B-134385, NOV. 25, 1957

B-134385: Nov 25, 1957

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 12. IS BASED. DRUMMOND'S BID OF $508.75 WAS THE HIGHEST RECEIVED FOR ITEM 40. - AND WAS ACCEPTED BY THE CONTRACT DATED SEPTEMBER 17. - AND THAT NO BID WAS INTENDED FOR ITEM 40. THE ONLY OTHER BIDS RECEIVED ON ITEM 40 WERE $36.98. WHILE 47 BIDS WERE RECEIVED ON ITEM 37. MORE THAN HALF OF WHICH WERE WITHIN THE RANGE FROM $300 TO $800. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATES THAT IT IS COMMON PRACTICE FOR THE CONTRACTING OFFICER. THIS WAS NOT DONE IN THIS CASE THROUGH ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR. THE WIDE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CONTRACTOR'S BID AND THE OTHER BIDS ON ITEM 40 APPEAR SUFFICIENT TO HAVE INDICATED THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR IN THE BID AND THEREFORE.

B-134385, NOV. 25, 1957

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 12, 1957, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ASSISTANT CHIEF FOR PURCHASING, BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR MR. WILLIAM DRUMMOND ALLEGES HE MADE IN HIS BID ON WHICH CONTRACT NO. N228S- 21039, DATED SEPTEMBER 17, 1957, IS BASED.

BY INVITATION NO. B-38-58-228 THE NAVAL SUPPLY CENTER, DISPOSAL DIVISION, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, REQUESTED BIDS--- TO BE OPENED SEPTEMBER 10, 1957--- ON 50 SMALL BOATS AND LANDING CRAFT TO BE SOLD BY THE GOVERNMENT. MR. DRUMMOND'S BID OF $508.75 WAS THE HIGHEST RECEIVED FOR ITEM 40--- A 36- FEET LCP (R) WITHOUT ENGINE--- AND WAS ACCEPTED BY THE CONTRACT DATED SEPTEMBER 17, 1957. BY UNDATED LETTER RECEIVED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE ON OCTOBER 4, 1957, THE CONTRACTOR ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT HE HAD MADE AN ERROR IN THAT HE HAD INTENDED TO BID ON ITEM 37--- A 24-FOOT PLANE PERSONNEL BOAT WITH ENGINE--- AND THAT NO BID WAS INTENDED FOR ITEM 40. THE CONTRACTOR HAS FURNISHED A PHOTOGRAPH OF A PAGE OF HIS WORKSHEET ESTABLISHING HIS INTEREST IN ITEM 37. THE ONLY OTHER BIDS RECEIVED ON ITEM 40 WERE $36.98, $25.55, $6.03 AND $1.99, WHILE 47 BIDS WERE RECEIVED ON ITEM 37, MORE THAN HALF OF WHICH WERE WITHIN THE RANGE FROM $300 TO $800.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATES THAT IT IS COMMON PRACTICE FOR THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, PRIOR TO AWARD, TO REQUEST CONFIRMATION FROM THE BIDDER IF HIS BID EXCEEDS THE SECOND HIGH BID BY ANY GREAT AMOUNT, BUT THIS WAS NOT DONE IN THIS CASE THROUGH ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR.

THE WIDE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CONTRACTOR'S BID AND THE OTHER BIDS ON ITEM 40 APPEAR SUFFICIENT TO HAVE INDICATED THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR IN THE BID AND THEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE STATED PRACTICE, THE BID SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED WITHOUT REQUESTING VERIFICATION.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR THE ERROR CLAIMED MAY BE FOUND IN THE FACT THAT IN THE INVITATION THERE IS INCLUDED A PICTURE OF ITEM 37, IN WHICH THE NUMBER 40 IS SHOWN PAINTED ON THE BOW OF THE BOAT, AND IN THE FACT THAT IN THE BIDDER'S WORKSHEET THE FIGURE 40, REFERRING TO THE LENGTH OF ANOTHER BOAT ON WHICH HE BID, APPEARS IMMEDIATELY ABOVE THE ENTRY PERTAINING TO ITEM 37. WE THEREFORE CONCLUDE THAT THE ERROR IS SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED AND EXPLAINED, AND THAT THE CONTRACT MAY BE CANCELED WITHOUT LIABILITY TO THE CONTRACTOR.

THE PAPERS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S STATEMENT, ARE RETURNED.