B-144010, SEPTEMBER 27, 1960, 40 COMP. GEN. 191

B-144010: Sep 27, 1960

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EXTENSION PRICE A LOW BIDDER WHO IS ABLE TO SHOW CLEARLY THAT THE SAME AMOUNT QUOTED AS A UNIT PRICE AND AS A TOTAL PRICE FOR SIX UNITS OF PRINTED MATERIAL WAS INTENDED AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS USUAL PRICING PRACTICES NEED NOT HAVE HIS BID REGARDED AS ERRONEOUS AND. 1960: OUR VIEWS HAVE BEEN REQUESTED BY LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 16. THE LOW BID RECEIVED FOR ALL ITEMS IN THE INVITATION WAS FROM RELIANCE AT $13. THE ONLY QUESTION WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCEPTABILITY OF THE LOW BID ARISES OUT OF ITEM NO. 11 OF THE INVITATION WHICH IS DELINEATED AS FOLLOWS: QUAN. THE LOW BIDDER RESPONDED THAT THE PRICE WAS NOT IN ERROR AND THAT THE CHARGE FOR ONE ITEM OR SIX WOULD BE EXACTLY THE SAME. THERE WAS SUBMITTED A COPY OF PAGE B381 OF THE BIDDER'S PRICE BOOK.

B-144010, SEPTEMBER 27, 1960, 40 COMP. GEN. 191

BIDS - MISTAKES - UNIT V. EXTENSION PRICE A LOW BIDDER WHO IS ABLE TO SHOW CLEARLY THAT THE SAME AMOUNT QUOTED AS A UNIT PRICE AND AS A TOTAL PRICE FOR SIX UNITS OF PRINTED MATERIAL WAS INTENDED AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS USUAL PRICING PRACTICES NEED NOT HAVE HIS BID REGARDED AS ERRONEOUS AND, EVEN THOUGH THE INVITATION PROVIDED THAT IN THE CASE OF ERROR IN THE EXTENSION PRICE THE UNIT PRICE GOVERNS, THE BID MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD ON THE BASIS OF THE TOTAL PRICE RATHER THAN THE UNIT PRICE.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, SEPTEMBER 27, 1960:

OUR VIEWS HAVE BEEN REQUESTED BY LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 16, 1960, REFERENCE OC.17, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ASSISTANT CHIEF FOR PURCHASING, BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS, AS TO THE PROPER DISPOSITION OF THE BID SUBMITTED BY THE RELIANCE ELECTRIC AND ENGINEERING COMPANY IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION NO. 251/428/60, ISSUED JUNE 17, 1960, BY THE PUGET SOUND NAVAL SHIPYARD.

THE LOW BID RECEIVED FOR ALL ITEMS IN THE INVITATION WAS FROM RELIANCE AT $13,160. THREE OTHER BIDS FOR THE ENTIRE PROCUREMENT RANGED FROM $13,602 TO $16,287. THE ONLY QUESTION WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCEPTABILITY OF THE LOW BID ARISES OUT OF ITEM NO. 11 OF THE INVITATION WHICH IS DELINEATED AS FOLLOWS:

QUAN.

ITEM NO. SUPPLIES OF SERVICES ( NO. OF UNITS) UNIT U.P. AM-T.

11 TECHNICAL MANUAL 6 SETS

INSERTS FOR APPROVAL

(MC NO. 507437)

RELIANCE INSERTED THE FIGURES "$100.00" IN BOTH THE UNIT PRICE AND THE AMOUNT COLUMNS. ONE OF THE OTHER BIDDERS INSERTED "N/C" IN THE UNIT PRICE COLUMN FOR ITEM NO. 11; THE REMAINDER FILLED IN ONLY THE LAST COLUMN.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, NOTING THE APPARENT INCONSISTENCY IN THE RELIANCE BID BETWEEN THE UNIT AND ITEM PRICES, BROUGHT THE MATTER TO THE ATTENTION OF THE BIDDER, REFERRING TO PARAGRAPH 1 (C) OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE INVITATION--- WHICH PROVIDES THAT IN THE EVENT OF ERROR IN EXTENSION PRICE, THE UNIT PRICE GOVERNS--- AND ADVISED HIM OF THE PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED IN REQUESTING CORRECTION OF AN ERROR IN BID. THE LOW BIDDER RESPONDED THAT THE PRICE WAS NOT IN ERROR AND THAT THE CHARGE FOR ONE ITEM OR SIX WOULD BE EXACTLY THE SAME. IN SUPPORT OF THAT POSITION, THERE WAS SUBMITTED A COPY OF PAGE B381 OF THE BIDDER'S PRICE BOOK, WHICH PROVIDED THE SAME PRICE FOR THIS TYPE OF ITEM FOR ANY QUANTITY FROM ONE TO THIRTY-FIVE.

THE QUESTION RAISED IS WHETHER UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES STATED ABOVE, THE RELIANCE BID MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD AS SUBMITTED, OR WHETHER PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH 1 (C) THE CORRECT PRICE FOR ITEM NO. 11 SHOULD BE CONSIDERED TO BE THE STATED UNIT PRICE MULTIPLIED BY THE NUMBER OF UNITS. IT IS NOTED THAT THE LATTER ALTERNATIVE WOULD SERVE TO INCREASE THE RELIANCE BID PRICE ABOVE THAT OF THE NEXT LOW BIDDER.

IT IS UNDOUBTEDLY TURE THAT IN MOST INSTANCES THE CORRECT TOTAL PRICE FOR AN ITEM IS THE UNIT PRICE MULTIPLIED BY THE NUMBER OF UNITS. WE KNOW OF NO REASON, HOWEVER, WHY THIS SHOULD BE REGARDED AS AN IMMUTABLE LAW. THE FIELD OF PRINTING, THE MAJOR COST IS INCURRED IN THE PREPARATION OF THE MASTER FROM WHICH THE COPIES ARE RUN, AND THE COST OF A NUMBER OF COPIES SUCH AS SIX (OR THIRTY-FIVE) VARIES FROM THE COST OF A SINGLE COPY ONLY INSIGNIFICANTLY. THEREFORE, IN OUR VIEW, ITEM NO. 11 OF THE RELIANCE BID SHOULD NOT BE REGARDED AS AN ERROR IN BID.

WE RECOGNIZE THAT THE FOREGOING, IF TOO BROADLY APPLIED, MIGHT LEAD TO SITUATIONS WHERE A BIDDER WOULD BE PROMPTED TO RATIONALIZE A REAL ERROR IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR AWARD AS LOW BIDDER. WE SEE NO OBJECTION, HOWEVER, TO ITS APPLICATION IN CASES SUCH AS THIS WHERE THE BIDDER IS ABLE CLEARLY TO SHOW THAT THE UNUSUAL BID IS ENTIRELY IN ACCORD WITH HIS USUAL PRICING PRACTICES.

EVEN IF THE RELIANCE SUBMISSION AS TO ITEM NO. 11 IS TO BE CONSIDERED UNDER THE RULES APPLICABLE TO MISTAKE IN BID, WE DO NOT THINK A DIFFERENT CONCLUSION WOULD BE JUSTIFIED. NOTWITHSTANDING THE LANGUAGE OF PARAGRAPH 1 (C) OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, THE TOTAL PRICE ON ITEM NO. 11 OF THE RELIANCE BID--- IF CONSIDERED AS THE PRODUCT OF THE UNIT PRICE AND THE NUMBER OF UNITS--- WOULD BE SO FAR OUT OF LINE WITH THE OTHER BIDS AND THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATE OF COST AS TO PUT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF PROBABLE ERROR. THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY RELIANCE PERMITS LITTLE DOUBT THAT THE FIGURE INSERTED AS THE UNIT PRICE WAS THE ONE INTENDED FOR THE ENTIRE ITEM. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE TOTAL PRICE, RATHER THAN THE UNIT PRICE, MAY BE REGARDED AS CORRECT. SEE 36 COMP. GEN. 429.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING, THE RELIANCE BID MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD IN THE FORM SUBMITTED.