B-144052, SEP. 29, 1960

B-144052: Sep 29, 1960

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PUBLIC PRINTER: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 20. OUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE PURCHASE ORDER ISSUED IN THIS CASE MAY BE CANCELLED BECAUSE OF THE ALLEGED MISTAKE IN BID. IT IS REPORTED THAT UNDER DATE OF AUGUST 13. THAT THE FOUR BIDS RECEIVED WERE OPENED ON AUGUST 29. THE SECOND LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED BY CONSOLIDATED BUSINESS SYSTEMS. AN AWARD WAS MADE TO MARINE PRESS AS THE LOW BIDDER AND UNDER DATE OF AUGUST 31. PURCHASE ORDER NO. 4711 WAS ISSUED AND FORWARDED TO THE CONTRACTOR FOR 30. STATING THAT A MISTAKE HAD BEEN MADE IN THE BID DUE TO AN ERROR IN FIGURING THE COST OF THE PAPER IN THAT THE BID PRICE SHOULD HAVE BEEN $345 MORE THAN THE QUOTED PRICE OF $876.

B-144052, SEP. 29, 1960

TO RAYMOND BLATTENBERGER, PUBLIC PRINTER:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 20, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM MR. JOHN M. WILSON, ACTING PUBLIC PRINTER, RELATING TO A MISTAKE IN BID ALLEGED BY MARINE PRESS, 392 LAFAYETTE STREET, NEW YORK 3, NEW YORK, AFTER AWARD OF A CONTRACT FOR FURNISHING A QUANTITY OF FORMS. ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS SET FORTH IN THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 20, 1960, AND THE ENCLOSURES THERETO, OUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE PURCHASE ORDER ISSUED IN THIS CASE MAY BE CANCELLED BECAUSE OF THE ALLEGED MISTAKE IN BID.

IT IS REPORTED THAT UNDER DATE OF AUGUST 13, 1960, THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE ADVERTISED FOR PRICES FOR FURNISHING 30,000 SETS (PLUS OR MINUS TEN PERCENT) OF A 6-PART, SINGLE STUB MULTIFORM, SIZE 8 1/2 BY 12 1/2 INCHES, ALL MATERIALS AND SERVICES TO BE FURNISHED BY THE CONTRACTOR AND SHIPMENT TO BE MADE F.O.B. DESTINATION ON OR BEFORE SEPTEMBER 29, 1960; THAT THE FOUR BIDS RECEIVED WERE OPENED ON AUGUST 29, 1960, THE PRICES RANGING FROM A LOW BID OF $876, SUBMITTED BY MARINE PRESS, TO THE HIGH BID BY MOORE BUSINESS FORMS, INC., AT THE PRICE OF $1,903.50. THE SECOND LOW BID WAS SUBMITTED BY CONSOLIDATED BUSINESS SYSTEMS, INC., AT THE PRICE OF $927.

AN AWARD WAS MADE TO MARINE PRESS AS THE LOW BIDDER AND UNDER DATE OF AUGUST 31, 1960, PURCHASE ORDER NO. 4711 WAS ISSUED AND FORWARDED TO THE CONTRACTOR FOR 30,000 SETS OF FORMS AT THE BID PRICE OF $876. SEPTEMBER 1, 1960, A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CONTRACTOR TELEPHONED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, STATING THAT A MISTAKE HAD BEEN MADE IN THE BID DUE TO AN ERROR IN FIGURING THE COST OF THE PAPER IN THAT THE BID PRICE SHOULD HAVE BEEN $345 MORE THAN THE QUOTED PRICE OF $876. THE ERROR WAS CONFIRMED BY THE CONTRACTOR IN A LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 2, 1960, IN WHICH IT WAS STATED THAT AFTER RECEIVING PURCHASE ORDER NO. 4711 AND GOING OVER THE FIGURES WHICH MADE UP THE ORIGINAL BID, A MISTAKE OF $345 WAS FOUND IN FIGURING THE COST OF THE PAPER IN THAT THE AMOUNT OF $80 WAS USED FOR STOCK WHEN THE CORRECT AMOUNT SHOULD HAVE BEEN $345 AND THE SUM OF $100 WAS USED FOR INDEX INSTEAD OF $180. WITH THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 2, 1960, THE CONTRACTOR SUBMITTED AN ESTIMATE SHEET SHOWING THE ITEMS USED IN ARRIVING AT THE BID PRICE OF $876.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATED THAT THE COST OF PAPER IN THE ORIGINAL BID WAS UNDERSTATED AND THAT THE QUOTED PRICE OF $876 IS NOT CONSIDERED TO BE A FAIR AND REASONABLE PRICE TO PAY FOR 30,000 SETS OF 6-PARTSINGLE STUB MULTIFORMS. HE STATED FURTHER THAT THE PRICE OF $927 QUOTED BY CONSOLIDATED BUSINESS SYSTEMS, INC., IS ALSO NOT CONSIDERED TO BE A FAIR AND REASONABLE PRICE TO PAY FOR THIS QUANTITY OF FORMS. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ALSO STATED THAT HAD NOT THE WORKLOAD BEEN SO HEAVY AT THE TIME THE BIDS WERE EXAMINED, HE WOULD HAVE REQUESTED BOTH MARINE PRESS AND CONSOLIDATED BUSINESS SYSTEMS, INC., TO REVIEW THE SPECIFICATIONS AND CONFIRM THEIR BID PRICES FOR THE JOB. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DID REQUEST THE LATTER CONCERN TO CONFIRM ITS BID PRICES AND THAT FIRM REPLIED TO THE EFFECT THAT THE MATERIALS ALONE WOULD COST SOMETHING IN EXCESS OF $20 PER THOUSAND AND THAT THE QUOTED PRICE OF $28 PER THOUSAND MADE NO ALLOWANCE FOR THE MANUFACTURING AND SHIPPING OF THE FORMS. THAT CONCERN SUBMITTED A REVISED ESTIMATE SHEET SHOWING A CORRECTED PRICE OF $52.86 PER THOUSAND, THERE BEING INCLUDED THEREIN THE COST OF MATERIALS AND OPERATIONS WHICH APPEAR TO BE NECESSARY IN THE PRODUCTION OF THE WORK.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS IN THIS CASE, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER EXPRESSED THE VIEW THAT BEFORE AWARDING A CONTRACT TO MARINE PRESS HE SHOULD HAVE NOTED THAT THE BIDS SUBMITTED BY THAT CONCERN AND BY CONSOLIDATED BUSINESS SYSTEMS, INC., WERE POSSIBLY IN ERROR, AND THAT THEREFORE HE SHOULD HAVE REQUESTED MARINE PRESS TO REVIEW THE SPECIFICATIONS AND CONFIRM ITS BID PRICE. ACCORDINGLY, HE RECOMMENDED THAT PURCHASE ORDER NO. 4711 WHICH WAS ISSUED TO MARINE PRESS BE CANCELLED.

IT SEEMS CLEAR FROM THE RECORD IN THIS CASE THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON NOTICE OF ERROR AND THAT THEREFORE THE BID OF MARINE PRESS SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED WITHOUT REQUESTING THAT CONCERN TO VERIFY ITS BID. THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED APPEARS TO ESTABLISH THE EXISTENCE OF A MISTAKE IN BID. ACCORDINGLY, AND IN VIEW OF THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, WE FEEL THAT PURCHASE ORDER NO. 4711 MAY PROPERLY BE CANCELLED.

THE PAPERS TRANSMITTED WITH THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 20, 1960, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE CORRESPONDENCE FROM THE TWO BIDDERS PERTAINING TO THE ERRORS IN BIDS, ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.