B-131103, MAR. 22, 1957

B-131103: Mar 22, 1957

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UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 14. IN WHICH THE COMPANY INDICATED THAT THE CORRECT PRICE FOR A NETTLER K-5 T BALANCE WITH A FLAT STAINLESS STEEL 9 INCH DIAMETER PAN IS $550.20. THE PRICE LIST ALSO INDICATES THAT IF A 9 INCH DIAMETER PAN IS ORDERED IN LIEU OF THE STANDARD 6 1/4 INCH FLAT PAN. THERE WILL BE AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE OF $15.20. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE REQUIRED PRECISION BALANCE WITH ITS SPECIAL ACCESSORIES IS FAIR-TRADED AT A PRICE $550.20. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE COMPANY FAILED TO INCLUDE IN ITS BID PRICE THE COST OF THE 9 INCH DIAMETER PAN. ARE NOT SUCH AS WOULD WARRANT A DEPARTURE FROM THE GENERAL RULE THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THE BIDS HAVE BEEN OPENED.

B-131103, MAR. 22, 1957

TO MR. C. C. SCHADE, CONTRACTING OFFICER, UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 14, 1957, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR THE FISHER SCIENTIFIC COMPANY ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID OPENED ON MARCH 5, 1957.

BY INVITATION NO. 57-35, THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, DENVER, COLORADO, REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING ONE PRECISION BALANCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GOVERNMENT'S SPECIFICATIONS, WHICH PROVIDED UNDER SUBITEM "K," THAT THE BALANCE BE EQUIPPED WITH A FLAT STAINLESS STEEL 9 INCH DIAMETER PAN. RESPONSE THE FISHER SCIENTIFIC COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID DATED MARCH 1, 1957, OFFERING TO FURNISH ONE NETTLER TYPE K-5 T PRECISION BALANCE FOR THE SUM OF $535.

UPON BEING REQUESTED BY TELEGRAM DATED MARCH 6, 1957, TO CONFIRM ITS BID PRICE OF $535, AND TO REVIEW SUBITEM "K" OF THE SPECIFICATIONS, THE FISHER SCIENTIFIC COMPANY SUBMITTED A REVISED QUOTATION DATED MARCH 7, 1957, IN WHICH THE COMPANY INDICATED THAT THE CORRECT PRICE FOR A NETTLER K-5 T BALANCE WITH A FLAT STAINLESS STEEL 9 INCH DIAMETER PAN IS $550.20. THE CATALOG OF THE NETTLER INSTRUMENT CORPORATION, HIGHTSTOWN, NEW JERSEY, INDICATES THAT A TYPE K-5 T PRECISION BALANCE COMES EQUIPPED WITH A FLAT STAINLESS STEEL 6 1/4 INCH DIAMETER PAN AND THE CORPORATION'S PRICE LIST SPECIFIES A PRICE OF $535 FOR SUCH EQUIPMENT. THE PRICE LIST ALSO INDICATES THAT IF A 9 INCH DIAMETER PAN IS ORDERED IN LIEU OF THE STANDARD 6 1/4 INCH FLAT PAN, THERE WILL BE AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE OF $15.20--- THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FISHER SCIENTIFIC COMPANY'S ORIGINAL BID PRICE AND ITS INTENDED BID PRICE.

THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT THREE OF THE FOUR OTHER BIDDERS ON THE EQUIPMENT QUOTED AN IDENTICAL PRICE OF $550.20, AND IN YOUR LETTER YOU STATE THAT THE FOURTH BIDDER WHO QUOTED A PRICE OF $535--- THE SAME PRICE AS QUOTED BY THE FISHER SCIENTIFIC COMPANY--- REQUESTED, PRIOR TO THE BID OPENING, THAT ITS BID PRICE BE INCREASED TO $550.20. THUS, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE REQUIRED PRECISION BALANCE WITH ITS SPECIAL ACCESSORIES IS FAIR-TRADED AT A PRICE $550.20--- THE FISHER SCIENTIFIC COMPANY'S ALLEGED INTENDED BID PRICE FOR THE REQUIRED EQUIPMENT.

ON THE RECORD, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE COMPANY FAILED TO INCLUDE IN ITS BID PRICE THE COST OF THE 9 INCH DIAMETER PAN. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE PRESENT CASE, HOWEVER, 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 FISHER SCIENTIFIC COMPANY WAS ERRONEOUS, AND SUCH BELIEF WAS CONFIRMED AND THE ERROR WAS ESTABLISHED PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF THE COMPANY MAY BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING THE AWARD.