B-134946, JAN. 31, 1958

B-134946: Jan 31, 1958

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JANUARY 17. ITEM 46 WAS DESCRIBED AS "TRAILER. ITEM 47 WAS DESCRIBED AS "TRAILER. HUMFLEET WAS NOTIFIED BY LETTER DATED OCTOBER 9. THE LETTER STATED THAT THE TOTAL AMOUNT DUE FOR ALL ITEMS AWARDED WAS $12. THAT HIS TOTAL BID ON THE FOUR ITEMS WAS ONLY $648. THAT THE PROPERTY DISPOSAL OFFICER MUST HAVE CONFUSED HIS BID WITH THAT OF SOMEONE ELSE. THE PURCHASER REQUESTED THAT HIS BID ON ITEMS 46 AND 47 BE CANCELED STATING: "* * * I BID ON ITEMS 46 AND 47 THINKING THEY WERE ONLY ONE EACH. I DIDN -T REALIZE THAT THERE WERE 50 IN ONE LOT AND 25 IN ONE. THEY WERE 36FEET LONG AND 72 INCHES WIDE FOR USE TO WAREHOUSE SUPPLIES OUT IN THE FIELD.

B-134946, JAN. 31, 1958

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JANUARY 17, 1958, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY (LOGISTICS), RELATING TO A MISTAKE IN BID ALLEGED BY RAY HUMFLEET AUTO PARTS, SOUTH OF LONDON, LONDON, KENTUCKY, AFTER AWARD OF ITEMS 46 AND 47 UNDER SPOT BID SALE 15-059-S 58-1, U.S. ARMY MEDICAL DEPOT, LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY. YOU REQUEST A DECISION AS TO WHETHER RELIEF MAY BE GRANTED IN THIS CASE.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON OCTOBER 8, 1957, THE PROPERTY DISPOSAL OFFICER OF THE U.S. ARMY MEDICAL DEPOT, LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, CONDUCTED A "SPOT BID" SALE OF SURPLUS PROPERTY CONSISTING OF FIFTY ONE (51) ITEMS. RAY HUMFLEET AUTO PARTS SUBMITTED BIDS ON ITEMS NOS. 46, 47, 50 AND 51. ITEM 46 WAS DESCRIBED AS "TRAILER, WAREHOUSE, W/AUTOMATIC COUPLING, CAPACITY 4000 LB., 36 BY 72 INCHES, RUBBER WHEELS, REPAIRS REQUIRED. USED. TOTAL WEIGHT: 23,050 LBS TOTAL COST: $8,000.00 50 EA.' ITEM 47 WAS DESCRIBED AS "TRAILER, WAREHOUSE, W/AUTOMATIC COUPLING, CAPACITY 4,000 LB., 36 BY 72 INCHES, STEEL AND RUBBER WHEELS, REPAIRS REQUIRED. USED. TOTAL WEIGHT: 11,525 LBS TOTAL COST: $4,625.00 25 EA.' MR. HUMFLEET BID $165 ON BOTH ITEMS 46 AND 47.

MR. HUMFLEET WAS NOTIFIED BY LETTER DATED OCTOBER 9, 1957, THAT HE HAD BEEN AWARDED ITEMS NOS. 46, 47, 50, AND 51. THE LETTER STATED THAT THE TOTAL AMOUNT DUE FOR ALL ITEMS AWARDED WAS $12,693. MR. HUMFLEET REPLIED BY ENDORSEMENT ON THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 9, 1957, THAT HIS TOTAL BID ON THE FOUR ITEMS WAS ONLY $648, AND THAT THE PROPERTY DISPOSAL OFFICER MUST HAVE CONFUSED HIS BID WITH THAT OF SOMEONE ELSE. THERE HAS BEEN NO OBJECTION RAISED CONCERNING ITEMS NOS. 50 AND 51. IN A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 17, 1957, THE PURCHASER REQUESTED THAT HIS BID ON ITEMS 46 AND 47 BE CANCELED STATING:

"* * * I BID ON ITEMS 46 AND 47 THINKING THEY WERE ONLY ONE EACH. I DIDN -T REALIZE THAT THERE WERE 50 IN ONE LOT AND 25 IN ONE.

"I THOUGHT FROM THE DESCRIPTION AS A WAREHOUSE TRAILER, THEY WERE 36FEET LONG AND 72 INCHES WIDE FOR USE TO WAREHOUSE SUPPLIES OUT IN THE FIELD. THOUGHT THE AUTOMATIC COUPLING WAS THE SAME AS SEMI-TRAILERS HAVE. THOUGHT ITEM 46 WEIGHED 23,050 POUNDS COSTING NEW $8,000.00 AND ITEM 47, 11,525 POUNDS AND COSTING NEW $4,625.00.'

THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED FOR ITEM 46 RANGED FROM $3.33 TO $50, AND FOR ITEM 47 FROM $3.33 TO $25. THUS THE PURCHASER'S BID ON ITEMS 46 AND 47 WAS ENTIRELY OUT OF LINE WITH THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED. A MERE DIFFERENCE IN PRICES QUOTED FOR USED GOVERNMENT PROPERTY WOULD NOT NECESSARILY PLACE THE DISPOSAL OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR AS A LIKE DIFFERENCE IN THE PRICES QUOTED ON NEW PROPERTY FOR SALE TO THE GOVERNMENT. HOWEVER, MR. HUMFLEET'S BIDS IN THIS CASE WERE 103 PERCENT OF THE ACQUISITION COST OF ITEM 46, AND 89 PERCENT OF THE ACQUISITION COST OF ITEM 47. IT IS UNLIKELY THAT A BIDDER WOULD INTENTIONALLY OFFER FOR PROPERTY DESCRIBED AS USED AND REQUIRING REPAIRS MORE THAN THE ORIGINAL COST OR EVEN 89 PERCENT OF COST. THAT THIS IS A REASONABLE ASSUMPTION IS STRONGLY INDICATED BY THE DISPOSAL OFFICER'S OWN STATEMENT WHEREIN HE POINTS TO SUCH FACT AND RECOMMENDS RELIEF ON THE BASIS THE BIDDER MADE AN HONEST MISTAKE.

IN VIEW OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD THERE SEEMS TO BE NO DOUBT THAT THE CONTRACTOR MADE AN HONEST MISTAKE IN HIS BID AS ALLEGED. IT ALSO APPEARS THAT THE PROPERTY DISPOSAL OFFICER SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON NOTICE OF THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR DUE TO THE UNUSUALLY HIGH BID IN PROPORTION TO THE ACQUISITION COST, AND BY REASON THEREOF SHOULD HAVE REQUESTED THE CONTRACTOR TO VERIFY HIS BID BEFORE AWARD.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE PROPERTY INVOLVED IS STILL IN POSSESSION OF THE GOVERNMENT, THE AWARD MAY BE CANCELED.