B-142525, APR. 21, 1960

B-142525: Apr 21, 1960

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MARKETING DIVISION FOR DRUGS AND CHEMICALS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (7023/134L1). WERE DESCRIBED AS "STOCK NO. 1284000 - MERCURY. ITEM NO. 14 WAS DESCRIBED AS "STOCK NO. 1285200 - MERCURY BICHLORIDE. IT WAS NOTED THAT UNIT BIDS FROM MALLINCKRODT CHEMICAL WORKS FOR ITEMS NOS. 12 AND 13 WERE $3.798 AND $3.713. 14 WERE $3.37 AND $3.29 PER BOTTLE AND "$1.15/LB. THAT THE NEXT LOW BIDS ON THOSE THREE ITEMS WERE. THE TWO LOW BIDDERS WERE CONTACTED TO VERIFY THEIR BIDS. CONFIRMED ITS EARLIER TELEPHONE CONVERSATION IN WHICH IT STATED THAT ITS BID SHOULD HAVE READ. THE BASIC RULE IS THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THEY ARE OPENED. IN THAT DECISION IT WAS ALSO HELD THAT THE ALLEGATION OF MISTAKE MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED AS ESTABLISHING THE AMOUNT OF THE MISTAKE.

B-142525, APR. 21, 1960

TO MR. W. D. MONTS, CONTRACT SPECIALIST, MARKETING DIVISION FOR DRUGS AND CHEMICALS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (7023/134L1), DATED APRIL 5, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, RELATIVE TO CERTAIN ERRORS WHICH MALLINCKRODT CHEMICAL WORKS, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, AND METALSALTS CORPORATION, HAWTHORNE, NEW JERSEY, RESPECTIVELY, ALLEGE THEY MADE IN THEIR BIDS SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO BID INVITATION NO. M5-81-60. YOU REQUEST ADVICE SPECIFICALLY AS TO WHETHER METALSALTS CORPORATION MAY BE CONSIDERED AS LOW BIDDER AT ITS CORRECTED PRICES FOR ITEMS NOS. 12 AND 13, AND WHETHER ITS BID FOR ITEM NO. 14 MAY BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING THE AWARDS.

BY INVITATION NO. M5-81-60, ISSUED MARCH 14, 1960, YOU SOLICITED BIDS FOR FURNISHING AT SPECIFIED DESTINATIONS, AS REQUIRED, CERTAIN ITEMS OF SUPPLIES, INCLUDING ITEMS NOS. 12, 13, AND 14 AT A UNIT PRICE PER BOTTLE. ITEMS NOS. 12 AND 13, CONSISTING OF 42 AND 60 UNITS, RESPECTIVELY, WERE DESCRIBED AS "STOCK NO. 1284000 - MERCURY, NF, 5 LB.: (QUICKSILVER) P.A. 7023-51047-60.' ITEM NO. 14 WAS DESCRIBED AS "STOCK NO. 1285200 - MERCURY BICHLORIDE, 1/4 LB: USP P.A. 7023-51048 60," AND CALLED FOR 384 UNITS.

YOU STATE THAT AFTER BID OPENING ON MARCH 29, 1960, IT WAS NOTED THAT UNIT BIDS FROM MALLINCKRODT CHEMICAL WORKS FOR ITEMS NOS. 12 AND 13 WERE $3.798 AND $3.713, RESPECTIVELY; THAT BIDS FROM METALSALTS CORPORATION FOR ITEMS NOS. 12, 13, AND 14 WERE $3.37 AND $3.29 PER BOTTLE AND "$1.15/LB," RESPECTIVELY; AND THAT THE NEXT LOW BIDS ON THOSE THREE ITEMS WERE, RESPECTIVELY, $17.80, $17.65, AND $0.997. THE TWO LOW BIDDERS WERE CONTACTED TO VERIFY THEIR BIDS, MALLINCKRODT CHEMICAL WORKS BY TWX AND METALSALTS CORPORATION BY TELEPHONE.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT IN REPLY TO YOUR REQUEST FOR VERIFICATION OF ITS BID MALLINCKRODT CHEMICAL WORKS, BY LETTER DATED MARCH 30, 1960, ALLEGED ERROR IN ITS QUOTATIONS ON ITEMS NOS. 12 AND 13, AND REQUESTED THAT ITS BID BE AMENDED TO READ, AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

"MERCURY NF REDISTILLED

42 BTLS. DESTINED: WILMINGTON, CALIF. AT $18.989/BOT.

60 BTLS. HINES, ILL. 18.565/BOT.'

AND, BY TELEGRAM DATED APRIL 4, 1960, AGAIN REQUESTED THAT ITS BID BE AMENDED TO SHOW THE PRICES FOR "5 LB BTLS. MERCURY TO READ: 42 BTLS WILMINGTON CALIF $18.99/BOT 60 BTLS HINES ILL $18.565 BOT.'

METALSALTS CORPORATION IN RESPONSE TO YOUR REQUEST FOR VERIFICATION OF ITS BID, BY LETTER DATED MARCH 31, 1960, CONFIRMED ITS EARLIER TELEPHONE CONVERSATION IN WHICH IT STATED THAT ITS BID SHOULD HAVE READ, AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

"MERCURY, NF, 5 LB. BOTTLES

42 BOTTLES $3.37 PER LB.

FOB WILMINGTON, CALIFORNIA

60 BOTTLES $3.29 PER LB.

FOB HINES, ILLINOIS

MERCURY BICHLORIDE, 1/4 LB. USP

384 BOTTLES $1.15 PER BOTTLE

FOB SOMERVILLE, N.J.'

AND, BY LATER LETTER DATED APRIL 5, 1960, REQUESTED THAT ITS BID AGAIN BE AMENDED TO READ, AS FOLLOWS:

"MERCURY, NF 5 LB. BOTTLES

42 BOTTLES AT $3.37 PER LB. - $16.85 PER UNIT - $707.70

FOB WILMINGTON, CALIFORNIA

60 BOTTLES AT $3.29 PER LB. - $16.45 PER UNIT - $987.00

FOB HINES, ILLINOIS

MERCURY BICHLORIDE, 1/4 LB. USP

384 BOTTLES AT $1.15 PER BOTTLE - $441.60 TOTAL

FOB SOMERVILLE, N.J.'

THE BASIC RULE IS THAT BIDS MAY NOT BE CHANGED AFTER THEY ARE OPENED. COMP. GEN. 416. IN THAT DECISION IT WAS ALSO HELD THAT THE ALLEGATION OF MISTAKE MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED AS ESTABLISHING THE AMOUNT OF THE MISTAKE, AND THAT IF INSTEAD OF WITHDRAWAL OF THE ERRONEOUS BID THE BIDDER SEEKS A CORRECTION THEREOF THERE SHOULD BE SUBMITTED THE SWORN STATEMENT OF THE BIDDER SHOWING IN DETAIL WHAT MISTAKE WAS MADE AND HOW IT OCCURRED, TOGETHER WITH THE SWORN ORIGINAL WORK AND ESTIMATE SHEETS, ETC., RELIED UPON TO ESTABLISH THE EXACT AMOUNT WHICH WAS INTENDED TO BE BID.

IN THE PRESENT CASE, NEITHER MALLINCKRODT CHEMICAL WORKS NOR METALSALTS HAS SUBMITTED A SWORN STATEMENT OR ITS CERTIFIED ORIGINAL WORKSHEETS OR OTHER DOCUMENTS CONCLUSIVELY ESTABLISHING THE EXISTENCE OF THE ERRORS, AS ALLEGED, THEIR NATURE, HOW THEY OCCURRED AND OF WHAT THEY CONSISTED, AND WHAT THE BIDDER ACTUALLY INTENDED TO BID. THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THEREFORE, WOULD NOT PERMIT CORRECTION OF EITHERBIDDER'S PRICES. HOWEVER, SINCE THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS INDICATES THAT THEIR BIDS ON ITEMS NOS. 12 AND 13 WERE OUT OF LINE WITH THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED ON THOSE ITEMS, SINCE YOU BELIEVED THAT BOTH BIDDERS HAD MADE ERRORS IN THEIR BIDS AND, ESPECIALLY, SINCE MALLINCKRODT CHEMICAL WORKS AND METALSALTS CORPORATION UPON REQUEST FOR VERIFICATION OF THEIR BIDS PROMPTLY AND PRIOR TO AWARD ALLEGED ERRORS THEREIN, THEIR BIDS MAY BE DISREGARDED AS TO ITEMS NOS. 12 AND 13.

THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS FOR ITEM NO. 14 INDICATES THAT THE BID OF "1.15/LB" BY METALSALTS CORPORATION WOULD RESULT IN A LOW BID FOR THAT ITEM OF $1.2875 PER UNIT ( 1/4 LB. BOTTLE). HOWEVER, UPON A COMPARISON OF THAT AMOUNT WITH THE OTHER BIDS OF $0.997, $1, AND $1.60 RECEIVED ON ITEM NO. 14, THERE IS APPARENT THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ERROR IN THE METALSALTS CORPORATION BID. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE CORPORATION HAS ALLEGED AN ERROR IN ITS BID ON THAT ITEM PRIOR TO AWARD, ITS BID ON ITEM NO. 14 MAY ALSO BE DISREGARDED.