B-143350, JUL. 12, 1960

B-143350: Jul 12, 1960

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VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (5108-134) DATED JUNE 27. INCLUDING ITEM NO. 5 WHICH WAS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION AS FOLLOWS: "MACHINE. - "BIDDERS WILL STATE IF THE EQUIPMENT THEY PROPOSE TO FURNISH WILL COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS. IT IS MANDATORY THAT ANY EXCEPTIONS TO THESE SPECIFICATIONS SHOULD BE INDICATED. "BIDDERS ARE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT A BROCHURE ON THE ITEMS ON WHICH THEY ARE QUOTING.'. THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED ON ITEM NO. 5. 398 BIDDING ON AMERICAN MODEL B YOU STATE THAT IT WAS NOTED. NOTWITHSTANDING ITS BID INDICATED IT WAS FURNISHING A "UNIPRESS MODEL SFT-2" MACHINE. IT WAS FIRST DETERMINED THAT THIS BIDDER HAD SUBMITTED AN ALTERNATE BID WHICH WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE SINCE THE MODEL SFT DESCRIBED IN THE BROCHURE WAS NOT A FULLY AUTOMATIC MACHINE AS REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS SET OUT IN THE INVITATION.

B-143350, JUL. 12, 1960

TO MR. F. M. AHEARN, CHIEF, SUPPLY DIVISION, CONTRACTING OFFICER, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (5108-134) DATED JUNE 27, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE BID OF CUMMINGS-LANDAU LAUNDRY MACHINERY CO., INC., BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO YOUR INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 60-67.

THE INVITATION SOLICITED BIDS FOR FURNISHING, INSTALLING, ETC., CERTAIN ITEMS OF LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING ITEM NO. 5 WHICH WAS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION AS FOLLOWS:

"MACHINE, SHIRT FOLDING, FULLY AUTOMATIC EQUIPPED WITH CONVENTIONAL 12 INCH FOLD, STAND UP HEATED COLLAR BLOCK. 1 EA.'

THE INVITATION REQUIRED THAT---

"BIDDERS WILL STATE IF THE EQUIPMENT THEY PROPOSE TO FURNISH WILL COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS. IT IS MANDATORY THAT ANY EXCEPTIONS TO THESE SPECIFICATIONS SHOULD BE INDICATED.

"BIDDERS ARE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT A BROCHURE ON THE ITEMS ON WHICH THEY ARE QUOTING.'

UPON OPENING OF BIDS ON JUNE 14, 1960, THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED ON ITEM NO. 5, AS FOLLOWS:

CHART

BIDDER PRICE

CUMMINGS-LANDAU LAUNDRY MACHINERY CO., INC. $1,234

BIDDING ON UNIPRESS MODEL SFT-2

THE PROSPERITY CO. 1,269

BIDDING ON PROSPERITY MODEL AFH-3H

AMERICAN LAUNDRY MACHINERY CO. 1,398

BIDDING ON AMERICAN MODEL B

YOU STATE THAT IT WAS NOTED, NOTWITHSTANDING ITS BID INDICATED IT WAS FURNISHING A "UNIPRESS MODEL SFT-2" MACHINE, THAT THE BROCHURE FORWARDED BY CUMMINGS-LANDAU LAUNDRY MACHINERY CO., INC., WITH ITS BID COVERED A "UNIPRESS MODEL SFT" SHIRT FOLDING MACHINE, AND THAT, BASED ON THIS INFORMATION, IT WAS FIRST DETERMINED THAT THIS BIDDER HAD SUBMITTED AN ALTERNATE BID WHICH WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE SINCE THE MODEL SFT DESCRIBED IN THE BROCHURE WAS NOT A FULLY AUTOMATIC MACHINE AS REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS SET OUT IN THE INVITATION. HOWEVER, ON JUNE 21, 1960, PRIOR TO AWARD, MR. CUMMINGS, VICE PRESIDENT OF CUMMINGS-LANDAU LAUNDRY MACHINERY CO., INC., CALLED AND ADVISED YOU THAT THROUGH ERROR HE HAD SENT THE WRONG BROCHURE WITH HIS FIRM'S BID. THEREAFTER, ON JUNE 22, 1960, A BROCHURE WAS RECEIVED FROM CUMMINGS-LANDAU, WHICH COVERED A "UNIPRESS MODEL FM" MACHINE INSTEAD OF THE "SFT-2 MODEL" SPECIFIED IN ITS BID. LETTER DATED JUNE 22, 1960, YOU THEN SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED THE BIDDER TO SUBMIT THE "MODEL SFT-2" BROCHURE, AND, IN REPLY BY LETTER DATED JUNE 23, 1960, THE BIDDER ADVISED YOU THAT "AGAIN THROUGH INADVERTENCE, MODEL SFT-2 WAS MENTIONED IN ITS BID INSTEAD OF MODEL FM.' THE COMPANY CONTENDED, HOWEVER, THAT SINCE IT HAD NOT TAKEN ANY EXCEPTION IN ITS BID TO THE SPECIFICATIONS OF THE INVITATION IT IS ENTITLED TO THE AWARD REGARDLESS OF THE MODEL NUMBER.

INASMUCH AS CUMMINGS-LANDAU HAS, IN EFFECT, ADMITTED IN ITS LETTER OF JUNE 23, 1960, THAT ITS MODEL NO. SFT-2 DOES NOT CONFORM TO THE SPECIFICATIONS CALLED FOR IN THE INVITATION IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT ITS BID AS SUBMITTED IS NOT RESPONSIVE. THE QUESTION THEN ARISES AS TO WHETHER A BID WHICH IS NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION MAY BE CORRECTED ON THE BASIS OF AN ALLEGATION THAT THE REASON FOR THE BID BEING NONRESPONSIVE WAS DUE TO A MISTAKE. IN OUR DECISION OF JANUARY 30, 1958, B-134931, WHICH INVOLVED A SITUATION WHERE A BIDDER INADVERTENTLY SUBMITTED THE WRONG SAMPLE WITH ITS BID AND ATTEMPTED TO SUBMIT A NEW SAMPLE AFTER THE BID OPENING, IT WAS STATED:

"THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER A BID IS RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION IS FOR DETERMINATION UPON THE BASIS OF THE BID AS SUBMITTED AND IT IS NOT BELIEVED THAT IT WOULD BE PROPER TO CONSIDER THE REASON FOR THE UNRESPONSIVENESS, WHETHER DUE TO MISTAKE OR OTHERWISE.'

ALSO, WE CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT UNDER COMPETITIVE BID PROCEDURES A BID TO BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD MUST COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION AT THE TIME OF THE BID OPENING. A BIDDER MAY NOT BE PERMITTED TO CHANGE OR MODIFY ITS BID AFTER THE OPENING AND IT DOES NOT MATTER WHETHER THE FAILURE TO COMPLY WAS DUE TO INADVERTENCE, MISTAKE OR OTHERWISE. SEE 30 COMP. GEN. 179, 36 ID. 535, 38 ID. 819. IN OTHER WORDS, TO PERMIT A BIDDER TO MAKE HIS BID RESPONSIVE BY CHANGING, ADDING TO, OR DELETING A MATERIAL PART OF THE BID ON THE BASIS OF AN ERROR ALLEGED AFTER BID OPENING WOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO PERMITTING A BIDDER TO SUBMIT A NEW BID.

ACCORDINGLY, THE BID OF CUMMINGS-LANDAU ON ITEM NO. 5 MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD.