B-132676, AUG. 9, 1957

B-132676: Aug 9, 1957

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TO LESTER LAWRENCE AND SON: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 11. WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $370.80 STATED TO BE DUE BY REASON OF AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN YOUR BID ON WHICH CONTRACT NO. WAS BASED. YOUR BID WAS ACCEPTED BY LETTER OF AWARD DATED JANUARY 4. YOU ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT YOUR BID WAS IN ERROR AS THE PRICE YOU QUOTED WAS INADVERTENTLY BASED ON CORNSTARCH PACKED IN 100-POUND BAGS. YOU CONTEND THAT YOUR BID WAS SO EXTREMELY LOW THAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN APPARENT TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT YOUR BID WAS IN ERROR. THE FOUR OTHER BIDS RECEIVED ON THE ITEM INVOLVED WERE $0.0788. THE PRICE DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEN THE THIRD AND FOURTH AND THE FOURTH AND FIFTH HIGH BIDS WERE MUCH GREATER THAN THE PRICE DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEN YOUR BID AND THE NEXT LOW BID.

B-132676, AUG. 9, 1957

TO LESTER LAWRENCE AND SON:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 11, 1957, REQUESTING REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT DATED JUNE 26, 1957, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $370.80 STATED TO BE DUE BY REASON OF AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN YOUR BID ON WHICH CONTRACT NO. V1005P-6382, DATED JANUARY 4, 1957, WAS BASED.

BY INVITATION NO. S-126-57, THE GENERAL SUPPLIES SECTION OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION REQUESTED BIDS FOR CORNSTARCH PACKED IN 48 ONE POUND CONTAINERS. IN RESPONSE, YOU OFFERED TO DELIVER TO HINES, ILLINOIS, DURING THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 1957, 36,000 POUNDS FOR $0.0683 PER POUND. YOUR BID WAS ACCEPTED BY LETTER OF AWARD DATED JANUARY 4, 1957. BY LETTER OF JANUARY 7, 1957, YOU ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT YOUR BID WAS IN ERROR AS THE PRICE YOU QUOTED WAS INADVERTENTLY BASED ON CORNSTARCH PACKED IN 100-POUND BAGS, INSTEAD OF ONE-POUND CONTAINERS AS REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS.

YOU CONTEND THAT YOUR BID WAS SO EXTREMELY LOW THAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN APPARENT TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT YOUR BID WAS IN ERROR.

THE FOUR OTHER BIDS RECEIVED ON THE ITEM INVOLVED WERE $0.0788, $0.0798, $0.1025 AND $0.22 PER POUND. THE PRICE DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEN THE THIRD AND FOURTH AND THE FOURTH AND FIFTH HIGH BIDS WERE MUCH GREATER THAN THE PRICE DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEN YOUR BID AND THE NEXT LOW BID. SINCE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR LOW BID AND THE NEXT LOW BID WAS ONLY $0.0105 PER POUND, IT REASONABLY MAY NOT BE SAID THAT THE VARIANCE WAS SO GREAT AS TO CONSTITUTE CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF A MISTAKE IN YOUR BID. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS STATED THAT HE WAS NOT AWARE OF AN ERROR IN YOUR BID AT THE TIME IT WAS ACCEPTED. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE ACCEPTANCE OF YOUR BID CONSUMMATED A VALID AND BINDING CONTRACT WHICH FIXED THE RIGHTS AND LIABILITIES OF THE PARTIES. SEE UNITED STATES V. PURCELL ENVELOPE COMPANY, 249 U.S. 313; AND AMERICAN SMELTING AND REFINING COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 259 U.S. 75.

THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR PREPARATION OF A BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO AN INVITATION TO BID IS UPON THE BIDDER. SEE FRAZIER-DAVIS CONSTRUCTION CO. V. UNITED STATES, 100 C.CLS. 120, 163. IT IS CLEAR THAT SUCH AN ERROR AS WAS MADE IN YOUR BID WAS DUE SOLELY TO YOUR OWN NEGLIGENCE OR OVERSIGHT AND WAS IN NO WAY INDUCED OR CONTRIBUTED TO BY THE GOVERNMENT. ANY ERROR THAT WAS MADE IN YOUR BID WAS UNILATERAL--- NOT MUTUAL--- AND, THEREFORE, DOES NOT ENTITLE YOU TO RELIEF. SEE OGDEN AND DOUGHERTY V. UNITED STATES, 102 C.CLS. 249; SALIGMAN ET AL. V. UNITED STATES, 56 F.SUPP. 505; 20 COMP. GEN. 652; AND 26 ID. 415.