B-132538, JUL. 24, 1957

B-132538: Jul 24, 1957

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COMPARING PRICES IT WAS APPARENT TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE LOW BIDDER. HAD MADE AN ERROR AND HE SURMISED THAT THE PRICES WERE FOR UNTREATED TIES INSTEAD OF TIES PRESSURE TREATED WITH CREOSOTE AS SPECIFIED. THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT THE ACCEPTANCE OF A BID WITH KNOWLEDGE OF ERROR THEREIN DOES NOT CONSUMMATE A VALID AND BINDING CONTRACT. 36 COMP.

B-132538, JUL. 24, 1957

TO MR. W. E. CORBIN, CHIEF, DIVISION OF ADMINISTRATION, BUREAU OF SPORT FISHERIES AND WILDLIFE:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 12, 1957, REQUESTS OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES RECITED THEREIN, THE LOW BID SUBMITTED BY REPUBLIC LUMBER COMPANY IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION NO. FW 3-2956 MAY BE WITHDRAWN BY THE COMPANY ON THE BASIS OF ERROR ALLEGED AFTER OPENING OF BIDS.

INVITATION NO. FW 3-2956, ISSUED BY THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE IN MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING CERTAIN QUANTITIES AND SIZES OF SWITCH TIES AND CROSS TIES, F.O.B. ORDILL, ILLINOIS. THE APPLICABLE SPECIFICATIONS REQUIRED THE TIES TO "BE THOROUGHLY AIR SEASONED AND PRESSURE TREATED WITH CREOSOTE COAL TAR SOLUTION.'

YOUR LETTER STATES THAT UPON THE OPENING OF BIDS ON JULY 5, 1957, AND COMPARING PRICES IT WAS APPARENT TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE LOW BIDDER, REPUBLIC LUMBER COMPANY, HAD MADE AN ERROR AND HE SURMISED THAT THE PRICES WERE FOR UNTREATED TIES INSTEAD OF TIES PRESSURE TREATED WITH CREOSOTE AS SPECIFIED. UPON A REQUEST FOR VERIFICATION OF THE BID, THE COMPANY ALLEGED THAT IT HAD ACTUALLY BID ON UNTREATED TIES AND IT STATED THAT IT COULD NOT FURNISH TREATED TIES AND REQUESTED WITHDRAWAL OF THE BID.

THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT THE ACCEPTANCE OF A BID WITH KNOWLEDGE OF ERROR THEREIN DOES NOT CONSUMMATE A VALID AND BINDING CONTRACT. 36 COMP. GEN. 441 AND CASES CITED THEREIN. SINCE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER BELIEVED THAT THE COMPANY HAD MADE AN ERROR IN ITS BID AND SINCE SUCH BELIEF WAS CONFIRMED AND THE ERROR EXPLAINED PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF REPUBLIC LUMBER COMPANY MAY BE ..END :