B-142915, JUN. 7, 1960

B-142915: Jun 7, 1960

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VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 16. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING TWO ERRORS ALLEGED BY THE HERSHEY CHOCOLATE CORPORATION TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 61-6. THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL. THE INVITATION WAS OPENED ON MAY 10. STATED TO HAVE BEEN USED IN THE PREPARATION OF THE ESTIMATED COSTS OF THESE TWO ITEMS. WERE FURNISHED WITH THE LETTER. THAT THE BID OF $0.36 WAS INTENDED FOR A ONE-HALF GALLON CONTAINER OF MILK AND IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN $0.72 FOR THE GALLON UNIT TO BE FURNISHED IN ONE- HALF GALLON CONTAINERS. THE CONTRACTING OFFICE REPORTS THAT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IT HAS ASKED FOR BIDS ON ONE-HALF GALLON CONTAINERS OF MILK AND.

B-142915, JUN. 7, 1960

TO F. W. GIROUX, CHIEF, SUPPLY DIVISION, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 16, 1960 (REF. 5148/134 (, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING TWO ERRORS ALLEGED BY THE HERSHEY CHOCOLATE CORPORATION TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 61-6.

THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL, LEBANON, PENNSYLVANIA, ON APRIL 22, 1960, AND IT REQUESTED BIDS ON VARIOUS NUMBERED ITEMS OF MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS. THE INVITATION WAS OPENED ON MAY 10, 1960, AND A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HERSHEY CHOCOLATE CORPORATION THEN ALLEGED THAT TWO ERRORS HAD BEEN MADE IN ITS BID. BY LETTER SUBMITTED ON MAY 12, 1960, THE BIDDER ALLEGED THAT ERRORS HAD BEEN COMMITTED ON ITEMS 172B AND 178 OF THE SUBJECT INVITATION. COPIES OF WORKING PAPERS, STATED TO HAVE BEEN USED IN THE PREPARATION OF THE ESTIMATED COSTS OF THESE TWO ITEMS, WERE FURNISHED WITH THE LETTER.

ON ITEM 172B, CALLING FOR ONE GALLON UNIT PRICE BIDS ON 5,500 GALLONS OF MILK TO BE DELIVERED IN ONE-HALF GALLON WAX CONTAINERS, THE HERSHEY CHOCOLATE CORPORATION SUBMITTED A BID OF $0.36 PER GALLON FOR A TOTAL OF $1,980. THE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED ON THIS ITEM RANGE FROM $0.76 TO $0.90 PER GALLON. HERSHEY CHOCOLATE CORPORATION STATES THAT IT MISREAD THE BID; THAT THE BID OF $0.36 WAS INTENDED FOR A ONE-HALF GALLON CONTAINER OF MILK AND IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN $0.72 FOR THE GALLON UNIT TO BE FURNISHED IN ONE- HALF GALLON CONTAINERS. THE BIDDER REQUESTS THAT ITS BID BE CORRECTED ON ITEM 172B TO $0.72 PER GALLON.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICE REPORTS THAT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IT HAS ASKED FOR BIDS ON ONE-HALF GALLON CONTAINERS OF MILK AND, IN PREVIOUS PROCUREMENTS, IT HAS MADE AWARDS AT $0.58 AND $0.595 PER GALLON OF MILK DELIVERED IN FIVE OR TEN GALLON BULK CONTAINERS. THE CORRECTION WOULD INCREASE THE HERSHEY CHOCOLATE CORPORATION BID BY $1,980, INCREASING ITS TOTAL AGGREGATE BID ON ITEMS 154 THROUGH 174 FROM $64,588.75 TO $66,568.75. THE NEXT LOWEST BID RECEIVED ON THESE ITEMS, INCLUDING DISCOUNT, IS $70,622.72.

WHEN A BIDDER ALLEGES MISTAKE IN BID AFTER BID OPENING BUT PRIOR TO AWARD, IT IS THE GENERAL RULE THAT THE BIDDER MAY NOT CHANGE HIS BID. BUT WHERE THE MISTAKE HAS BEEN ALLEGED PROMPTLY, AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE HAS BEEN PROMPTLY PRESENTED SHOWING THAT THE MISTAKE WAS MADE, HOW IT OCCURRED, AND WHAT THE BID PRICE WOULD HAVE BEEN BUT FOR THE MISTAKE, THEN THE BID MAY BE CONSIDERED AS CORRECTED, IF TO DO SO WOULD NOT ADVERSELY AFFECT THE RELATIVE STANDING OF THE OTHER BIDDERS. B 140851, OCTOBER 22, 1959.

IN THE SITUATION AT HAND, WHEN THE HERSHEY CHOCOLATE CORPORATION BID IS COMPARED TO THE OTHER BIDS ON ITEM 172B, IT IS APPARENT THAT AN ERROR WAS COMMITTED IN THE COMPUTATION OF ITS BID. THE BIDDER ALSO SUBMITTED A BID OF $0.0445 ON A HALF-PINT BOTTLE AND $0.055 ON A HALF PINT WAX CONTAINER FOR THE SAME TYPE MILK ON ITEM 172A OF THE INVITATION, WHICH, CONVERTED TO GALLONS, WOULD BE ?7120 AND ?88 PER GALLON. THE WORK SHEET COPY FURNISHED BY THE BIDDER INDICATES THAT ITS BID OF $0.36 WAS INTENDED FOR A ONE-HALF GALLON CONTAINER OF MILK. ON THAT BASIS IT FOLLOWS THAT THE BIDDER WOULD HAVE SUBMITTED A BID OF $0.72 FOR ONE GALLON OF MILK, CONSISTING OF TWO ONE-HALF GALLON CONTAINERS OF MILK.

THE OTHER ALLEGED ERROR CONCERNS ITEM 178, CALLING FOR 3,500 GALLONS OF ICE CREAM MIX WHICH IS TO BE AWARDED SEPARATELY. THE BIDDER ALLEGES THAT IT INTENDED TO BID $1.55 PER GALLON ON THAT ITEM, FOR A TOTAL OF $5,425, BUT, DUE TO A TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR, IT BID $0.155 PER GALLON, OR A TOTAL AGGREGATE BID OF $542.50. THE TWO OTHER BIDS RECEIVED ON THIS ITEM WERE $1.40 PER GALLON AND $1.70 PER GALLON. THE BIDDER REQUESTS THAT ITS BID BE CORRECTED TO $1.55 PER GALLON.

IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT THE BID OF $0.155 MUST HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED IN ERROR, SINCE IT IS FAR OUT OF LINE WITH THE OTHER TWO BIDS AND UNREASONABLY LOW. THE CONTRACTING OFFICE STATES THAT A BID OF $1.55 WOULD BE IN LINE WITH COMPETITORS' BIDS AND PREVIOUS PRICES PAID FOR THE IDENTICAL PRODUCT. THE BIDDER'S WORK SHEET COPY SHOWS A COMPUTATION FOR ICE CREAM MIX AT A PRICE OF $1.55 PER GALLON. IN THIS SITUATION IT MAY REASONABLY BE PRESUMED THAT THE BIDDER WOULD HAVE OFFERED A BID PRICE OF $1.55 PER GALLON BUT FOR THE MISPLACED DECIMAL POINT.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, AND SINCE IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE RELATIVE STANDING OF THE OTHER BIDDERS WOULD BE ADVERSELY AFFECTED IF THE BIDS ARE CORRECTED AS REQUESTED, THE BID OF HERSHEY CHOCOLATE CORPORATION MAY BE CORRECTED TO PROVIDE FOR A PRICE OF $0.72 PER GALLON ON ITEM 172B AND $1.55 PER GALLON ON ITEM 178. THE BID AS SO CORRECTED MAY BE CONSIDERED WITH THE OTHER BIDS IN MAKING THE AWARDS UNDER THE INVITATION.