B-130274, JAN. 25, 1957

B-130274: Jan 25, 1957

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SOUTHERN FOREST EXPERIMENT STATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JANUARY 4. TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED TO YOUR STATION UNDER INVITATION NO. 8-SS- 57. THREE BIDS TO FURNISH A LABORATORY FUME HOOD DESCRIBED UNDER ITEM 1 OF THE INVITATION WERE RECEIVED AS FOLLOWS: TABLE 1. " THAT THE BID WAS SIGNED BY R. THAT AN AWARD AT THE BID PRICE OF $487.25 WAS RECOMMENDED ON DECEMBER 20. NO FURTHER ACTION APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN TAKEN UNTIL DECEMBER 27. BREUER BY PHONE ON ANOTHER MATTER AND INDICATED IN THE COURSE OF CONVERSATION THAT HIS BID ON ITEM NO. 1 WAS BEING ACCEPTED AND THAT HIS BID PRICE OF $487.25 WAS SOMEWHAT LOWER THAN THEIR CATALOG PRICE OF $830.00. ANSEL'S QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE BID WAS BASED UPON A SPECIAL PRICE FOR AN IN-STOCK ITEM.

B-130274, JAN. 25, 1957

TO MR. PHILIP A. BRIEGLEB, DIRECTOR, SOUTHERN FOREST EXPERIMENT STATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JANUARY 4, 1957, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO AN ERROR ALLEGED BY ALOE SCIENTIFIC, DIVISION OF A. S. ALOE COMPANY, TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED TO YOUR STATION UNDER INVITATION NO. 8-SS- 57.

THREE BIDS TO FURNISH A LABORATORY FUME HOOD DESCRIBED UNDER ITEM 1 OF THE INVITATION WERE RECEIVED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

1. ALOE SCIENTIFIC

DIVISION OF A. S. ALOE CO. $487.25

2. DURALAB EQUIPMENT CORPORATION 557.70

3. SCHAAR AND COMPANY 760.00

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE LOW BID OF ALOE SCIENTIFIC IDENTIFIED THE ARTICLE OFFERED UNDER ITEM 1 AS "ALOE NO. F-474-C PAGE 558 ALOE LABORATORY CATALOGUE," THAT THE BID WAS SIGNED BY R. E. BREUER, JR., AND THAT AN AWARD AT THE BID PRICE OF $487.25 WAS RECOMMENDED ON DECEMBER 20, 1956. HOWEVER, NO FURTHER ACTION APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN TAKEN UNTIL DECEMBER 27, 1956. ON THAT DATE MR. JOHN M. ANSEL CALLED MR. BREUER BY PHONE ON ANOTHER MATTER AND INDICATED IN THE COURSE OF CONVERSATION THAT HIS BID ON ITEM NO. 1 WAS BEING ACCEPTED AND THAT HIS BID PRICE OF $487.25 WAS SOMEWHAT LOWER THAN THEIR CATALOG PRICE OF $830.00. IN REPLY TO MR. ANSEL'S QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE BID WAS BASED UPON A SPECIAL PRICE FOR AN IN-STOCK ITEM, MR. BREUER INDICATED THE ITEM WOULD HAVE TO BE PROCURED FROM THE FACTORY, BUT DID NOT INDICATE THAT THE BID PRICE WAS ABNORMALLY LOW OR IN ERROR.

BID PAPERS AND ORDER WERE PREPARED AND SIGNED BY JOHN E. LAU, ACTING DIRECTOR AND CONTRACTING OFFICER ON DECEMBER 27, 1956, BUT APPARENTLY WERE NOT MAILED OR OTHERWISE DELIVERED TO THE BIDDER PRIOR TO 2:00 P.M. ON DECEMBER 28, 1956, AT WHICH TIME MR. BREUER CALLED MR. ANSEL AND STATED THAT HIS INTENDED BID PRICE WAS $587.25 AND THAT THE $487.25 BID FIGURE WAS DUE TO A CLERICAL ERROR. BY LETTER DATED JANUARY 3, 1957, MR. BREUER ADVISED AS FOLLOWS:

"IN CHECKING OVER THIS BID WE FIND THAT WE SUBMITTED A QUOTATION ON OUR NO. F-474-C FUME HOOD WITHOUT BASE UNIT. INASMUCH AS THIS ITEM LISTS AT THE PRESENT TIME FOR $934.50 AND OUR BID WAS SUBMITTED (THOUGH IN ERROR) FOR $487.25 WE THEREFORE REQUEST THAT OUR BID BE WITHDRAWN.'

YOUR LETTER AND ENCLOSURES CONTAIN NO EXPLANATION OF THE FACT THAT, ALTHOUGH THE BID SPECIFICALLY STATED THE ARTICLE OFFERED UNDER ITEM 1 COULD BE IDENTIFIED AS "ALOE NO. F-474-C PAGE 558 ALOE LABORATORY CATALOGUE," MR. ANSEL IN HIS TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WITH MR. BREUER ON DECEMBER 27, 1956, STATED THAT THE CATALOG PRICE WAS $830.00, WHILE MR. BREUER'S LETTER OF JANUARY 3, 1957, STATES THAT THE ITEM IN QUESTION LISTS FOR $934.50. NOR DO THE ENCLOSURES SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER INCLUDE A COPY OF EITHER THE CATALOG REFERRED TO IN THE BID OR OTHER PRICE LISTINGS WHICH WOULD ENABLE US TO ESTABLISH THE PUBLISHED PRICE OF THE F-474-C FUME HOOD OFFERED BY THE BID. BASED UPON A PUBLISHED PRICE OF $934.50 THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE LITTLE, IF ANY, DOUBT THAT THE BIDDER DID NOT INTEND TO SUBMIT A BID PRICE OF $487.25. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE SUCH ERROR WAS ALLEGED PRIOR TO AWARD, 35 COMP. GEN. 272; 35 ID. 50, A CONTRACT BASED UPON A PRESENT ACCEPTANCE OF THE BID WOULD NOT BE ENFORCEABLE, NASON COAL COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 64 C.CLS. 526; SALIGMAN V. UNITED STATES, 56 FED.SUPP. 505; 17 COMP. GEN. 575, AND THE BID MAY THEREFORE BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING AN AWARD.