B-143942, SEP. 20, 1960

B-143942: Sep 20, 1960

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WEATHER BUREAU: WE HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9. REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO THE ACTION THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE BY THE UNITED TRANSFORMER CORPORATION IN ITS BID UPON WHICH PURCHASE ORDER NO. WAS BASED. IT WAS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED THEREIN THAT IF ARTICLES OF OTHER THAN THE BRAND NAME SPECIFIED ARE PROPOSED TO BE FURNISHED. UNITED TRANSFORMER RESPONDED TO BOTH INVITATIONS AND SINCE IT WAS THE LOW BIDDER ON ITEMS NOS. 4. AWARD WAS MADE TO IT FOR THOSE ITEMS. IT IS ALLEGED BY UNITED TRANSFORMER THAT IN PREPARING ITS BID ON INVITATION NO. WB024-61 WERE MISTAKENLY CARRIED OVER AS THE BID PRICES FOR ITEMS NOS. 29. IT IS OBSERVED THAT THE PRICES BID FOR ITEMS NOS. 21.

B-143942, SEP. 20, 1960

TO MR. B. F. LOVELESS, CONTRACTING OFFICER, WEATHER BUREAU:

WE HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, FILE A 3.51, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO THE ACTION THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE BY THE UNITED TRANSFORMER CORPORATION IN ITS BID UPON WHICH PURCHASE ORDER NO. W61 1073 DATED SEPTEMBER 1, 1960, WAS BASED.

INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. WB025-61, ISSUED ON JULY 26, 1960, REQUESTED BIDS --- TO BE OPENED ON AUGUST 16, 1960--- ON A BRAND NAME "OR EQUAL" BASIS FOR 40 ITEMS OF TRANSFORMER REPLACEMENTS FOR THE WSR-57 STORM DETECTION RADAR. IT WAS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED THEREIN THAT IF ARTICLES OF OTHER THAN THE BRAND NAME SPECIFIED ARE PROPOSED TO BE FURNISHED, THE BIDDER MUST FURNISH DESCRIPTIVE MATERIAL AND A DETAILED STATEMENT OF THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE BRAND NAME ARTICLES AND THE ARTICLES OFFERED IN LIEU THEREOF. ANOTHER INVITATION, NO. WB024-61 DATED JULY 27, 1960, WITH AN OPENING DATE OF AUGUST 16, 1960, REQUESTED BIDS ON 34 ITEMS OF CHOKES, REACTORS, AND COILS FOR THE WSR-57 STORM DETECTION RADAR. UNITED TRANSFORMER RESPONDED TO BOTH INVITATIONS AND SINCE IT WAS THE LOW BIDDER ON ITEMS NOS. 4, 6, 29, 31 AND 37 ON INVITATION NO. WB025-61, AWARD WAS MADE TO IT FOR THOSE ITEMS. BY LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 6, 1960, UNITED TRANSFORMER RETURNED THE PURCHASE ORDER AND ADVISED THAT IT COULD NOT ACCEPT AWARD FOR "ITEMS 29, 30 (SIC) AND 31 * * *" BECAUSE OF AN ERROR IN ITS BID. IT IS ALLEGED BY UNITED TRANSFORMER THAT IN PREPARING ITS BID ON INVITATION NO. WB025-61, ITS BID PRICES FOR ITEMS NOS. 21, 22 AND 23 ON PAGE 4 OF INVITATION NO. WB024-61 WERE MISTAKENLY CARRIED OVER AS THE BID PRICES FOR ITEMS NOS. 29, 30 AND 31 ON PAGE 4 OF INVITATION NO. WB025-61. IN THAT CONNECTION, IT IS OBSERVED THAT THE PRICES BID FOR ITEMS NOS. 21, 22 AND 23 ON INVITATION NO. WB024-61 NOT ONLY WERE THE SAME AS THOSE BID FOR ITEMS NOS. 29, 30 AND 31 ON INVITATION NO. WB025-61, BUT ALSO THAT THE QUANTITIES INVOLVED WERE IDENTICAL. THE PRICES BID ON ITEMS 21, 22 AND 23 ON INVITATION NO. WB024-61 WERE AS INTENDED BY UNITED TRANSFORMER AND THESE ITEMS REPRESENT UNITED TRANSFORMER PRODUCTS, WHEREAS, ITEMS 29, 30 AND 31 ON INVITATION NO. WB025-61 ARE PRODUCTS OF DUMONT LABORATORIES.

SINCE ONLY ONE OTHER RESPONSIVE BID WAS RECEIVED FOR ITEMS 29, 30 AND 31 ON INVITATION NO. WB025-61, YOU ADVISE THAT YOU WERE NOT ON NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR AND THAT YOU HAD NO REASON TO SUSPECT THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN UNITED TRANSFORMER'S BID.

WHILE, ORDINARILY, WHERE ONLY TWO BIDS ARE RECEIVED THE USUAL PRICE COMPARISON IS OF LITTLE, IF ANY, AID IN DETERMINING WHETHER AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN ONE OF THE BIDS (20 COMP. GEN. 286), IT IS NOTED PARTICULARLY HERE THAT DUMONT LABORATORIES--- THE OTHER BIDDER AND BRAND-NAME MANUFACTURER OF THE ARTICLES COVERED BY ITEMS 29, 30 AND 31 OF INVITATION NO. WB025-61--- BID AS FOLLOWS ON SUCH ITEMS IN COMPARISON WITH THE BID OF UNITED TRANSFORMER:

CHART

DUMONT UNITED TRANSFORMER

ITEM 29 $58.00 $23.95

ITEM 30 6.35 8.65

ITEM 31 40.50 7.12

THE DISPARITY IN SUCH BID ITEM PRICES, TOGETHER WITH THE FACT THAT UNITED TRANSFORMER DID NOT OFFER TO FURNISH OTHER THAN THE BRAND-NAME ARTICLES, SHOULD HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT TO HAVE PLACED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, TO HOLD UNITED TRANSFORMER TO ITS BID PRICES ON THE ITEMS IN QUESTION WOULD BE UNCONSCIONABLE.

ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD BEFORE US THAT THE AWARD SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE WITHOUT VERIFICATION OF THE BID PRICES, PURCHASE ORDER NO. W61-1073 SHOULD BE CANCELED WITHOUT LIABILITY TO UNITED TRANSFORMER. THE PERTINENT DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER ARE RETURNED.