B-129956, DEC. 13, 1956

B-129956: Dec 13, 1956

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VETERANS ADMINISTRATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 3. UPON OPENING THE BIDS IT WAS FOUND THAT THE D. F. MUNROE COMPANY WAS THE LOW BIDDER AT A UNIT PRICE OF $51.37. SIX OTHER BIDS WERE RECEIVED WHICH RANGED IN PRICE FROM $108 PER M TO $0.14 EACH. F. MUNROE COMPANY WAS CONSIDERABLY OUT OF LINE WITH THE OTHER BIDS. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER INCLUDED THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE: "* * * AS SOON AS THE BIDS RECEIVED AS A RESULT OF THIS INVITATION WERE OPENED AND RECORDED. WAS INFORMED THAT THE BID OF $51.37 WAS FOR A THOUSAND BAGS. DOUGLAS CALLED OUR PURCHASING AGENT AND STATED AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE AND THAT THE BID OF $51.37 WAS FOR A BOX OF FIVE HUNDRED BAGS. WHILE THE COMPANY'S BID HEREIN WAS NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION IN THAT IT WAS NOT MADE ON THE PRESCRIBED UNIT PRICE BASIS.

B-129956, DEC. 13, 1956

TO HONORABLE H. V. HIGLEY, ADMINISTRATOR, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 3, 1956, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER A BID SUBMITTED BY THE D. F. MUNROE COMPANY, 480 RUTHERFORD AVENUE, BOSTON 29, MASSACHUSETTS, MAY BE DISREGARDED OR CORRECTED IN AWARDING A CONTRACT FOR THE WORK CALLED FOR THEREBY.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT BY INVITATION NO. 57-51, DATED OCTOBER 30, 1956, YOUR AGENCY ADVERTISED FPR PRICES FOR FURNISHING 20,000 "BAGS, POLYETHYLENE, 1 PIECE, 36 INCHES WIDE BY 38 INCHES DEEP BY .00135 INCHES THICKNESS," TO BE ORDERED IN BOXES OF 500 EACH DURING THE PERIOD BEGINNING FROM DATE OF AWARD AND ENDING JUNE 30, 1957. UPON OPENING THE BIDS IT WAS FOUND THAT THE D. F. MUNROE COMPANY WAS THE LOW BIDDER AT A UNIT PRICE OF $51.37, APPARENTLY PER THOUSAND, OR A TOTAL PRICE OF $1,027.40. SIX OTHER BIDS WERE RECEIVED WHICH RANGED IN PRICE FROM $108 PER M TO $0.14 EACH. WHEN EXAMINING THE BIDS THE CONTRACTING OFFICER NOTED THAT THE BID OF THE D. F. MUNROE COMPANY WAS CONSIDERABLY OUT OF LINE WITH THE OTHER BIDS, AND THEREFORE CONTACTED THE BIDDER BY TELEPHONE TO VERIFY ITS BID. YOU STATE THAT THE LOW BIDDER ALLEGES ERROR IN THAT IT BID A PRICE OF $51.37 PER M INSTEAD OF AN INTENDED BID PRICE OF $51.40 PER BOX OF 500, OR $102.70 ($102.80) PER M. IN HIS STATEMENT OF NOVEMBER 19, 1956, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER INCLUDED THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE:

"* * * AS SOON AS THE BIDS RECEIVED AS A RESULT OF THIS INVITATION WERE OPENED AND RECORDED, ON OR ABOUT 11:30 A.M. NOVEMBER 14, 1956, OUR PURCHASING AGENT IN CONVERSATION WITH MR. HOWARD C. DOUGLAS, SALES MANAGER WITH THE D. F. MUNROE COMPANY, WAS INFORMED THAT THE BID OF $51.37 WAS FOR A THOUSAND BAGS, AND THAT A LETTER CONFIRMING THIS AS A CORRECTED PRICE WOULD FOLLOW. WITHIN THE NEXT HOUR, MR. DOUGLAS CALLED OUR PURCHASING AGENT AND STATED AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE AND THAT THE BID OF $51.37 WAS FOR A BOX OF FIVE HUNDRED BAGS. IN THEIR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14, 1956 RECEIVED AFTER THE OPENING OF THE BIDS, D. F. MUNROE CO., REQUESTED THEIR BID BE CORRECTED TO READ $5.14 PER HUNDRED OR $102.74 PER THOUSAND. SUBSEQUENT LETTER OF NOVEMBER 16, 1956 ADVISED THAT BID SHOULD READ $51.40 PER FIVE HUNDRED BAGS OF $102.74 PER THOUSAND,--- THIS PRICE SUPERSEDING THE ONE CORRECTED BY THEIR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14, 1956.'

WHILE THE COMPANY'S BID HEREIN WAS NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION IN THAT IT WAS NOT MADE ON THE PRESCRIBED UNIT PRICE BASIS, THE EXTENDED PRICE SHOWN FOR THE 20,000 BAGS INDICATES THAT THE UNIT PRICE QUOTED WAS FOR UNITS OF 1,000 BAGS. SINCE BOTH THE UNIT AND THE AGGREGATE PRICES SO STATED WERE ONLY ABOUT HALF THE PRICES QUOTED BY OTHER BIDDERS, THERE IS LITTLE, IF ANY, DOUBT THAT THE D. F. MUNROE COMPANY MADE AN ERROR IN ITS BID, AS ALLEGED. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE CONTINUED CONFUSION OF THE BIDDER, AS INDICATED BY THE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS IN ITS EXPLANATIONS, THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE ARE NOT SUCH AS WOULD WARRANT A DEPARTURE FROM THE GENERAL RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 575. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE IT WAS BELIEVED THAT THE BID OF THE COMPANY WAS ERRONEOUS AND SINCE SUCH BELIEF WAS CONFIRMED AND THE ERROR EXPLAINED BY THE COMPANY PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF THE D. F. MUNROE COMPANY SHOULD BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING THE AWARD.