B-132728, AUG. 21, 1957

B-132728: Aug 21, 1957

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ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 25. ALLEGES WAS MADE IN ITS BID ON WHICH CONTRACT NO. IS BASED. THE BID OF THE CORPORATION WAS ACCEPTED AS TO ITEM 17A AND OTHER ITEMS ON JUNE 17. THE LATEST POCKET PARTS TO REID'S BRANSON INSTRUCTIONS TO JURIES WERE THE 1950 ISSUE AT A LIST PRICE OF $9 PER COPY. THAT AT THE TIME ITS BID PRICE FOR ITEM 17A WAS COMPUTED. ITS CLERK HAD NO KNOWLEDGE THAT THE 1957 POCKET PARTS WERE COMING OUT IN THE NEAR FUTURE AND. THAT THE CORRECT UNIT PRICE FOR ITEM 17A IS $17.50 LESS 15 PERCENT OR $14.87. THERE IS LISTED . 1957 POCKET PART SUPPLEMENT" AND THE LIST PRICE OF SUCH POCKET PART SUPPLEMENT IS SHOWN AS BEING $17.50.

B-132728, AUG. 21, 1957

TO HONORABLE W. L. ELLIS, ACTING DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 25, 1957, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR WHICH THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY, INC., SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND, ALLEGES WAS MADE IN ITS BID ON WHICH CONTRACT NO. U.S.C.A. 2931 DATED JUNE 17, 1957, IS BASED.

INVITATION NO. 765, REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING, AMONG OTHER PUBLICATIONS,"REID, BRANSON'S INSTRUCTIONS TO JURIES, LATEST CUMULATIVE POCKET PART SUPPLEMENT ONLY," ITEM 17A, TO BE DELIVERED AS ORDERED DURING THE PERIOD BEGINNING JULY 1, 1957, AND ENDING JUNE 30, 1958. PARAGRAPH 9 OF THE CONDITIONS PROVIDE THAT "ANY REFERENCE TO "LATEST SUPPLEMENTS" OR LATEST POCKET PARTS OR POCKET PART SERVICE SHALL INCLUDE ANY SUCH SERVICE PUBLISHED FROM JULY 1, 1957, TO JUNE 30, 1958, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED.' IN RESPONSE THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY, INC., SUBMITTED A BID DATED JUNE 10, 1957,SIGNED BY ITS DISTRICT SALES MANAGER, MR. LEONARD S. BLONDES, OFFERING TO FURNISH, AMONG OTHERS, THE PUBLICATION COVERED BY ITEM 17A AT A PRICE OF $7.65 PER SUPPLEMENT. THE BID OF THE CORPORATION WAS ACCEPTED AS TO ITEM 17A AND OTHER ITEMS ON JUNE 17, 1957.

BY LETTER DATED JULY 19, 1957, THE CORPORATION ADVISED THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN QUOTING ON ITEM 17A OF ITS BID; THAT WHEN IT RECEIVED A COPY OF THE INVITATION, THE LATEST POCKET PARTS TO REID'S BRANSON INSTRUCTIONS TO JURIES WERE THE 1950 ISSUE AT A LIST PRICE OF $9 PER COPY; THAT AT THE TIME ITS BID PRICE FOR ITEM 17A WAS COMPUTED, ITS CLERK HAD NO KNOWLEDGE THAT THE 1957 POCKET PARTS WERE COMING OUT IN THE NEAR FUTURE AND, THEREFORE, HE USED THE LIST PRICE OF THE 1950 ISSUE, TO WHICH HE APPLIED A DISCOUNT OF 15 PERCENT TO ARRIVE AT THE CORPORATION'S BID PRICE OF $7.65 PER SUPPLEMENT FOR ITEM 17A; AND THAT THE CORRECT UNIT PRICE FOR ITEM 17A IS $17.50 LESS 15 PERCENT OR $14.87. IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FROM OUR OFFICE, MR. BLONDES, DISTRICT SALES MANAGER, SUBMITTED AN "ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW PUBLICATIONS" DATED JUNE 1957, RECEIVED BY HIM FROM THE INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA OFFICE OF THE CORPORATION. AMONG THE NEW PUBLICATIONS, THERE IS LISTED ,REID'S BRANSON INSTRUCTIONS TO JURIES, 1957 POCKET PART SUPPLEMENT" AND THE LIST PRICE OF SUCH POCKET PART SUPPLEMENT IS SHOWN AS BEING $17.50. ON SUCH ANNOUNCEMENT THERE APPEAR, IN REGARD TO SUCH PUBLICATION, NOTATIONS TO THE EFFECT THAT THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY, INC., IS THE SOLE SOURCE OF SUPPLY TO THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND ITS AGENCIES AND THAT FOR THE AMOUNT OF THE GOVERNMENT DISCOUNT, ITS REPRESENTATIVE, MR. L. S. BLONDES, SHOULD BE CONTACTED.

ORDINARILY, WHERE ONLY ONE BID IS RECEIVED ON AN ITEM--- AS IN THE PRESENT CASE--- THERE IS NO BASIS FOR COMPARISON OF BIDS; HENCE, THERE IS NOTHING TO PLACE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR IN THE BID. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 560; 26 ID. 415. YOU STATE, HOWEVER, THAT WHILE THE 1950 ISSUE OF THE POCKET PART SUPPLEMENT WAS PREVIOUSLY PROCURED AT A PRICE OF $7 PER SET, MATURE REFLECTION MIGHT HAVE LED TO A QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE PRICE QUOTED BY THE CORPORATION FOR ITEM 17A WAS IN ERROR IN VIEW OF THE VERY SHARP INCREASE WHICH HAS OCCURRED IN THE PRICE OF ALL LAW BOOKS AND THEIR UPKEEP SERVICE SINCE 1949 WHEN THE $7 PRICE OF THE 1950 POCKET PART SUPPLEMENT WAS RECEIVED.

THE RECORD LEAVES LITTLE DOUBT THAT THE CORPORATION'S BID ON THE POCKET PART SUPPLEMENT COVERED BY ITEM 18A WAS ERRONEOUS, AND TO COMPEL THE CORPORATION TO FURNISH THE ITEM AT A PRICE OF $7.65 PER POCKET PART SUPPLEMENT WOULD APPEAR TO BE INEQUITABLE.

ACCORDINGLY, CONTRACT NO. U.S.C.A. 2931 MAY BE AMENDED TO PROVIDE FOR A UNIT PRICE OF $14.87 FOR ITEM 17A.

A REFERENCE TO THIS DECISION SHOULD BE MADE ON THE AMENDMENT TO BE ATTACHED TO THE CONTRACT.