORDERED THEM FROM THE MANUFACTURER BY TELEPHONE THE PREVIOUS DAY. IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, THE CORPORATION SUBMITTED ITS PRINTED PRICE LIST WHICH SPECIFIES A PRICE OF $490.36 FOR A BASIC TYPE NO. T 41GGV (25 30W/-COMB 1) RADIO SET WITH STANDARD ACCESSORIES, STATING THAT NO OTHER WORK PAPERS WERE USED, THE ERROR HAVING BEEN IN TAKING OFF THE UNIT PRICE AT $390 INSTEAD OF $490. IN A LETTER DATED AUGUST 21, 1956, THE CORPORATION REQUESTED THAT ITS REQUEST FOR RELIEF BE SUBMITTED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES FOR DECISION.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT AT THE TIME THE AWARD WAS MADE ONLY ONE BID HAD BEEN RECEIVED ON THE RADIO SETS. ORDINARILY, WHERE ONLY ONE BID IS RECEIVED ON AN ITEM, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR COMPARISON OF BIDS; HENCE, THERE IS NOTHING TO PLACE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 560, AND 26 ID. 415. HOWEVER, IN THE PRESENT CASE, THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE OF THE COST OF THE RADIO SETS WAS $2,200, AND IN VIEW OF THE NATURE OF THE ITEM AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CORPORATIONS' BID PRICE AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE, WHICH IS IN LINE WITH THE PRICE QUOTED IN THE SCHNEIDER BID, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD HAVE BEEN PLACED ON NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR IN THE BID. HENCE, THE BID SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED WITHOUT REQUESTING THE CORPORATION TO VERIFY ITS BID.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD, THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE CORPORATION MADE AN ERROR IN ITS BID, AS ALLEGED. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE ERROR WAS ALLEGED PROMPTLY UPON RECEIPT OF THE PURCHASE ORDER AND THE INTENDED BID PRICE HAS BEEN SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED BY THE CORPORATION, CONTRACT NO. 14-06-D-2109 MAY BE AMENDED TO PROVIDE FOR A UNIT PRICE OF $490 FOR THE RADIO SETS AND PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO MADE ON THAT BASIS.

A REFERENCE TO THIS DECISION SHOULD BE MADE ON THE AMENDMENT TO BE ATTACHED TO THE CONTRACT.

THE PAPERS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S MEMORANDUM OF AUGUST 29, 1956, ARE RETURNED.