B-142085, MAR. 3, 1960

B-142085: Mar 3, 1960

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 18. INCLUDED THEREIN AS ITEM 42 WERE 31 TYPEWRITERS DESCRIBED AS FOLLOWS: "42. ARE UNDERWOOD. 425.00 UNIT: EACH" THE CONTRACTOR SUBMITTED A UNIT PRICE BID OF $86.60 FOR ITEM 42 AND AWARD OF THIS ITEM WAS MADE ON JULY 22. THE AWARD WAS MADE ON THE BASIS OF $86.60 EACH. AFTER AWARD THE CONTRACTOR CLAIMED THAT HE HAD MADE A MISTAKE IN HIS BID IN THAT THE AMOUNT OF $86.60 WAS INTENDED TO BE FOR THE ENTIRE LOT OF 31 TYPEWRITERS AND NOT A UNIT PRICE FOR EACH TYPEWRITER. WHILE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPORTS THAT PREVIOUS OFFERINGS OF SIMILAR LOTS OF TYPEWRITERS HAVE YIELDED LESS THAN $5 PER TYPEWRITER DUE TO POSSIBLE FLOODING OF THE LOCAL MARKET WITH SURPLUS TYPEWRITERS.

B-142085, MAR. 3, 1960

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 18, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, FILE AFMPP-PR-3, FROM THE DIRECTORATE OF PROCUREMENT AND PRODUCTION, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER PATRICK CADWALLADER MAY BE RELEASED FROM HIS OBLIGATION TO PURCHASE AN ITEM OF SURPLUS PROPERTY SOLD TO HIM UNDER SPOT BID SALE 59-11X, CONDUCTED BY LADD AIR FORCE BASE, ALASKA.

BY INVITATION TO BID ISSUED JUNE 29, 1959 (SPOT BID SALE 59-11X) THE LADD AIR FORCE BASE, FAIRBANKS, ALASKA, INVITED BIDS FOR THE PURCHASE FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF 124 ITEMS OF SURPLUS PROPERTY. INCLUDED THEREIN AS ITEM 42 WERE 31 TYPEWRITERS DESCRIBED AS FOLLOWS:

"42. TYPEWRITERS: STANDARD, NON-PORTABLE, AMERICAN KEYBOARD, NOISELESS, 9 INCHES TO 16 INCHES CARRIAGES. MFRS. ARE UNDERWOOD, ROYAL, L. C. SMITH, CORONA, REMINGTON RAND. 31 EACH IN THE LOT. CONDITION: USED, GOOD, MINOR REPAIR REQUIRED. CODE 74 ESTIMATED WT. 620 POUNDS AND ACQ. COST $4,425.00 UNIT: EACH" THE CONTRACTOR SUBMITTED A UNIT PRICE BID OF $86.60 FOR ITEM 42 AND AWARD OF THIS ITEM WAS MADE ON JULY 22, 1959. THE AWARD WAS MADE ON THE BASIS OF $86.60 EACH, OR A TOTAL PRICE OF $2,684.60. AFTER AWARD THE CONTRACTOR CLAIMED THAT HE HAD MADE A MISTAKE IN HIS BID IN THAT THE AMOUNT OF $86.60 WAS INTENDED TO BE FOR THE ENTIRE LOT OF 31 TYPEWRITERS AND NOT A UNIT PRICE FOR EACH TYPEWRITER. THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT 10 OTHER BIDS ON ITEM 42 HAD BEEN RECEIVED, RANGING FROM $76.01 TO $1.05. WHILE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPORTS THAT PREVIOUS OFFERINGS OF SIMILAR LOTS OF TYPEWRITERS HAVE YIELDED LESS THAN $5 PER TYPEWRITER DUE TO POSSIBLE FLOODING OF THE LOCAL MARKET WITH SURPLUS TYPEWRITERS, IT IS NOTED THAT QUITE A NUMBER OF BIDS HIGHER THAN $5 EACH WERE RECEIVED IN THIS CASE WHICH INDICATES THAT THERE WAS A CONSIDERABLY GREATER DEMAND FOR TYPEWRITERS AT THE TIME OF THE INSTANT SALE. THE OTHER FIVE HIGHEST BIDS WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $76.01, $63, $31.55, $15, AND $10.15. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT THESE BIDDERS MADE THE SAME MISTAKE IN FAILING TO DESIGNATE THEIR BIDS AS "LOT" BIDS. THE ACQUISITION COST OF THESE TYPEWRITERS IS SHOWN AS $4,425 BUT WHETHER THIS TAKES INTO ACCOUNT THE TRANSPORTATION COSTS TO ALASKA IS NOW SHOWN. THE AMOUNT OF $2,684.60 BID BY MR. CADWALLADER CANNOT BE REGARDED AS EXCESSIVELY HIGH. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, IT MUST BE CONCLUDED ON THE PRESENT RECORD THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS NOT IN ERROR WHEN HE FAILED TO REQUEST VERIFICATION OF MR. CADWALLADER'S BID.

THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE BID OF MR. CADWALLADER WAS MADE IN GOOD FAITH AND CONSUMMATED A VALID AND BINDING CONTRACT WHICH FIXED THE RIGHTS AND LIABILITIES OF THE PARTIES. WHATEVER ERROR WAS MADE WAS UNILATERAL AND DOES NOT ENTITLE THE CONTRACTOR TO RELIEF FROM HIS OBLIGATION UNDER THE CONTRACT. SALIGMAN, ET AL. V. UNITED STATES, 56 F.SUPP. 505, 507.

ACCORDINGLY, THE AWARD OF ITEM 42 TO MR. CADWALLADER MAY NOT BE CANCELED.