B-143297, JUL. 1, 1960

B-143297: Jul 1, 1960

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VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (5116/134) DATED JUNE 20. BECAUSE YOU KNEW THAT THE FREIGHT RATE WAS THE SAME. A POSSIBLE ERROR IN PRICES QUOTED ON THE TWO ITEMS BY HARDY SALT COMPANY WAS INDICATED. EXPLAINING THAT DUE TO A CLERICAL ERROR THERE WAS A TRANSPOSITION OF THE FIRST DIGIT IN PRICES QUOTED UNDER ITEMS 1 (B) AND 1 (C). THE COMPANY STATED THAT IT WAS WILLING TO EXTEND THE ACCEPTANCE TIME AN ADDITIONAL 30 DAYS. THE EVIDENCE OF MISTAKE MUST BE SUCH AS TO SHOW CONCLUSIVELY THAT A MISTAKE WAS MADE. REQUIRING THE IMMEDIATE PRESENTATION OF SUCH CONVINCING PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE AND CHARACTER OF THE ERROR AS TO LEAVE NO ROOM FOR DOUBT THAT THERE WAS IN FACT A BONA FIDE MISTAKE IN THE BID SOUGHT TO BE CORRECTED OR WITHDRAWN.

B-143297, JUL. 1, 1960

TO MR. L. C. BUXTON, CHIEF, SUPPLY DIVISION CONTRACTING OFFICER, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (5116/134) DATED JUNE 20, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST A DECISION CONCERNING ERRORS WHICH HARDY SALT COMPANY, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID ON ITEMS NOS. 1 (B) AND 1 (C) OF INVITATION NO. 61-4.

ON ITEM NO. 1 (B) OF THE INVITATION HARDY SALT COMPANY QUOTED $6.45 PER TON F.O.B. POINT OF ORIGIN FOR FURNISHING 520 TONS OF SALT AND UNDER ITEM 1 (C) $7.20 FREIGHT RATE PER TON FROM POINT OF ORIGIN (MANISTEE, MICHIGAN) TO DESTINATION (MARION, INDIANA, FOR NYC RR DELIVERY). THE MICHIGAN SALT COMPANY, ST. LOUIS, MICHIGAN, SUBMITTED A BID OF $7.45 PER TON F.O.B. POINT OF ORIGIN ON ITEM NO. 1 (B) FOR THE SALT AND UNDER ITEM NO. 1 (C) A FREIGHT RATE OF $6.20 PER TON FROM POINT OF ORIGIN (ST. LOUIS, MICHIGAN) TO DESTINATION (MARION, INDIANA, FOR NYC RR DELIVERY).

YOU STATE THAT, BECAUSE YOU KNEW THAT THE FREIGHT RATE WAS THE SAME, $6.20 PER TON, FROM THE ORIGIN POINTS FOR SHIPMENTS BY EACH OF THESE FIRMS, I.E., MANISTEE, MICHIGAN, AND ST. LOUIS, MICHIGAN, A POSSIBLE ERROR IN PRICES QUOTED ON THE TWO ITEMS BY HARDY SALT COMPANY WAS INDICATED. THEREFORE, YOU WIRED THAT COMPANY ON JUNE 16, 1960, REQUESTING VERIFICATION OF ITS PRICES ON ITEMS NOS. 1 (B) AND 1 (C). IN REPLY BY LETTER DATED JUNE 17, 1960, THE COMPANY CLAIMED AN ERROR IN ITS BID, EXPLAINING THAT DUE TO A CLERICAL ERROR THERE WAS A TRANSPOSITION OF THE FIRST DIGIT IN PRICES QUOTED UNDER ITEMS 1 (B) AND 1 (C), AND ASKED PERMISSION TO CORRECT THE COMPANY'S BID TO READ $7.45 PER TON ON ITEM NO. 1 (B) AND $6.20 PER TON ON ITEM NO. 1 (C). THE COMPANY STATED THAT IT WAS WILLING TO EXTEND THE ACCEPTANCE TIME AN ADDITIONAL 30 DAYS.

IT CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN HELD THAT TO AUTHORIZE THE CORRECTION OR WITHDRAWAL OF A BID BEFORE ACCEPTANCE ON THE BASIS OF A MISTAKE ALLEGED AFTER THE OPENING OF BIDS, THE EVIDENCE OF MISTAKE MUST BE SUCH AS TO SHOW CONCLUSIVELY THAT A MISTAKE WAS MADE, IN WHAT IT CONSISTS, AND HOW IT OCCURRED, REQUIRING THE IMMEDIATE PRESENTATION OF SUCH CONVINCING PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE AND CHARACTER OF THE ERROR AS TO LEAVE NO ROOM FOR DOUBT THAT THERE WAS IN FACT A BONA FIDE MISTAKE IN THE BID SOUGHT TO BE CORRECTED OR WITHDRAWN, AND TO REMOVE ANY REASONABLE SUSPICION THAT THE CLAIM OF ERROR IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING SOME UNDUE ADVANTAGE OR OF AVOIDING THE CONSEQUENCES OF AN ILL-ADVISED BID. SEE 9 COMP. GEN. 339.

WHILE THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT HARDY SALT COMPANY MADE AN ERROR IN ITS BID AS TO THE CORRECT CHARGE UNDER ITEM NO. 1 (C) FOR THE FREIGHT RATE PER TON FROM POINT OF ORIGIN TO DESTINATION, THE COMPANY HAS NOT SUBMITTED ANY CERTIFIED EVIDENCE SUBSTANTIATING ERROR IN ITS BID ON ITEM NO. 1 (B), AS ALLEGED. ON THE RECORD, THEREFORE, THE ERROR ALLEGED BY HARDY SALT COMPANY AS TO ITEM NO. 1 (B) HAS NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED.

ACCORDINGLY, THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR PERMITTING CORRECTION OF THE BID OF HARDY SALT COMPANY. HOWEVER, SINCE IT WAS BELIEVED THAT THE COMPANY'S BID WAS ERRONEOUS AND SUCH BELIEF WAS CONFIRMED AND THE ERROR EXPLAINED BY THE BIDDER PROMPTLY UPON REQUEST FOR VERIFICATION AFTER OPENING AND PRIOR TO AWARD, THE BID OF HARDY SALT COMPANY SHOULD BE DISREGARDED.